Refugee Week 19-25 June

CAFOD supporters' messages of hope to refugees

CAFOD supporters’ messages of hope to refugees

This week, 19-25 June, marks Refugee Week, a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities.

CAFOD supporters have a longstanding background of supporting refugees through our appeals, and joining us in standing in solidarity with those fleeing their homes and countries.

During the Year of Mercy, CAFOD volunteers and supporters from across the Lancaster diocese showed their support to refugees by sending them messages of hope.

Holy Family parish, Warton, CAFOD group

Holy Family parish, Warton, CAFOD group

In schools and parishes across Lancaster diocese, people came together to share their messages which have been received by refugees in many places across the world, including Calais, Athens, Lesbos, Lebanon, South Sudan and Colombia.

One particularly powerful message of hope, sent from one year eight student in our region, was: “If you are Christian, God will be with you.  If you are Muslim, Allahu Akbar.”

Fr Stephen blessing the Lancaster Lampedusa Cross at St Peter's Cathedral

Fr Stephen blessing the Lancaster Lampedusa Cross at St Peter’s Cathedral

This refugee week we keep those still seeking refuge in our thoughts and prayers and thank everyone who sent a message of hope. Your messages were received with gratitude.

We have written a prayer pilgrimage that can be completed with the Lampedusa cross in your own parish.  The prayer pilgrimage is an hour long but can be shortened, and finishes with parishioners writing their own messages of hope to show they are standing with refugees.

If you are interested in doing this, please contact your local volunteer centre on 01772 733310 or email lancaster@cafod.org.uk

Celebrating our Volunteers

CAFOD volunteer, Paul Wyre, shares with us about his volunteering with CAFOD in Lancaster Diocese as both Area Coordinator (Lancaster Deanery) and  Office Volunteer.

Paul with his wife, Lynne, and Fr Peter Sayer at St Bernadette's Catholic Church in Lancaster

Paul with his wife, Lynne, and Fr Peter Sayer at St Bernadette’s Catholic Church in Lancaster

I was attracted to volunteer with CAFOD because I would be able to make a difference. I’ve been involved with local and national campaigns which have highlighted global issues which affect local communities.

My favourite volunteering moment over the last year is when I helped organise the CAFOD Lancaster Memorial Mass in my own parish of St Bernadette’s. A lady travelled to the Mass from a fair distance away to join us in praying and remembering a recently deceased family member, a CAFOD supporter. Just seeing and hearing how special it was to her that time had been taken to remember and thank deceased CAFOD supporters, was so special.

Paul at the CAFOD Lancaster Volunteer Centre

Paul at the CAFOD Lancaster Volunteer Centre in Preston

I would recommend volunteering not just as a means to help the less fortunate but also as a means of meeting like-minded people who we would never have got to meet and know otherwise. I have made friends at a stage in life I did not think I would.

My time volunteering with CAFOD is an experience which will always be a very close part of my life.

 

Looking for new volunteer opportunities? See how you can volunteer with us

 

 

 

 

Celebrating our Volunteers

CAFOD campaigner and parish volunteer, Stephen Garsed, shares his volunteering story with us……

Stephen at a parish Live Simply evening

Stephen at a parish Live Simply evening

On arriving in Preston 25 years ago, I joined a parish with an active CAFOD group. I am also part of a CAFOD group at my church, Our Lady & St Edward’s in Preston, promoting the Live Simply Campaign in response to Laudato Si’.

Over the years I have learned that development is much more than ‘giving aid,’ it is about working in partnership with poor communities to meet their needs.

 

 

Stephen at the Climate Lobby with his MP

Stephen, and his wife Anne, at the Climate Lobby with his MP at the House of Parliament

This goes right to the heart of what it is to be a Christian, irrespective of  denomination. With my wife, Anne, a Methodist, and other members of the family, I have campaigned on issues such as: trade justice, the Jubilee Debt Campaign, climate change, and tax justice. The joint work of CAFOD and Christian Aid on these issues is something we support both together and individually.

We have lost count of the amount of campaign cards and letters we have written to our MP. The most memorable events have always been the big national rallies, particularly meeting our MP during the “For the Love of” campaign.

Stephen has recently taken on the role of  Campaign Volunteer Coordinator for CAFOD in Lancaster diocese.  A vital role in ensuring our campaigning impact and engagement is as high as possible at a local level. So you’ll be hearing more from Stephen in the coming months……..

Speak up on climate and energy this summer