Christopher is from Essex and recently has finished his A-Levels in Psychology, Religious Education and Biology. At St Thomas More High school, he started a Fairtrade group which inspired him to join CAFOD’s Step into the Gap programme. He will be based at Brentwood Catholic Youth Services at Walsingham House and is the first CAFOD gap year volunteer there. He believes it is difficult for one individual to make a significant difference, but that with many it is possible. In his free time, he is actively involved in music, especially the violin.
Hello! Over the next year I am going to be doing a placement at Walsingham House in Brentwood diocese in the South-East of England. I have been previously involved with the work of CAFOD, including the campaign One Climate One World. This is such an important topic, more today than ever as the effects of climate change appear so prominently in the world around us. For me it is important for us to care for the world around us – it was given to us by God as a gift, one we must be stewards of, pay special attention to and care for.
I joined the Step into the Gap programme due to my desire to really help people in the wider world around me – I felt the programme would give me an opportunity to make a real difference! This was joined with the fact that I have always taken an interest in the work of CAFOD. I wanted to be a part of it – in some way acting to represent the values set by CAFOD – not just in work but in my everyday lifestyle. I think that many people don’t fully grasp how far-reaching CAFOD’s work is and the number of people’s lives which are transformed completely through the action of CAFOD and their partners. I can be very vocal and so feel that the Step into the Gap programme is helpful for me spreading this message of love to others and act towards visible change!
Over the approaching months I think I will find both strength and motivation from spreading the word on world issues such as climate change and social justice. I am excited at the prospect of communicating these issues with people I encounter on retreat, friends and even those I live with inside my local community. I really feel a deep passion for this form of work, that I will be able to discuss with others around me!
The Step into the Gap programme for me is rooted in Faith so allows me a chance to deepen my Faith, Spirituality and understanding of serving God through love of neighbour and of self. I aim to spread the word of God through CAFOD and preach God’s love of creation and humanity. I also look forward to walking alongside other people on the programme, both physically and spiritually, over the year.
In particular I wait in anticipation of the trip to one of CAFOD’s partners overseas. I’m looking forward to viewing the world through the eyes of the people there and seeing how they live; this will create in me a well of gratefulness that I can then share with people when I get back to the UK. I’m also looking forward to sharing my own journey, such as that of my faith, with locals. The memory of it alone will be something I can’t wait to share with people afterwards. I believe that it is sharing people’s stories that triggers change; they can create an inward change of how others see the world.
I would like to also be an active part in this process of social change. I think that one of the unique parts of the Step into the Gap programme is the link between my placement in Walsingham House and the programme more generally – I’m looking forward to the mix between the activities of retreat sessions and those at CAFOD. I believe that getting the balance could prove to be one of the great challenges of this year.
I can only say that I am filled with a combination of joy and excitement when considering the journey that I and others on the programme will undertake this year – a period of both personal growth and helping the growth of everyone, everywhere that we go. I pray at this time for God’s blessings not just on me but all of the other people within the Step into the Gap programme for endurance, courage and the chance to use their skills to the best of their ability.