Our Lady Immaculate School, Chelmsford welcomes Ethiopian visitors

The school has joined the local parishes of Our Lady Immaculate and Holy Name in supporting Connect2 Ethiopia as a community.

Joanna Jarvis, Paula Barningham, Brother Pius, Tamiru, Abba Solomon, Brother Gregory, Theresa Humphries and ursula Reilly with year 5.

Joanna Jarvis, Paula Barningham, Brother Pius, Tamiru, Abba Solomon, Brother Gregory, Theresa Humphries and Ursula Reilly with year 5.

Head Teacher Paula Barningham was delighted to welcome Tamiru Legesse who is the communications officer for CAFOD who works in Addis Ababa jointly with SCIAF and TROCAIRE and Abba Solomon, the Parish Priest for Sebeya the community where CAFOD works. A special assembly was held so pupils could find out more about the lives of the people who live in Sebeya, their daily struggles and how CAFOD is helping to improve villagers access to clean water.

Pupils were shocked to find out that the main language spoken in the country has more than 200 letters and were excited when they heard that many young people in Ethiopia supported their favourite football teams.

Following the assembly Abba Solomon and Tamiru were given a tour of the school, then enjoyed a roast beef lunch and were joined by Theresa Humphries who was representing the parish CAFOD Group. They were also pleased to meet and be shown round Our lady Immaculate Church by Brother Gregory and Brother Pius. In the afternoon Tamiru joined year 4 for a lesson and showed them a short video about life in Sebeya.

Head teacher Paula Barningham said: “We feel very privileged that Abba Solomon and Tamiru came to visit us. We’re looking forward to staying in touch with them and the rest of their community. The children can’t wait to share their stories of life in the UK and learn more about the people of Sebeya.”

The school and parishes will be helping to improve people’s access to clean water and their ability to grow food for themselves so they can increase their household income. They will also be building a relationship with the community by exchanging cards, letters and pictures.

Before they left, Tamiru presented Mrs Barningham with a traditional woven basket for the school and Abba Solomon accepted a collection of English foods, including Tiptree jam and English breakfast tea from Ursula Reilly, the school’s business manager, who had helped to organise their visit.

Joanna Jarvis, joint diocesan manager for CAFOD Brentwood said ‘The school’s hospitality was wonderful and it was an honour to accompany Abba Solomon and Tamiru. I know that it has inspired us all to continue to change the lives of people in Ethiopia.’

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Connect2 brings together schools and parishes in England and Wales with communities in Ethiopia and other poor countries which benefit from their fundraising so the two can gain a deeper understanding of each other’s lives, learn from each other and form stronger ties.


St Anne Line parish supports El Salvador


The parishioners at St Anne Line , South Woodford were introduced to their new Connect2 Community last weekend. Tania Dalton from CAFOD’s Latin America team spoke at all Mass’s about the community of Puentecitos in El Salvador, the work that CAFOD is currently doing there and the people who make it possible.

Tania said’ The work focuses on building strong communities, able to resist the challenges presented by the climate, and risks of flooding, or other disasters, able to maximise the potential of the land to produce nutritious crops, able to think creatively about other forms of generating an income such as making products to sell, and able to share their experiences and learning with other communities’

Joanna Jarvis, Diocesan manager who accompanied Tania said ‘ Father Francis and all the parishioners were very welcoming and it was great to meet pupils from St Antony’s and Our Lady of Lourdes schools who recalled their recent ‘CAFOD Dig Deep’ Lent assemblies’

St Anne Line parish has raised an amazing £133,299 for CAFOD since 1990 including £10,407 for Connect2 Rwanda their pervious Connect2 country.

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Connect2 El Salvador: “A miracle happened”

A year ago, Erasmo Valiente visited Our Lady of Lourdes parish, Wanstead and Blessed Sacrament parish, Chelmsford as part of a group from El Salvador visiting Connect2 parishes.

Erasmo with Fr Pat Sammon

Erasmo with Fr Pat Sammon, Our Lady of Lourdes

He spoke about his work with farmers and women’s groups, which enables people in small, rural communities to provide for themselves and their families, and visited community projects and farms here in the UK.

Erasmo (L) with Eileen and Peter Webster and Fidel, Blessed Sacrament

Erasmo (L) with Eileen and Peter Webster and Fidel

Unfortunately, on new year’s day, Erasmo suffered an accident and we’re sure you will want to join us in praying for Erasmo and his family.

Erasmo says:

The beginning of the new year hasn’t been the best for me, but I understand that things don’t happen without a reason. God has given me a second chance of life to understand how beautiful it is to be alive.

On New Year’s Day, I suffered a fall. I was painting 5 metres high and involuntarily someone moved the ladder and I fell backwards. As I fell, I got entangled in some sharp razor wire and below there was a cement platform. I was almost certain to die because the position of my fall was head down. But a miracle happened.

Before falling, my body turned 90 degrees and this meant that I fell in a sitting position. I only remember the impact of the blow. I felt as if my waist reached my throat.

I can’t help crying when I remember this moment, because I felt as if I had died. I fainted for a few minutes and then was taken to hospital. The days when I was hospitalised were critical because I was unable to move because of the impact on my spine.

Now I am in the process of recovery with medicines and physiotherapy to recover my movement.

I will return to work soon, depending on an assessment, but God’s miracle is continuing because my health is improving and now I can sit up and walk, even though it is difficult.

Greetings to all of the dear people of CAFOD.

We wish our friend Erasmo a full recovery.

Connect2 is a personal journey between your parish and the community you support; a chance to be a part of that community’s life in the longer term. We share their struggles, hopes and dreams and share news from your parish and community life.