Author Archive

Walking in sunshine

April 10, 2014

The sun shone for our annual family walk at Hanningfield Reservoir, walking in solidarity with the 1 in 8 around the world who go to bed hungry each day.

We had a great turnout of young families (and the not so young!) making the most of the warm sunshine and enjoying the beautiful landscape that surrounds the reservoir. The 2k walk takes us through the nature reserve, passing a lovely display of bluebells. There were nesting mallards and sightings of a few woodland creatures making the most of the weather.

DSC_0101 Earlier in the day we had laid a treasure trail of clues for a quiz on Sierra Leone, the focus country for CAFOD’s Lent fundraising. The children enjoyed spotting the diamonds hanging from the trees and filling in their quiz sheet – with the promise of a small gift at the end.

1397058521187There was a family picnic and games for the children – one of the games encouraging lots of worms to find their way to the surface of the grass and all games stopped for some investigation! Thank you to Katharine (Youth Worker at Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Wanstead) for leading the games and to Joshua for his help on the day.

It was then time to make the return journey through the woods.

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Remembering Rwanda: 20 years on

April 4, 2014

On Sunday 6th April CAFOD will join parishes across the country to remember the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children brutally murdered in Rwanda’s genocide 20 years ago.

In 1994, CAFOD helped lead the response and recovery that followed the genocide, supported by £6 million in donations spontaneously sent in by the Catholic community in England and Wales.

CAFOD Director Chris Bain, who worked in refugee camps in what was then Zaire in 1994, has issued a statement marking the anniversary.

CAFOD Brentwood welcomed Simon Nsabiyeze and Odette Kayirere from Rwanda when they visited the UK in 2011. They visited Holy Name and Our Lady Immaculate parishes and also St John Payne School, all in Chelmsford.

Simon and Odette with parishioners

Simon and Odette with parishioners

Odette spoke of how she lost her husband during the genocide and had to hide for days in the forest with her 6 children with little to eat and terrified that they would be found. She thanks God that she and her children survived and now works to help those affected and does this work in honour of the memory of her husband. Read more about Simon and Odette’s visit >>

Simon and Odette with students

Simon and Odette with students

Trinity students share their hunger for change with MPs

April 2, 2014

Young CAFOD supporters from the Diocese of Brentwood have given politicians food for thought at a meeting in Parliament on the issue of global hunger.

Young people visit parliament-4d

Emilie and Siobhan, from Trinity Catholic High School, Woodford Green, were amongst thirty-four students who met MPs and peers at a national event in Parliament on Wednesday 26 March. The event was organised by CAFOD as part of our Hungry for Change campaign – calling on the Prime Minister to provide greater support to small-scale farmers, who are being hit first and worst by the effects of climate change.

Show David Cameron you are Hungry for Change >>

The young people toured the Houses of Parliament, watched Prime Minister’s Questions, and had a private audience with the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP. Before visiting Parliament, the students took part in workshops to learn about how campaigning can make a difference to the decisions taken in Parliament, as well as how they could use the trip as an opportunity to put their faith into action.

CAFOD’s Hungry for Change campaign calls for major changes in the global food system so that it benefits everyone. CAFOD supporters are calling on the Prime Minister to champion empowering aid for small-scale farmers, especially women, and checks on the power of global food companies.

An estimated 870 million people worldwide currently go without enough food, and the extreme and unpredictable weather associated with climate change is making the situation worse.

The Rt Hon Tom Clarke MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Friends of CAFOD, said:

“In the aftermath of the international recession, the argument is ‘how do we find the money for foreign aid?’ But we have a responsibility to the poorest people in the poorest countries.

“We need to do a lot of persuading, but international development is the right thing to do. We live in a prosperous world. I’m glad that organisations such as CAFOD exist.”

Emilie said:

“I met a lot of incredible, inspiring people through the Young People in Parliament event. Thank you so much for everything.”

Tom’s Quiz Night raises over £1,000

April 1, 2014

Tom Jarvis started off his London Marathon Fundraising Quiz by telling everyone the exciting news that out of the 35,000 runners he would be the youngest, as the Marathon was 2 days after his 18th birthday. He added ‘ I may be the youngest but I won’t be the quickest’

The Quiz Master

The Quiz Master

Over 90 people attended the Quiz at St Thomas of Canterbury Church , Woodford Green which was a great success with questions based on Football World Cup countries including Spain, Uruguay and Brazil

Tom has now raised £2,800 of his £4,000 target thanks to friends, family, parishioners at St Edmunds, Loughton and Holy Spirit, Great Bradfield and support from Leaders and parents at 7th Epping Forest Scout Group where he is a Young Leader.

His fundraising will be boosted by Santander Bank who are kindly match funding the Quiz ticket sales.

Tom congratulated the winning team which consisted of his aunt Lucy and family friends and thanked Quiz master, Robin willoughby, his God Father Ed Sautter for writing the Quiz, David Underwood , Dominic Mclay ,everyone who donated raffle prizes , those who helped ‘behind the scenes’ …. and of course gave a big THANK YOU to everyone who came.

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Brentwood Cathedral Music and JOB! The Concert

March 26, 2014

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Many thanks to Andrew Wright from Brentwood Cathedral Music for supporting CAFOD’s Syria Emergency Appeal.

On Saturday 8 March, JOB! – A Cantata by Michael Stephens was performed by the choir and orchestra of Holy Family Church, Benfleet alongside young choristers from Brentwood Cathedral Choir. The conductor was Liam Bates, who flew in from Ireland especially for the occasion.

Denise was delighted to attend the event and thoroughly enjoyed the performance. She particularly enjoyed the bluesy “Devil’s Song” and as the common saying goes – the Devil has the best tunes.

Andrew writes: “We took £292.55 in the collection which I hope will go some way to helping the people of Syria at this time. And we would certainly like to support this cause again through our music. It is so tragic to see the events unfolding there. And with the world at the moment being so full of difficulties of a similar nature, things like this are easily forgotten… So hopefully, Saturday evening went some way to keeping that candle burning.”

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Photos: Chris Ellis

JOB! is a cantata composed in 1988 by Michael Stephens, a local musician and composer. It tells the story of the Old Testament Book of Job through 11 movements, from his position of great standing, through his darkest period of suffering and despair and to his old age when he regained his former glory. At all times, his faith is the centrepiece of the story.

The work features an eclectic mix of genres from lively Latin American and jazz rhythms, classical choral settings, soaring string adagios and modern ballads. A narration and haunting underscore links the 11 movements together forming a continuous piece of music.

St Anne Line parish supports El Salvador

March 24, 2014


The parishioners at St Anne Line , South Woodford were introduced to their new Connect2 Community last weekend. Tania Dalton from CAFOD’s Latin America team spoke at all Mass’s about the community of Puentecitos in El Salvador, the work that CAFOD is currently doing there and the people who make it possible.

Tania said’ The work focuses on building strong communities, able to resist the challenges presented by the climate, and risks of flooding, or other disasters, able to maximise the potential of the land to produce nutritious crops, able to think creatively about other forms of generating an income such as making products to sell, and able to share their experiences and learning with other communities’

Joanna Jarvis, Diocesan manager who accompanied Tania said ‘ Father Francis and all the parishioners were very welcoming and it was great to meet pupils from St Antony’s and Our Lady of Lourdes schools who recalled their recent ‘CAFOD Dig Deep’ Lent assemblies’

St Anne Line parish has raised an amazing £133,299 for CAFOD since 1990 including £10,407 for Connect2 Rwanda their pervious Connect2 country.

For more information about Connect2 visit –

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Archbishop Oscar Romero: A guiding light

March 24, 2014


Oscar Romero was Archbishop of San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador in Central America. He stood alongside his people facing terrible oppression and violence as they spoke out against injustice. After years of persecution and threats, Romero was assassinated on 24 March 1980.

He is remembered for his courage, his faith and, above all, his great love for the poor. “Many” he said, “would like the poor to keep on saying it is God’s will for them to live that way. But it is not God’s will for some to have everything and others to have nothing.”

Oscar Romero continues to inspire millions of people throughout the world.

Today’s reading: Luke 4:24-30

“In truth I tell you, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country.”

Reflection: Those who come with challenging messages are not always easily accepted. People do not want their status quo upset. But, despite knowing all the dangers, Jesus carried on anyway.

Around the world many people continue to do the same, speaking out against injustice, even though they know that to do so is to risk their own lives.

34 years ago today, Archbishop Oscar Romero was killed while saying Mass, because his commitment to those living in poverty led him to speak out against injustice.

“Many would like the poor to keep on saying that it is God’s will for them to live that way. But it is not God’s will for some to have everything and others to have nothing. That cannot be of God. God’s will is that all his children be happy.” Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, 10 September 1978

Action: Spend some time in prayer today remembering Romero and all the people who risk their lives to stand up for what is right.



March 18, 2014

Pupils and teachers dressed as farmers and gardeners and held a ‘Rich Man, Poor Man’ afternoon tea and raised a generous £348 on CAFOD’s Fast Day.


Head Teacher Jenny Waterfield said: “Our pupils paid £1 to dress up as farmers or gardeners to show solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world.

“We also invited pupils and parents to attend a ‘Rich Man, Poor Man’ café. Everyone was given a ticket to decide whether they are rich or poor. The rich, ate cakes and other delicious food; the poor had dried crackers and water.

“We were pleased to see that the richer children shared their food with the others.”

Mrs Waterfield explained: “The idea is to highlight that one-in-eight people around the world goes hungry every day. We held the café last year and the children really enjoyed it.”

Joanna Jarvis, joint diocesan manager who was delighted to be invited to the afternoon tea said “By digging deep, the pupils and staff from St. Peter’s are making a difference. The money raised by their activities will help transform the lives of people living in poverty. CAFOD would like to thank them for all their support.”

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Grays Convent School Dig Deep this Lent

March 14, 2014


We enjoyed a great morning with Yr 9 at Grays Convent yesterday. The session was full of activities to get them thinking about the Lent Fast Day focus country of Sierra Leone.

After hearing from Denise about her visit to Sierra Leone in 2013, volunteers Joan and Linda spoke about Lent Fast day, contrasting the life of Mohammed to that of the students. They were asked to think about these contrasts and to visually represent them.

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After the break, students were invited to write poems about the work of CAFOD and there was some amazing creativity and some groups wrote songs/raps which they eagerly performed:

Say C A F O D
Moray, Destiny, Rameen, Elizabeth, Chelsea, Jessica, Patricia

We can change the earth
Samantha, Toni, Britany, Phoebe, Anna Rose, Maisie, Katie, Hannah, Deniz

Dig Deep within your heart
Demi, Ellie, Saffron, Chloe, Cendresa, Tatum, Ciara, Tomi

Dig Deep for the peace
Bukola, Sophie, Kelsey, Tamara, Tife, Tope, Jemimah

Here are just a couple of the poems that were written:

Dig Deep, don’t be shy
Show yourself, always try
Do a good deed
To help someone in need
food is short and the day is long
that is why we’re rapping this song

Diamonds are shiny
But are also tiny
Very rare to find
Water in streams
Is not so clean
Don’t be shy, make a move
to help food security improve
Daria, Niamh, Katie, Lauren, Victoria, Fledeca, Mayo Kemi, Monika

Every time I wake
I see darkness: I feel darkness: I am darkness
When you are sleeping
I am working, finding a way to survive
In this world many people are deprived
and I am surely one of them
I work to the bone, but get little pay
This is my life, I do this every day
So much conflict … and I have little say
But what can I do, except
hope, wish and pray

Deborah, Ephelia, Tobi, Natasha, Natalia, Rachel, Erin and Catherine

Volunteer Joan said, “The pupil’s responses in the Contrasts exercise and their raps or poems showed that they had gained a real appreciation of the lifestyle of children in Sierra Leone and that there was need for action and change.”

Well done to everyone involved.

Today is Lent Fast Day

March 14, 2014

Take time out to pray and reflect with us with our short animation.

Our faith helps to centre and ground us amid the pressures of everyday life: it roots us in Christ. Through fasting, prayer and reflection we can nurture those roots.


Find out more about Mohammed and Lent Fast Day

Reflection: Kieran O’Brien, CAFOD South Wales


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