Recycling to care for Our Common Home – Oxford

 Parishioners of Corpus Christi Church in Oxford and Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Wheatley are doing their best to make a reality of Pope Francis’s call in Laudato ‘Si to live more simply and to care for the planet. Parish volunteer John Guy explains :

Inspired by sermons from Parish Priest Canon Mervyn Tower, our understanding of the scriptural imperative to care for God’s creation has led us to work towards the CAFOD Live Simply Award.


A journey in solidarity

Over the past 18 months, the Parish has been developing concrete ways of putting their faith into action to engage the whole parish.

Early on, over 100 parishioners gathered for a pilgrimage to join in CAFOD’s Share the Journey project, to express solidarity with migrants on the move across the world.


Caring for our common home

More recently, the parish has turned its attention to recycling, alerted by worries expressed by scientists that valuable precious metals are being used up too rapidly in electronic devices.

Parishioners gathered items with hidden value found in every household such as old mobile phones, cameras, and sat navs which contain precious metals like gold, silver, copper, platinum and palladium.

Parishioner Fortunata Oates explained: “We discovered that mining these metals from ore is difficult – it takes a tonne of ore to get 1g of gold but we can recover it from existing mobile phones and other electronic equipment.”

Fortunata and Lily Oates sort through valuable trash at Corpus Christi Church, Oxford

The churches are also collecting other items usually left in drawers and cupboards like jewellery and watches, foreign currency, and used postage stamps for recycling.

Claire Harvey, a parishioner at Corpus Christi, said: “I was astonished to find that I had three old mobile phones in the drawer at home which I had collected over the last 10 years – alongside three cameras, a tablet and a broken Kindle!”

Sackfuls of precious trash have now been sent to Recycling for Good Causes, a company which gives money back to the Parish which they have chosen to donate to CAFOD.

A big thank you to the parish of Corpus Christi and Our Lady of Lourdes for all you are doing to care for our Common Home. You are a wonderful example!


>>. To find out how you and your parish can recycle, click here

Bishop launches LiveSimply cookbook – Wheatley

Earlier in November, Bishop John Arnold, Bishop of Salford and CAFOD chair of trustees, celebrated Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes, Wheatley, to help launch the book that had been created by the parishioners to help others to live and cook more simply.

“I hope all parishioners will enjoy cooking my leftover Rice and Veg on page 8 but they may prefer Fr Mervyn’s Spaghetti con salsa di pomodoro on page 7!” said Bishop John, “Thank you for all you do to respond to the Cry of the Poor and the Cry of the Earth as we care for Our Common Home.”

Bishop John Arnold, CAFOD Trustee, launches LiveSimply cook book

The book, which has been months in the making, was spearheaded by Fr Mervyn who encouraged parishioners to send in their own recipes, particularly encouraging the use of leftovers and non-meat dishes. The result is a book packed with wonderful recipes: soups and breads, a wide range of vegetarian savoury meals, some fish and meat dishes, and a collection of desserts and cakes. There are also useful tips on storing leftovers, freezing and defrosting.

Parishioner Maya Francis, who contributed three innovative recipes for beetroot, said, “The recipes are all so well compiled! I feel honoured to be a part of this.”


For the past 18 months, the Parish of Corpus Christi has been working towards a LiveSimply Award to enable the parish, in response to Pope Francis’ Laudato Si, to take greater responsibility in caring for the planet and for our neighbours, especially those living in poverty. This latest initiative was driven by Pope Francis’s plea for everyone to be more careful with food waste.

Corpus Christi parish is just one of many around the country who have started their LiveSimply journey with CAFOD. There are now over 50 groups across England and Wales who have been presented with the award. The group are hoping that their example will inspire others to also take up a simpler way of living.

>> To find out more about the LiveSimply Award and get your parish and school involved click here.




General election 2019: how the people of Birmingham diocese can help the world’s poorest people this election

ElectionHow your vote van help the poorest communities

Ahead of the general election on Thursday 12 December, it is important voters raise issues important to them with local candidates. Here are some issues you can raise with your candidates to help speak up for the world’s poorest communities.

The aid budget is vital for tackling poverty. We need to ensure that it is focused on the needs of the world’s poorest people.
What can I say? “What will you, and your party, do to continue to tackle poverty overseas and to protect the quality of UK aid?”

Climate change
Thousands of CAFOD supporters from Birmingham campaigned to persuade the government to set a new climate change target. Now, politicians need to act.
What can I say? “The government has set a net zero emissions target of 2050. Do you support this target and how will you, and your party, make tackling climate change a priority to prevent more people being pushed into poverty by the climate crisis?”

Trade and migration
All trade deals negotiated after Brexit mustn’t harm the environment or poor communities – and migration rules must protect everyone’s dignity and rights.
What can I say? “How will you, and your party, ensure that Britain is an outward-looking, tolerant and welcoming nation in the years ahead?”

Poverty in England and Wales
Whilst CAFOD helps vulnerable communities overseas, our sister charity CSAN supports people struggling with poverty here in England and Wales.
What can I say? “How would you and your party contribute to the availability of housing and jobs that reduce poverty and build up local community ties?”

How to get in touch with local election candidates
• In person – Parliamentary candidates and canvassers often go door to door. This is your chance to raise your voice.
• By email or letter – Candidates wanting to become an MP are listed on the Electoral Commission.
• Through the media – why not write a letter to your local newspaper here  or contact your local radio station here
• On social media – you can tweet your questions and concerns to candidates.
• At election hustings – local hustings information will be listed in local newspapers, websites and on the Churches Together network.

How to vote
You can register to vote online. The website offers instructions on how to register, including how to receive a postal vote.
When you’ve registered to vote, you will receive a polling card with information on which polling station you can vote at. You can also enter your postcode and find your polling station.