Author Archive

EVENT: CAFOD Mass of Remembrance Tuesday 25 November 10.15am Billericay

October 22, 2014

CandlesBrentwood Diocese CAFOD Mass of Remembrance

During November, the month of remembrance, we take time to pray for those who have died and give thanks for loved ones who have made a deep and lasting impression on our lives.

Over the years, CAFOD has been blessed to work alongside the kindest and most committed friends any charity could hope for. The insight, faith and strength of our founders and early supporters still shape our values and way of working today.

But one of the saddest aspects of growing older, as individuals and as an organisation, is that some of our closest friends have passed away in recent months and years. In our own diocese we have lost a number of friends who have played an inspirational and important role in our work.

Some may be familiar names to many of us, such as inspirational parish priests, or parish volunteers who’ve organised events and rallied local support for CAFOD campaigns. Many more will be men and women who’ve gone about their busy lives but also quietly found time to offer love, practical support and prayers to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities. Ordinary men and women who have made an extraordinary difference to people’s lives.

So in celebration of our inspiring friends, and as a small token of our appreciation for their years of kindness and dedication, CAFOD Brentwood will be holding its first memorial Mass at Most Holy Redeemer parish, Billericay on Tuesday November 25 at 10.15am, celebrated by Fr John McGrath.

Most Holy Redeemer
21 Laindon Road
CM12 9LL

All are welcome to join us, whether to remember fellow CAFOD supporters or members of your own family, friends and community who’ve passed away. At our memorial Mass you can take precious time to remember your loved ones, knowing that you’re among friends.

A book of remembrance will be presented and blessed by the celebrant at the Mass. If you would like to add a name to this list you would be very welcome; whether or not you can attend the service itself. Please get in touch with our office at or phone 0208 502 9722

Refreshments will be provided after the service, so we hope you’ll be able to stay on for a while to speak with other local CAFOD supporters and staff. It would be wonderful to see you at such a special event.

Just as we light a candle for a loved one who’s passed away, creating a Candlelight Fund in their name is a special way to remember them. Find out more Candlelight Funds

EVENT: Pope Paul VI Lecture – Friday 7 November – Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo

October 22, 2014

The Challenge of our times: Climate and Poverty
An agenda for social inclusion and sustainable development

Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo
Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences

Julie Etchingham
Television newsreader and journalist

Friday 7 November, 7pm
Greenwood Theatre
King’s College
London Bridge

visit: for your free ticket or call 020 7095 5684

“Friday Suppers” a new cookbook providing inspiration for meat-free meals

September 26, 2014

Pauline_Curran_jpgCAFOD has launched a cookbook, Friday Suppers, featuring recipes written by the former recipe tester to the UK’s best-selling cookery writer Delia Smith.

The book was written by Pauline Curran, a lifelong Catholic who worked alongside Delia Smith for two decades, to provide inspiration for meat-free meals for those observing Friday abstinence. It includes a foreword from Delia and contains 40 meat-free recipes, written with value for money and availability of ingredients in mind.

Buy the Friday Suppers recipe book

Friday Suppers fits in perfectly with our Harvest Appeal, during which we’d like you to ‘make a place at your table’ for those with less food to eat.

Make a place at your table today

The cookbook is full of simple, family-friendly recipes, perfect for a Harvest fundraising meal. All proceeds raised from sales of the £6.99 book will go to support our work helping those living in extreme poverty across the world.

Discover more Harvest fundraising ideas and resources

The book’s author, Pauline Curran, said:
“I know that when Friday evening comes around after a long week, a lot of people are stuck for easy meal ideas. With that in mind, I put together this recipe book in the hope that it would inspire people to cook more tasty, simple Friday suppers. I admire greatly the work of CAFOD and I’m so pleased to know that my recipe book is contributing to this work.”

Long-standing CAFOD supporter and cookery writer Delia Smith said:
Alban01Delia_Smith_jpg“When Pauline opened the boot of her car and nonchalantly unloaded masses of the most delicious food for one of our parish parties, I recognised instantly that she had a very special talent. She has a deep faith, and like many of us is concerned that so many people in the world do not have enough to eat. So, please buy as many copies of the recipe book as you can, tell all your friends, and then hopefully we will have a runaway bestseller, and from that a lot of people will be able to receive some help.”

Buy the Friday Suppers recipe book

Top of our list of recipes we can’t wait to make are Swiss cheese pancakes, hot king prawn curry and the very moreish Moorish vegetables with coriander couscous! And with autumn just around the corner, we’re sure that the recipe for pumpkin soup with chilli croutons will go down a storm. Get your hands on a copy of the book while stocks last and let us know which your favourite recipes are.

The meat-free recipes are also ideal for those trying to cut their carbon footprint in support of our One Climate, One World campaign.

Find out more about the One Climate, One World climate change campaign

To order a copy of Friday Suppers call 0300 011 5680

Sunday 28 Sept – Catholic Grandparents Association (CGA) to testify to Pope Francis on the vocation of grandparents worldwide

September 26, 2014

cgplogoOn Sunday 28 September Pope Francis will meet grandparents in St. Peter’s Square during the first international day dedicated to old age, organised by the Pontifical Council for the Family, The Blessing of Long Life. The encounter will undoubtedly attract grandparents from many countries and the CGA will be present, many wearing the distinctive green sashes of the association, in the form of a delegation from many countries where the CGA is active.

CGA Founder, Catherine Wiley, has been chosen to provide a testimony to Pope Francis and is expected to highlight the vocation of grandparents in keeping prayer at the heart of the family and in passing on the faith. Catherine will also be accompanied by her grandson Tom who will have the opportunity to pose a question to our Holy Father. Tom is a student at Ardingly School, Horsham, England, and is one of Catherine’s 10 grandchildren.

The event is scheduled to begin at 9.00 am in St Peter’s Square and will conclude with Holy Mass at 10.30 am.

The event will be broadcast by CTV (Centro Televisivo Vaticano, Vatican TV) and will be streamed live on the web

For more information contact:-
or Telephone. +353 (0) 98 24877

Issued by the:-
Catholic Grandparents Association
Founding Head Office
Castlebar Street
Westport Co Mayo Ireland

The Aloneness of the Long Distance Runner

September 19, 2014

Alan Mair vest
Alan Mair, Head of RE at Trinity School in Woodford Green, is a marathon runner on a mission! He is planning to run 6 of the major marathons (London, Boston, Berlin, Chicago, New York and Tokyo) in a year. Just 21 other people have done this – and Alan’s aim is to be the fastest.

He has already completed the London and Boston marathons, arguably the toughest as they are just a week apart, and is now looking forward to Berlin on 28 September.

Calling his endeavour Race for Justice Alan is raising funds for both CAFOD and BCCS (Brentwood Catholic Children’s Society). To donate please go to his Mydonate page

The following is an article written by Alan for In Touch, the parish magazine for St Thomas of Canterbury parish in Woodford Green

The Aloneness of the Long Distance Runner

I make no apologies for the allusion to Alan Sillitoe’s masterful short story the Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner but raise the question about whether he got the title correct. Perhaps in 1959 there was little distinction between Aloneness and loneliness. But believe it or not there is a small but noticeable difference between aloneness and loneliness. To be alone is to be by oneself. You may or may not FEEL lonely when you are alone, but the only important condition for being alone is that there is no one else around you. To be lonely, is to suffer the feelings of loneliness, to want people, social contact, and yet be unable to get any. Given this fact, it is quite possible to feel lonely when you are alone, and it is also to feel lonely when you are NOT alone. Sillitoe’s character ran to be alone and in the final race he demonstrated that he had control over his own life, he exerted his independence above the pressures his peers and the authorities.

Alan MairSo what has running ever done for me? In my younger days I ran and was reasonably swift; a marathon personal best time of 2 hours 30 (and nine seconds). I was competitive and raced to the point that I would drop. I referred to the marathon distance of 26.2 miles as a race too far for the body and continued to push towards that particular finish line. That, in my later years, I can contemplate the contents of this article during a 30 mile training run accompanied by my wife on her bike demonstrates for me a maturity of thought and a greater understanding of my own place in the cosmos, it helps me to become steady, peaceful and centred. Is this just middle age maturity or is there something deeper?

My return to running has brought me back into an extraordinary world of competition and dedication to self, one’s health and fitness, and others, the support and encouragement among athletes. Making a decision on New Year’s eve to get back some health and fitness I began putting in some training miles. The competitive edge I have always had returned and I ventured to New York for the half marathon along with Mo Farah. While we were placed together at the start from three miles I was not to see him again. However, 1:30 gave me a good basis to gauge my level of fitness. London Marathon followed and then a week later the Boston Marathon. 3:27 and 3:55 respectively. However, it was to be the ultra-marathons that caught my attention. An ‘ultra’ is a race of any distance beyond 26 miles. My first foray into this type of race was the Grand Union Challenge, 100Km from Paddington along the Grand Union canal. Despite setting out at a pace that would give me a time of sub 10 hours I was brutally stung at 90Km. In fact the time it took me to complete the final 25 kilometres was longer than the time for the first 50Km. Now I had a new respect for the distance and the effects on the body. Finishing in 16th position out of 980 finishers I had a time of 13 hours and 41 seconds. Getting home I had to crawl up the stairs to bed I was totally incapacitated. However, as some readers will recall, I stepped in to serve at the 10am mass the next morning. Unable to bend my legs, genuflecting was impossible and any steps, however minor, were mountains.

RTTS06In the middle of July a former student, Caroline Rose, emailed me for some advice on how she might raise money for a project she was going to be working on in Burkina Faso. As I had signed up for another 100Km race, Race to the Stones, I suggested I would run that while highlighting the projects she would be working with, a Race for Justice was born. Caroline was to be leading a group of volunteers from the UK during a seven month trip to the West African country. They would be working with either a project for the disabled or a women’s rights project. Having spent a significant part of the last ten years in Africa I knew that both groups are heavily marginalized in many parts of the great continent. With some press publicity and Caroline raising the awareness at the Masses during the Race weekend she raised over 1250 pounds for the project. Any pain I was experiencing during the 10 Km paled into insignificance alongside the pain of those Caroline would be seeking to help. I passed 80Km at 6pm on the Saturday, the time when Caroline would be preparing to speak at the end of the Mass. I received a real bounce in my stride and some of my fastest kilometres are during this time.

Finishing in 54th position from a field of 2000 and winning the Masters title, (runners over the age of 50) I completed the race in 12 hours, six minutes and 4 seconds. Why do the seconds seem to matter over such distances? Having already experienced the effect that being too fast at the beginning can have over this distance I finished nearly an hour faster and I could still walk, although a little unsteadily.

RTTS06Another race down and many more on my bucket list as I aim to step up to the 100 mile distance; Leadville 100, Hardrock 100, Western States, Comrades Marathon. What a way to travel the world. But first the beginnings; London and Boston Marathons. What about the full house. The six ‘majors’. Usually completed over 2 years the major marathons are the top marathons in the world and include Berlin, Chicago, New York and Tokyo as well as London and Boston. So the race for justice continues and I will be competing in these marathons for CAFOD and the Brentwood Children’s Society. To date this feat has been completed by only 21 people worldwide. So being the 22nd is a possibility but who ever remembers the person who came second. Instead, by supporting the work of CAFOD and BCCS many will, I hope, experience support as justice is lived out.

Through 1500 miles of running this year I have come to treasure this time alone for contemplation and communication with the Higher Power. Even in our daily lives we should practice spending some time alone, going over the events of the day. Aloneness is both an important and integral part of our lives and is the opportunity to examine one’s life. As Socrates’ said, the unexamined life is not worth living. So what has running ever done for me? Or rather, what has running ever done for others? Perhaps Caroline can tell us about that upon her return from Burkina Faso.

Follow Alan’s blog

Donate to CAFOD and BCCS in support of Alan’s Major Marathons attempt – “A Race for Justice”


September 16, 2014

Here is our Harvest Fast Day Newsletter featuring news from around the diocese.

Hope you enjoy it and we always appreciate feedback.

Supporters newsletter – Harvest 2014 with attachment

Publication2 web fc

Secondary School and Youth summer roundup

August 21, 2014
Some of our Education Volunteers Joan, Katharine, Peter, Linda and John

Some of our Education Volunteers
Joan, Katharine, Peter, Linda and John

June and July are generally busy months for our education volunteers visiting schools, and this year was no exception.

BW Ursuline Denise, John, Breda and Mike visited Yr 12 Brentwood Ursuline on Wednesday 18 June. It was an opportunity to introduce the World Cup activities and also to play the new emergency resource, Flood!

On Friday 26 June, Peter and Denise visited Sacred Heart in Upminster to take part in their Peace day, and Joan visited Grays Convent on Friday 27 June to present an award to one of the students, Samantha, for a video she created following a CAFOD visit during Lent. You can view the video here >>

FOT8BE3_jpgSaturday 28 June saw the CAFOD group at St Angela’s & St Bonaventure’s 6th form in Forest Gate walking from Westfield Shopping Centre in West London to Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford, raising £143.

Woodlands 1 On Friday 4 July, Joan visited Woodlands School in Basildon. Working with the Gifted & Talented students they looked at CAFOD’s work in the favelas of Rio, contrasting it with the money spent on the World Cup. You can also read about actress Jo Joyner’s visit to Rio here

Joan also visited the Confirmation Group at the parish of Our Lady & St Joseph, Stanford le Hope.

Tuesday 8 July saw Denise visiting Palmer Academy in Seven Kings to collect their Lent fundraising of over £1300.

Palmer 1Friday 11 July saw Peter, Joan, John and Mike returning to Palmer Academy to work with their Year 10s. Again, the activities looked at the World Cup in Brazil.

Denise and Stuart joined 1400 Explorer Scouts at the annual Gilwell24 event. Young people were asked to think about the things they would miss due to climate change, as part of the For the Love of … campaign, and you can join in too. Read more

St Marks 2A full day of activities took place on Monday 14 July at St Mark’s School, Harlow. Working with the Year 9s were Joan, Peter, John, Linda, Katharine and Denise. Various activities including looking at the World Cup in Rio, playing the Trade Game, looking at lifestyles took place during the day.

St Marks

And that rounded off a busy July. A massive thank you to our wonderful team of Education Volunteers, school staff and students.

We’re now looking forward to the start of the new term and Harvest Fast Day!

Chaplains serving London communities welcomed to CAFOD

July 30, 2014

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We were delighted to welcome The London Ethnic Chaplains Group to Romero House on 3 July to enjoy a cup of coffee and croissant with CAFOD.

The Chaplains serve communities from the Carribean to China, Uganda to Vietnam and everywhere in between. They were welcomed to CAFOD’s head office by our chair of trustees Bishop John Arnold who commented on how our areas of work bear many similarities even though in different parts of the world.

Chris Bain, CAFOD’s director mentioned the contributions of the ‘diaspora communities’ to the life of the parishes and hoped that we could continue to work together.

The morning was a wonderful opportunity for chaplains and CAFOD staff to get to know each other and find out about each others’ work. We hope that new friendships will blossom.

CAFOD’s Summer of Cycling Continues: Mark takes on the London100

July 25, 2014
Left to right-Mark and John Mills

Left to right-Mark and John Mills

Mark Mills, from Loughton, is taking part in this year’s Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100! He’ll be cycling the 100 mile route from London to Surrey to raise money for CAFOD’s work.

Mark will join around 24,000 riders who will cycle from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to The Mall on Sunday 10 August.

Riders at this year’s Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, which is now in its third year, will be joined by former world champion and 25-time Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish, who will lead the line-up in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic.

The Tour de France captivated so many of us as it passed through Essex earlier this month and Mark was no exception. He watched the race in Epping and has been using the Tour to inspire his training.

Mark said: “Occasionally I have been using part of the Cambridge to London stage 3 Tour de France route as it goes over roads I cycled as a child; being born in Epping, schooled in Snaresbrook and living in North Weald in my formative years. I can call it the stage of my youth. I’ve also been using the hills in High Beech to practice for Leith and Box hills. I have to admit to not enjoying ‘town’ cycling so I’m always trying to pick the countryside routes, the benefit is you can appreciate how picturesque Essex is.”

Mark was also inspired by someone closer to home, his son John.

“I wanted to take part because of the challenge and also because my son did it last year and I wanted to follow in his footsteps. But I won’t beat his time. He did it in 5 hours and 30 minutes. I’m aiming for about 7 hours.”

With John taking part last year and Mark doing it this year, it seems as though the event is becoming somewhat of a Mills family tradition.

Mark said: “It would be nice to ride with John next year, but it’s a very difficult selection process.”

We’re so impressed that Mark is taking on this challenge and we can’t wait to cheer him on on the day!

If you’d like to sponsor Mark you can do so via his JustGiving page And if you want to watch the race you can find more details on how to do that here.

Fancy joining Team CAFOD and raising money for our work at an event? Visit our website for more information

For the love of …. Gilwell24

July 16, 2014

The sun shone for the annual Gilwell24 Explorer Scout event. The CAFOD stall was in the Global Zone and it was great to involve so many young people with the current campaign on climate justice “For the love of”

Climate change will affect lots of things around the world, from ruined harvests in Kenya to flooding and land erosion in Norfolk. Young people were invited to think about what they would miss due to the effects of climate change.

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