‘Theology of Food’ on the menu for Chelmsford Students

Chelmsford pupils have pledged to make a difference to food poverty and waste.

On Wednesday 9 November, Year 12 students at New Hall School, Chelmsford, took part in a day of workshops to learn about the issues surrounding food shortage and poverty in the world today.

The day started with ice-breaker activities to help the students understand the theme of the day: Theology of Food. Students then took part in a variety of thought-provoking workshops led by charities, including CAFOD and members from the school’s Theology team.

Lay Chaplain Katherine O’Brien, who is also a parish volunteer with CAFOD, said:

“Workshops included a debate about genetically modified foods, food waste and humanitarian aid and a Catholic social teaching session, in which students took part in what proved to be an enormously difficult task, of being pope for the year.

“The pupils were also given a presentation on poverty and inequality whilst being challenged to consider the practicalities of food waste within their own school community. The day concluded with a Year Group Mass in the school chapel.”


Linda and Chris invite New Hall pupils to reflect on food, poverty and CAFOD’s work

Local representatives from CAFOD, Chris Driscoll and Lynda Orr, delivered a special presentation about food shortages around the world and the actions the charity is taking alongside communities around the world to increase food yield. Chris said:

“We gave a one hour workshop, constructed around food and CAFOD’s work helping livelihoods. We started with a food quiz, and gave examples from Sierra Leone, Kenya, and Bolivia, where CAFOD’s partner organisations have worked alongside communities to help them to grow more food.

“Our recent Harvest Appeal focused on communities in the South American country of Bolivia and showed how the provision of greenhouses to protect crops and empowering communities with new farming techniques, helps them grow enough crops to feed their families.”

“I feel that days like this are very inspirational and give a different perspective of action inspired by faith and highlight the values held by the school of serving to help others.”

The pupils have now pledged to be more mindful of wasting food and are hoping to continue their support of CAFOD and continue to fundraise for the communities who are being helped by CAFOD’s partners.


Remembering our loved ones and friends

During November, the month of remembrance, we take time to pcandlesray 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 third memorial Mass at Brentwood Cathedral on Thursday 17 November at 9.15am

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 each 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 volunteer centre at brentwood@cafod.org.uk or by calling 01277 218730 if you’d like to know more.

Refreshments will be provided in the parish hall 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.



“Stay strong…have God in your heart”: a message of hope to refugees

While spending time in reflection and prayer with the Lampedusa Cross people from across the Brentwood Diocese have been moved to write messages of hope and solidarity with migrants

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The Lampedusa Cross at the British Museum

Hundreds of people across the diocese of Brentwood have responded to CAFOD’s invitation to write personal messages of hope to refugees across the world as a sign of solidarity in this Year of Mercy.

The Lampedusa Cross has been taken to schools across the diocese and has featured in a number of assemblies, liturgies and moments of prayer and reflection. The cross is a powerful symbol of the unfolding tragedy of the refugee crisis across the world, and many have expressed how moved they have been in its presence.


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Messages of hope from pupils at St Benedict’s College, Colchester

Students from St Aidan’s school in Ilford, Holy Family College in Walthamstow, St Benedict’s College in Colchester, St John Payne in Chelmsford and the Brentwood Ursuline have written their own personal messages to be sent to refugees across the world.

Grace from St Benedict’s College writes “There are times in life that are bad: devastating. Those bad times may seem like a never ending ocean. But there are also times in life where good things begin. They will make you smile with joy”. Zoe writes “Wherever you go you must remember that life is a journey. Never let a single day darken you”.

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CAFOD volunteers Peter and Breda with young leaders from the Brentwood Ursuline

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Denise Grierson, chaplain at Holy Family College, holds the Lampedusa Cross outside Brentwood Cathedral’s Doors of Mercy



Bishop Stephen Cottrell of Chelmsford writes his own personal message of hope

Bishop Stephen Cottrell of Chelmsford writes his own personal message of hope








In early July the cross was taken to the Bradwell Festival, an ecumenical Christian festival in Essex, where festival-goers were invited to write messages, including Bishop Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford.

Can your parish write messages of hope to refugees?

Forced out by war, poverty or persecution, millions of people live uncertain lives as migrants and refugees. Your parish can act in response by writing messages of hope, and returning these to CAFOD, where we will share these with refugees. All ages can take part, and hundreds of beautiful messages have already been written or drawn.

Order or download cards to write your messages.