“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.


One Climate, One World: CAFOD speaker from Zimbabwe tours England and Wales — CAFOD blog

In July, Takura Gwatinyanya, from CAFOD partner Caritas Harare, will be travelling across England and Wales to share his passion for tackling poverty and to show how your support is making a difference in Zimbabwe. Meet Takura and discover more about CAFOD’s climate and energy campaign at a series of special events, starting in London […]

via One Climate, One World: CAFOD speaker from Zimbabwe tours England and Wales — CAFOD blog

Volunteering in schools: Inspiring the younger generation

Since 2009, when he first became a schools volunteer, Peter Jones has made over 200 visits to primary and secondary schools in his local area to deliver assemblies and workshops on behalf of CAFOD.

Peter, why did you want to become a schools volunter for CAFOD?

Having retired from HM Customs and Excise, I wanted to work more actively for a charity that I support. As a long-time member of the St Vincent de Paul Society, I have a strong interest in alleviating and eradicating poverty suffered by those at home and overseas.  I had experience of speaking in schools about the work of HM Customs & Excise and felt that I could use this experience to engage young people with themes of social justice and poverty.

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Peter (with jester’s hat) with pupils from St Ursula’s in Harold Hill

How did you become a schools volunteer?

I responded to a request by CAFOD in a parish newsletter inviting people to volunteer to talk in schools about CAFOD’s work around the world. There was a short application form to fill in and I was required to have a DBS check as the role would be working with young people and children. I also attended an ‘Understanding CAFOD’ course in which we were provided with an overview of CAFOD’s work and how as an organisation it works with partners and volunteers. There were also 2 days of training on giving assemblies and workshops in schools and there was an opportunity to practice this with other volunteers. We were also encouraged to ‘shadow’ current schools volunteers so that we could see how it works in practice. This sounds a lot but it is done over a period of time and was actually very enjoyable!

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Peter with sixth formers at All Saints in Dagenham during a workshop on climate change

What do you get out of being a schools volunteer?

I find it very rewarding to get feedback from pupils and teachers on what they have learnt from the sessions, especially when on subsequent visits to the school they remember what you told them maybe one or two years previously. It is also gratifying to hear from secondary school pupils how they remember the CAFOD presentations that they received in primary schools and to see how they are putting the lessons into practice in their teenage years with fundraising and social action. The challenge is to find how best to deliver the wonderful material that CAFOD provide to best suit the audience according to age, context and relevant curriculum links.

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Peter with students from the Sacred Heart of Mary school in Upminster

Would you like to volunteer for CAFOD in schools? You can find our more information about being a volunteer with children and young people on CAFOD’s website.

You can also read about some of our other wonderful volunteers and how they inspire others to make a difference to the lives of millions of people across the world.