A reflection on Peace

Chris Burkette, a young person who is currently on our Step into the Gap Programme, reflects on the personal and public fruits of peace. Step into the Gap, CAFOD’s gap year programme, is an opportunity to volunteer in the UK, gain experience, develop leadership skills and visit an international CAFOD partner. 

With widespread talk in the world today of war and conflict it can feel that World leaders hold ‘Peace’ furthest from their thoughts, but as Christians we too must instigate ‘Peace’ not just in public but everyday with each other.

CAFOD base their work within a mission of Peace to lend a helping hand to our worldly neighbours through working very closely with their partners abroad.  These partners act as Disciples of Christ, preaching hope and love to all.

CAFOD holds strong values aimed to maintain Peace, for instance through Compassion and Hope. Altogether there is a combination of 7 Values: Compassion, Solidarity, Hope, Partnership, Dignity, Justice and Stewardship.

I believe that Peace is an important part of having faith. It is something I have struggled with for some time in my own Faith journey. The struggle being the issue of finding that deep inner Peace within being myself and so being able to generate a radiant Peace to all others.  I used to think that inner ‘Peace’ was having everything in my personal life sorted but I have recently come to realise that it is quite the opposite.  We must first be able to love ourselves as the unique creations we are from God before appreciating those around us.

Youth gather Mersea Island

Finding Peace on Mersea Island at the recent BCYS Youth Gather

We learn from Jesus that all of the Commandments simply hinge upon love firstly of God then of love of neighbour. I believe a fruit of this love is Peace which we can build within us over time. Along with this fruit, the Holy Spirit gives us the Gift of Joy to accompany love!

On my placement within Brentwood I am so often awe-stricken from the encounters I experience with Young people; so many of which carry out acts of Kindness, often simple acts even as opening a door or listening to others around them. In these times I feel the need to help, encourage and nurture other people’s Faith along with my own. I am only able to do so by God working through these people on retreat. It’s at these times I feel my faith strengthened.

Youth gather Mersea Island 2

Young people at the Youth Gather event show their solidarity with the homeless families of the Maua Community

I’d end on the note that not only the Church needs Peace but also young people altogether, who need models of inspiration to demonstrate acts of Peace to one another. Now St John Paul ll refers to the young people of today as the Hope of the Church tomorrow – “In you young people there is hope, for you belong to the future, as the future belongs to you”. These words fill me with both a sense of Joy but feeling of responsibility for my future and the future of others I encounter.

Are you interested in communicating the good work of CAFOD?

We would love to have a communications volunteer who could help us with:

  • Social media, including Facebook and Twitter
  • Putting together press releases for local papers
  • This blog!

If you enjoying writing, tweeting and blogging or would like experience in communications or PR, then contact Chris at brentwood@cafod.org.uk  or call 01277 218730


We can offer training in social media strategy, and how to write engaging and eye catching press releases,  so you can gain crucial experience, skills and points on your CV. You may be able to visit our office in Brentwood or you could possibly work from a distance in the comfort of your own home. Expenses are covered.

For me, utilising social media is crucial in order to reach a wider audience and get the message out to them about CAFOD’s great work especially at a local level. It is something I can easily incorporate into my hectic life at University and feel I am still making a difference.” Jack, communications volunteer in Northampton

All experience levels are very welcome to express interest – all you need is a willingness to help us with increasing our social media presence and help get CAFOD in the paper! So please get in touch.

In remembrance and celebration – Brentwood Diocese CAFOD Memorial Mass 2017

During November, the month of remembrance, we take time to pray 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 fourth Memorial Mass at Brentwood Cathedral on Thursday November 9 at 9.15am. We are honoured and indeed fortunate to have Bishop Alan Williams as the principal celebrant at the Mass.


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 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.