Last Saturday saw some 2500 people from around England and Wales gather in Westminster Cathedral to mark the 50th anniversary of CAFOD. Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Vincent Nichols and concelebrated by 20 Bishops, including Bishop Thomas from Brentwood. Mgr John Armitage and Fr Paul Dynan from the Diocese joined the many priests from around the country to mark this special occasion.
Drawing on his experiences as a CAFOD Trustee and his first hand accounts of seeing CAFOD’s partners in action, Bishop John Arnold gave the Homily. You can read Bishop John’s Homily here >>Margaret Mwaniki, a CAFOD Board member had made the journey from Kenya to come for the full day’s celebrations. She said, “I’m honoured to see the people behind CAFOD – the parishioners. I know that CAFOD has done a lot of work to help people have a better life.”
A ‘call to recommitment’ came at the end of the Mass from Margaret who stated, “In my country, CAFOD stood by us during and after our darkest hours in the 2007 post-election violence. The organisation has supported over half a million people affected by the East Africa food crisis. And in my work, I’m heartened to see what just £1 can mean to someone. I thank you for this.
“Thank you also for the Thirst for Change campaign . Coming to England, I have enjoyed the luxury of clean tap water and also having a shower without having to fetch a jerrycan of water and starting a fire. May this campaign bring hope to the thirsty millions across the world.
“This day gives us a chance to look forward – to look at the crises we face: HIV, climate change, the global economy and increasing insecurity – and to see the role CAFOD has to play here. May you continue to bring life to the poor.
“Let us make the celebration a chance to renew our commitment to Just One World.”
Joanna said “There was a wonderful sense of community and it was heartening to see so many faces from Brentwood Diocese. We were only too sorry that we weren’t able to speak to everybody! There will be another opportunity to get together when CAFOD Brentwood hold their own 50th anniversary event in October and we look forward to seeing more people then.”Brentwood office volunteer, David Underwood, sang bass in the choir. He responded to a call for volunteers and attended several rehearsals. David said: “I was one of 50 who came together to form the choir under the excellent leadership of Canon Pat Browne and also Matt Grehan-Bradley Head of Music St Leonard’s School in Durham, who led the choir both in rehearsals and in the apse of the Cathedral. It was impressive to see people coming together at such short notice and gel so well.
It was a great thrill and privelege not only to have the opportunity to sing at the Cathedral, the home of the Catholic church in England, but also to be part of CAFOD’s 50th anniversary celebration”.
Earlier in the day there was an opportunity for supporters to visit Romero House. Schools volunteer, Linda Orr, said “the building is wonderful. I was married at St George’s Cathedral and held my reception in Amigo Hall so it’s good to see how things have changed”.
Also at the Open House event were Jason and Geraint from St Bonaventure’s School in Forest Gate. They were amongst a group of young leaders from around the country who had come together to look at social justice issues around the world and to help at the Open House and Mass. Jason and Geraint did a sterling job showing groups of supporters around the building!