CAFOD campaigner and Key Volunteer Jim Quinn from Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Redditch, recently attended a reception for CAFOD MP Correspondents at Speaker’s House in the Houses of Parliament. He writes:
On 13 February, MPs and Lords hosted a gathering of CAFOD campaigners in Parliament to celebrate their shared commitment to tackling poverty.
In more than two thirds of English and Welsh constituencies, there are CAFOD campaigners who regularly take the time to write letters and meet their local MPs on issues that affect poor communities around the world, such as aid and climate change.
Following a special Ash Wednesday Mass, normally reserved for parliamentarians, nearly 150 CAFOD campaigners from across the country were invited by John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, to a special event in his State Apartments to honour their active citizenship. Tom Clarke MP, Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of CAFOD, welcomed the CAFOD supporters’ efforts to shape the policies that affect poor communities around the world.
Bishop John Arnold echoed that thanks and told us: “Please don’t underestimate your impact on MPs. You guide them in their thinking, educate them in issues that are important to CAFOD and influence their response in government.” He went on to provide some real examples of the benefits that CAFOD brings to poor communities as part of his recent visit to Burma.
Dom Goggins, Head of Government Relations at CAFOD, said: “These campaigners play a vital role in ensuring that MPs hear about global concerns as well as about local issues. They bring their passion for justice right into the corridors of power and I know from my daily work around Westminster that their voices are taken seriously across the political spectrum. ”
Not only was attending mass in the Palace of Westminster chapel a wonderful experience, it was also great to met other CAFOD MP correspondents from around the country. It reinforced my efforts to lobby on behalf of our poorer sisters and brothers overseas.
Could you connect the poor to the powerful? Find out more about becoming an MP Correspondent at http://www.cafod.org.uk/mpc.