St George’s parishioner Doug Lowe who has supported CAFOD for the past 25 years recently gave a CAFOD presentation about CAFOD’s work and Share the Journey. Doug who has managed CAFOD’s work at the Greenbelt Festival as one of his many volunteering roles for CAFOD, along with running many CAFOD events in and around Taunton, travelled to Mere for a Churches Together Annual General Meeting.
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.
Liz then handed over the event to facilitator Rachel McCarthy from CAFOD Head Office London who introduced the visiting speakers:
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.
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.
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).
A special Mass was offered for refugees of the world in the presence of the Lampedusa Cross recently at the Church in Bath. Linking the gospel of the blind man cured by Jesus Christ in his homily, Parish Priest, Canon David Ryan reflected on how Pope Francis was made aware of the plight and suffering of refugees when he was invited to the island of Lampedusa by the parish priest.
Find out more about how you can be involved in the work supporting Refugees through CAFOD.