An Exciting Adventure Ahead

sharonHi, my name is Sharon Weerasuriya. I’m currently a Step into the Gap Volunteer at Castlerigg Manor Youth Retreat Centre in Keswick. This year I’m working with young people who visit Castlerigg on school retreats. So far in my journey, I have loved building new friendships, helping young people in their faith journey, and building a solid foundation into their lives filled with purpose and love.

On top of the amazing work we do, I have the privilege of travelling to the Holy Land in January 2019 with the other CAFOD Step into the Gap Volunteers, to see the work of CAFOD’s partner, Caritas Jerusalem.

I’m incredibly excited to visit holy sites in the Holy Land such as birthplace of Christ, various places where biblical events took place, which will be a very powerful experience in terms of my faith. I hope to learn many things from encountering a new culture such as norms, traditions and lifestyles.

sharon and teamAs well as getting to hear people’s life experiences. I hope to be inspired to act for global change after I come back from the trip. I will be visiting parishes and schools to talk about my experience and hopefully they will be part of a domino effect to bring global justice to our brothers and sisters around the world.

Christmas Greetings from CAFOD Lancaster


“For unto us a child is born, 

to us a son is given

And the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called 

Wonderful counsellor, mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  (Isaiah 9:6)

Thank you for all your support for CAFOD this year. We hope you have a blessed and joyful Christmas.

As we celebrate Jesus’ birth, it is wonderful that together we will continue to show God’s love to those who, like the child Jesus, are born in conditions of poverty, face the threat of persecution and are forced to flee their homeland.

We pray that God blesses you and your family at this special time and that your 2019 is filled with grace and hope. We look forward to seeing you in the New Year at one of our Lent briefings.   

With very best wishes,

Patrick & Emma

Patrick Gardner & Emma Nolan

Community Participation Coordinators – CAFOD Lancaster

Welcome Emma to CAFOD Lancaster

We’re pleased to announce that Emma Nolan has, this month, joined the team at CAFOD Lancaster.


Emma Nolan – Community Participation Coordinator at CAFOD Lancaster

Patrick Gardner who works three days a week in the role of  CAFOD Community Participation Coordinator in Lancaster Diocese says, “We’re delighted to welcome Emma to CAFOD Lancaster. Emma brings a wealth of experience to the role, with her background in education and spirituality; spending the last three years as Community Leader with L’Arche Preston.”

Between them, they will be covering the full-time CAFOD coordinator role,with Patrick working three days a week and Emma working two days, to compliment.”

Emma writes, “I’m thrilled to take up this part-time role of CAFOD Community Participation Coordinator in Lancaster Diocese working alongside Patrick, two days a week.

“I am from Preston, although I have lived and worked in other parts of the country – Manchester, London, Cambridgeshire and Milton Keynes.

“My background is in education and spirituality, with a recent stint in learning disability with L’Arche Preston.

“I ‘cut my teeth’ at Castlerigg Manor, too long ago to mention how long, and have worked in formal and informal Catholic education for much of my working life, as an RE teacher and chaplain in schools, in retreat centres and in youth ministry, training adults and young leaders in parishes.

“I spent some time in formation with the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, who used to have the school on Winckley Square in Preston, and lived and worked with them in London.


Patrick with CAFOD parish volunteers at a Harvest Family Fast Day Soup Lunch at Our Lady and St Edward’s

“I’m really looking forward to this new role in CAFOD – and meeting all the fantastic volunteers who give their time and energy to challenging injustice and to work which transforms the lives of people around the world.”

We’ll be hearing more from Emma over the coming weeks and months, but in the meantime we extend a warm CAFOD Lancaster welcome to her.

For more information on how to volunteer with CAFOD and make a difference