As part of Oscar Romero Week, on 8 March the annual CAFOD Romero Mass took place in St Chad’s Cathedral. Over 150 people attended and schools across the area joined for a workshop before the mass and it was all organised by our amazing volunteers. I caught up with the organisers to ask them about their role and thoughts on the day.
Peter McCann, the Education Volunteers’s Co-ordinator said:
“In December 2014, I started volunteering with CAFOD once a week; CAFOD sounded a very worthwhile organisation to volunteer with and so it has proved to be!
“I mainly liaise with schools and educations volunteers; good team-work has meant that in 2015 we significantly increased the number of children and young people who have heard from a CAFOD speaker. It has been an inspiring and highly enjoyable 15 months!
You can volunteer with CAFOD.
“My role with this year’s Romero Mass celebration was doing the administration for and liaising with the secondary schools which attended a very successful CAFOD workshop run by my fellow volunteer, Jane Lavery in the morning session, before the Mass. Over 70 students from 9 secondary schools attended the workshop.”
Jane Lavery, who has been an Educational volunteer for 10 years explained:
“This year I was asked to plan and lead the two hour schools’ workshops which took place before the Romero Mass.I decided that would structure the session around Laudato Si.
“I was part of the CAFOD delegation at the COP21 talks in Paris in December and I feel strongly that if there is more awareness of Climate Change and how to tackle it within our own lives, the better it will be for everyone.
Find out more about One Climate, One World
“I used the CAFOD activity ‘Laudato Si’ for Youth Groups’; the students worked in mixed school groups and it was good to see students and staff working together even though they had only just met.
“After the session, one student said: “I have learnt that resources are very important for life and we need to use them fairly and work together”, another added: “today I have learnt that CAFOD helps the poorest people”; another said: “we can send resources around the world so that everyone can have an equal share. We shouldn’t waste our resources”.
“I felt that the two hour session was a positive experience for the students, and it was wonderful to be involved in the Mass which Trevor had organised so beautifully.”
Trevor Stockton, who has been involved in CAFOD since the late 1960s as a schools volunteer, deanery coordinator, MP correspondent and diocesan roles explained his role:
“Currently, my Diocesan role includes both spirituality and organisational duties; I write prayers and songs and organise the reflections for away-days and volunteer meetings.
“This year, I organised the Oscar Romero Mass and I tried to ensure that Lent, Year of mercy, Justice and peace and of course, Archbishop Romero emerged in the liturgy.
Find out more about Archbishop Oscar Romero
“Previously, I have written the bidding prayers for the Oscar Romero Mass but this year, I assembled and arranged the liturgy, wrote the bidding
prayers and chose the music. I also invited the priests including the principal celebrant Fr Gerry Murray who is Chair of the Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission. My own parish priest Fr Brendan Carrick from St Anthony’s parish, Wolverhampton was Fr Gerry’s concelebrant.
“I invited the musicians from Our Lady and St Chad Academy and the choir from St Edmunds Academy, Wolverhampton, to lead the music and Students from Bishop Walsh school to read the first reading and the bidding prayers.
“My aim when I organise Masses is to involve students in as many parts of the mass as possible. So, I always focus on the offertory procession and link it to the theme of the Mass, Archbishop Oscar Romero. The offertory procession involved: a lighted CAFOD candle; the Romero crucifix; a Romero poster and other symbolic offerings produced by the students during the morning session and finally the bread and wine.”
The mass was greatly enjoyed by all and we want to thank the volunteers for all their hard work throughout Oscar Romero Week.