Kris Pears first remembers supporting CAFOD in the 1960s. He shares with us his earliest memories of supporting CAFOD and looks back on a decade of volunteering.
“My earliest memories of CAFOD date back to being at Primary School, Christ the King in Coventry, from September 1958 to July 1965, I remember the “Penny Collections for the babies in Africa.” It was probably Lent in 1962 when we got pink cards and collected old pennies 1d sticking them on the card until there were 30 of them making up 2/6d or half a crown as it was known then, worth 12.5p now, back then it was a lot of money, in those days I didn’t even get pocket money!
“My first serious involvement was a lot of years later in May 1998 when we went over as a family to join the human chain, which surrounded the ICC in Birmingham when the G8 Summit was held there with Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin & co in attendance, there were 60,000 of us protesting about what was then called “third world debt” my two children then aged 9 and 11 enjoyed blowing the whistles.
“Moving on just over a decade until I actually got involved as a volunteer in the summer of 2009, I was still in contact with a former teacher of mine from Bishop Ullathorne (Ann Farr) who had first got me involved with Social Justice work back in the early 1970s, she invited me to attend the Coventry Deanery Justice & Peace group and from that I got information about a CAFOD Key Volunteer day which I attended at the Birmingham (Walsall) office and then I was hooked.
I remember vividly my first Speaking at Mass weekend, it was at St Osburg’s the mother church in Coventry, I’d prepared the Harvest Fast Day talk and as I sat in my car outside the church before Saturday evening mass I couldn’t even read it properly, I’d been a reader at mass for 30 years by then, but my brain & tongue were just not connecting, eventually I had to go in as it was time so I just prayed for guidance, the Holy Spirit was with me that day and I was word perfect and as I left after Mass a lady stopped me and thanked me for highlighting the problems faced by people from her homeland, she showed me the scars on her arms where she had been attacked and told me how lucky she was to have escaped with her life. It was one of the most humbling experiences of my life!
Tomorrow, Kris will share his experience of the first time he spoke at Mass and what he is looking forward to doing next.