Over 100 CAFOD supporters from across the Diocese came together on Sunday 21st October for a Mass of thanks giving celebrated by Mgr John Armitage. The Mass was a celebration of CAFOD’s work over 50 years and a thank you to those who have helped and continue to work on CAFOD’s behalf.
The service began with the presentation of a number of giftsby students from The Ursuline Academy, Ilford to symbolise the work of CAFOD. The gifts included:
An icon of Mary of the Magnificat; Mother of the Poor, commissioned for CAFOD in 2000 and symbolising love for the poor
- Romero crucifix from El Salvador symbolising the hope of a better and more peaceful world, free from poverty and injustice
- Yams symbolising the work of CAFOD in helping communities achieve a sustainable future
- A paddle representing CAFOD’s work in disaster prone areas
- Book of Remembrance containing the names of deceased CAFOD supporters from our Diocese
The wonderfully uplifting and musical liturgy was kindly prepared and led by Joan Wood. It involved members of the Convent Chapel choir and was enjoyed by all.
Many volunteers took part in the Mass starting with Desiree Howells who read the First Reading. Des is a long term speaker and school volunteer for CAFOD.
After the Gospel, Mgr Armitage delivered an inspiring homily and said ‘today is about generously opening our hearts in prayer and the service of others and that’s what we are celebrating’.
The prayers of intercession were read by volunteers – Doreen Burns, Parish Contact from St. Therese in Laindon, Tim Campbell, Parish Contact from Our Lady and St. George in Walthamstow, David Underwood, Office volunteer and Parish Contact for St. Thomas of Canterbury in Woodford Green, Grace a Student from Ilford Ursuline and Jessica a keen fundraiser and supporter and student at Brentwood Ursuline
Joanna Jarvis, Denise Grierson and Mary Matthews from the CAFOD diocesan team brought up the offertory which included a Globe to symbolise we are ‘Just One World’.
Before Mgr Armitage gave us his final Blessing, Geoff O’Donaghue, International Division Director, gave a short talk and led the congregation in a Renewal of Commitmentto make a lasting difference to some of the poorest and most marginalised people in the world by continuing to work alongside CAFOD in the future. Volunteers Peter Jones, Mike Evans and Angela Bow read the prayers and through their responses, all present renewed their resolve to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly so that all may know the joy of God’s love
Special guest – Joseph Mansaray then spoke to us about his work as an Emergency Response Officer basedin Freetown, Sierra Leone giving details of how CAFOD and its volunteers and supporters really make a difference.
Following Mass a cream teawas served in the Convent dining room along with a surprise array of cakes baked by the convent. Denise cut the delicious celebration cake – made and iced by herself.
Geoff spoke briefly about the progress made through HIV/AIDS programmesand how now our work has moved on from helping people to die with dignity to reintegrating them back into society with the help of retroviral drugs, nutrition and awareness programmes.
There was an exhibition in the Conference Centre featuring the ’50 years of CAFOD’ display, telling stories and quotes from our history – and pictures from events around the Brentwood Diocese – supporters had fun finding pictures of themselves taken over several years!
Denise said ‘It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and lovely to have the chance to talk to and celebrate CAFOD’s work with supporters and volunteers who do so much for us.’
Denise, Joanna and Mary would like to thank all those who helped in any way to make the celebration so enjoyable and uplifting.