St Mary’s School, Shaftesbury, learn about the Lampedusa Cross

During a recent visit to St Mary’s School in Shaftesbury by CAFOD staff member David Brinn, students learned about the Lampedusa Cross.

Look! Eritrea & Somalia are just here.

They heard how Sicilian carpenter Francesco Tuccio made rough crosses from the wreckage of a boat that sank off the island of Lampedusa. The boat carried 500 refugees from Eritrea and Somalia – 349 people died. The crosses were offered to survivors as a symbol of their rescue and a sign of hope

An example of a Lampedusa Cross now stands in the British Museum.

Students with the Lampedusa Cross


CAFOD is inviting supporters to write messages of hope for refugees. This was part of our work on the Year of Mercy and especially thinking about the corporal work of mercy of “Welcome the Outsider”.

An International CAFOD Staff Event

Held by CAFOD Clifton in the Parish Hall, of St Bonaventure’s Church on
13th July 2016. CAFOD office volunteer Robert Muston shares his experience of the day.

It was hosted by Liz Baldwin, CAFOD Community Participation Co-ordinator for CAFOD Clifton who started the proceedings by giving a brief outline of the day.

Rachel McCarthy, CAFOD Head Office

Liz then handed over the event to facilitator Rachel McCarthy from CAFOD Head Office London who introduced the visiting speakers:


Dominic Carroll

Dominic Carroll CAFOD Country Representative for Bangladesh and Afghanistan, based at CAFOD head office in London, Romero House.

 Kayode Akintola


Kayode Akintola CAFOD Country Representative for Sierra Leone and Liberia based in  Freetown, Sierra Leone,

Conor Molloy


and Conor Molloy CAFOD Country Representative for Ethiopia, based in Addis Ababa.


SESSION 1This started with a prayer and a reading from St Luke’s Gospel 7: 36-50, where Mary Magdalen anoints the feet of Jesus.

Working at tables of 4-6 people we were asked when in our work with CAFOD, we had focussed time and attention on someone; and then when someone had focused time and attention on themselves?
In our discussions we found that we focus on whatever or whomever engages our sympathy in any circumstance of life and consideration of the issues of the time such as famine in Ethiopia, various environmental issues famines and modern day slavery.

Questions to the speaker

From the people we meet we get a taste of the hardships and feel motivated to help them to change things for themselves. As an antidote to the present materialism, abandonment of religious belief or its complete separation from daily life, the Pastoral Cycle becomes an important feature of any ‘development education’.


Before the 2 Group sessions there were short introductions from each of our CAFOD Visitors asking us when and how, in your work at CAFOD have you been challenged or stretched through an encounter or dialogue (e.g. in Laudato Si’)

A lot of this group session was concerned with what is happening now, particularly as much of this was well known from as long ago as the 1960s. Since then materialism has become increasingly widespread, along with the abandonment of a consideration for others. Increasingly the world’s resources have become available more to the affluent Western World at the expense of world’s poor.

The new proposed abandonment of the present Fair Trade movement is jeopardising the livelihoods of many who were benefitting from being able to sell their produce at a fair price, and receiving grants. A new version of ‘fair trade’ will again favour the large (multinational) companies who, with their version of fair trade, will remove the freedom of people to receive bonuses to spend as they think fit, according to their needs and the needs of the local communities. Sainsbury is a prominent party in this new movement!

Laudato Si’ challenges us to link the environmental, social and economic concerns to move to a development model that benefits all in every sphere of life.

Further ideas from our discussion.

Ethiopia – the dialogue with women empowers them to become integrated with the men, and vice versa, being able to share the concerns and work, each according to their abilities and expertise, and the circumstances. It might mean that men sometimes do more of the domestic work, sharing some or all the tasks.


People who are in development situations must continue, spend time thinking about the their particular needs and issues so that they may devise and promote a considered and just solution.

Group discussion

We learned of practices of forest clearance which often leads to a denudation of soil fertility. Such practices must change.  Here education is essential, and is provided through group study for local farmers, with CAFOD and other aid agencies.

For example – the problem of drainage into rivers, – where a river on its course gets more and more pollution from e.g. washing, sewage, waste food, pesticides, fertilisers. The solution is to dig wells, to get clean water from wells or water holes instead of a polluted disease-bearing river. Water-borne diseases are a common consequence.

The impact of on the people, and the environment, of wells and storage, also has to be assessed. It’s necessary to engage with communities and think through all the consequences, and dialogue with all who are affected by such developments.

Development Agencies were mentioned who are or could be in partnership with CAFOD, (a subset of the international agency Caritas International).

St Joseph’s Primary School Portishead

Emptying a bag of coins

The school opened their recent Seaside themed summer fete with a giant sun pavement chalk picture covered with copper coins.

Pupils had been collecting coins over the last few weeks in a fish tank. Seventy pounds in 1ps and 2ps was raised for CAFOD. Parish contact Sam Chandler said “the PTFA came up with the idea. I was delighted to be asked to run a ‘Power to Be’ stall at the fair, alongside RNLI Portishead which is also part of our St Josephs family as we are very much a coastal town”.

The completed sun