Here, Betty Fleetwood tells us about her experiences working the the junior liturgy group in Our Lady of Peace, Stratford-upon-Avon. She tells about how group leader, Mandy Bennett, has worked with the young people in order to spread the message of Harvest Fast Day 2016.
Betty Fleetwood and her husband John volunteer for CAFOD at St. Gregory The Great and at Our Lady of Peace in Stratford-upon-Avon. They have been involved with CAFOD appeals for over 30 years and each speak on behalf of CAFOD at two masses for Lent and Harvest Fast annually. Both Betty and John are committed to CAFOD’s vision for social justice.
This year Betty invited the junior liturgy group at Our Lady of Peace to become involved in the Lent Fast appeal. The resulting work exploring the impact of drought on the world’s most disadvantaged communities was very successful and effective indeed. So, in response to CAFOD’s Harvest Fast campaign to assist farmers in Bolivia, Betty again asked the junior liturgy leader, Mandy Bennett, if the group could tell the story of Nicanora and Ruben and the difficulties they have to overcome to grow food/crops on the Bolivian Altiplano high up in the Andes.
“CAFOD’s resources are fantastic and clearly inform and illustrate the problems people face in the Altiplano’ said Betty. “Our liturgy group is so well led by an enthusiastic team. It is through this team the children have been learning how CAFOD is working in the Altiplano to support irrigation , build greenhouses and improve soil fertility; all of which help improve livelihoods in the region,” she added.
The children have now been getting ‘hands on’ in discovering more about CAFOD’s work in the region. Like the people seeking to improve the quality of agriculture in the Altiplano, they have built a wormery which will be part of their presentation. Their wormery will be on display for all to see in the church.
Beyond building the wormery, the children will also entertain the congregation with a ‘ Harvest rap, composed by Mandy.
For their presentation the children have decided to adopt the CAFOD ‘Brighten Up’ theme and dress colourfully as do the people of the Bolivian highlands.
Betty has been very pleased with the positive response of the group: “It is wonderful to see such creative interpretations of CAFOD’s work.” She also recognises the skills that the young people have developed: “It is excellent for team working, gives them insight to global issues and demonstrates practical gospel values”
Elizabeth Wignall, CAFOD’s Community Participation Co-ordinator in the area was very pleased to hear of the work that the group are undertaking. She said: “It’s fabulous to hear about what’s going on in Our Lady of Peace. Harvest Fast Day is such an important date in our calendar and to hear about these young people exploring and getting to the heart of the challenges faced by people in Bolivia is amazing.” She added: “It’s no surprise to hear that Betty has had a hand in this marvellous project. She has done so much for CAFOD over the years and her efforts like the efforts of so many others are what makes our life-changing work possible.”