Mary Kane of St Joseph’s wrote the following about her experience at the Big IF rally
On June 8th this year three members of St Joseph’s CAFOD group got up with the dawn chorus and, getting the coach from Wolverhampton , travelled to London to add their voices to the huge IF campaign, demanding action on behalf of the world’s poor. The one in eight who go to bed hungry every night.
The aim was to put pressure on the G8 leaders meeting in Ireland on June 17/18th, leaders who represent the richest, most powerful and influential nations in the world.
Ulrike , Helen and I donned our comfy shoes (Ulrike sporting her crutches ), put on our CAFOD T-shirts and went first to Westminster Central Methodist Hall where we joined an ecumenical service of prayers and hymns with 3000 people of diverse faiths (and no faith), singing beautiful verses with a common theme of the compassionate Christian response to poverty .
We listened to impassioned speeches: from Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and from spiritual leaders who lived in desperate parts of the world where the inequitable distribution of food and multinational land grabs have resulted in widespread malnutrition.
From Westminster Hall we joined other groups for The Walk of Witness to Hyde Park (quite a plod!) and assembled in front of a huge stage in Hyde Park. Tens of thousands of people picnicked (many with families) in the lovely sunshine
and waited for the speeches. There was great deal of noise as people echoed their calls for the G8 to address the issue of world poverty . CAFOD was very much in evidence!
We heard moving pleas from Bill Gates, David Beckham, Rowan Williams, Natasha Kaplinski, Eddie Izzard, Gethin Jones, Myleene Klass and Angelique Kidjo (Grammy award winning singer), David Harewood and Danny Boyle. Plus many more well – known TV stars (Can’t remember them all!). Talk about the march of the celebrities! Huge TV screens were placed around the park so they could all be seen clearly.
Across the Serpentine was a magnificent bed of spinning flowers where pilgrims could add their own flowers , each representing a child dying from malnutrition.
At 5.30pm we re-joined our coach for the journey back to Wolverhampton , very weary and footsore, but so glad that we had had the opportunity to represent St Joseph’s CAFOD group at a very significant event .
Now it’s a case of watch this space and look for some outcomes from the G8. Because we certainly aren’t going to stop pestering them!