Bernadette will be travelling to Nicaragua this week as part of CAFOD’s Step into the Gap programme. Bernie’s from Hallam Diocese but currently in Blackpool, working as part of the Chaplaincy Team at St Mary’s Catholic College. She reflects here as she prepares to go…
So, I have spent the last few months counting down the days on Twitter to when I embark on what, I hope, will be a turning point in the next chapter of my life.
In the run up to travelling to Nicaragua with CAFOD I have had time to reflect not only on my life but on the lives of others – the students I work with, my family and friends, our brothers and sisters whom I haven’t met yet overseas. I have thought about them all.
Over the last few months people have asked me many questions, one of which has been ‘have you travelled before?’ My response has always been ‘no’, due to my perception of travelling. The real answer, ofcourse, is ‘yes’. I have travelled on holidays to Europe and even Australia to visit family. I have travelled on pilgrimage to Lourdes and the World Youth Day in Sydney.
So why have I said no to people all this time? Hasn’t travelling to these places counted? What is it that makes travelling with CAFOD to Nicaragua so different for me?
After spending time thinking about this I wondered whether it is because of the opportunity to visit a place that is not your typical place to visit? Or is it because I haven’t experienced this kind of travelling before? Yes, I have seen beautiful sights, experienced different cultures and witnessed my faith in many of these places. But what is different this time?
The difference is, since being around 14, I have aspired to help others in many ways – whether it has been working for free travel for young people in my home town or being a helper in Lourdes.
All are part of something bigger than me. All are about part of being on a journey with others.
I have campaigned for others with CAFOD and fundraised for CAFOD too and now is the time to witness all that CAFOD is about and to watch those same aspirations to put faith into action come into fruition in Nicaragua.
I am looking forward to this journey very much – to the opportunities to learn, and grow in friendship and faith. Each part of this adventure will give so much – whether it’s listening and experiencing stories from Ligia and her sons when visiting CAFOD partner ASOMUPRO, or staying with the Sisters of the Guardian Angel to witness the work they do with children and families.
Each project I visit will be part of something bigger at work. Something more than just travelling. I look forward to bringing back each message received to share with people at home, at school with friends and the parishes I’m part of.
Thank you for all of your support in the run up to this experience.
Bernadette flies to Nicaragua very soon. We’ll be following her special journey right here. Look out for her blogs here.
If you’d like to apply to CAFOD’s Step into the Gap programme for next year, see here for more details. Closing date for applications is 23 February 2015