Volunteers from Oxford N & S Deaneries get inspired for Lent 2017

In preparation for the Lent Fast Day on 10 March, volunteers from Oxford North and South deaneries came together to hear about CAFOD’s work in Zambia.  We were very kindly hosted by the parish of Our Lady help of Christians – Cowley (Oxford).  The parish not only allowed us to use the lovely facilities (which all commented on) but Fr Graham even helped set and clear up.  Thank you so much!

Lent Supporters' Day - Ox N&S Deaneries

Lent Supporters’ Day – Oxford  N & S Deaneries

We were delighted to welcome four new volunteers since Harvest 2016, Margaret and Carmila from Sacred Heart (Blackbird Leys) , David (from Our Lady’s Cowley) and Gloria from Sacred Heart (Henley-on-Thames).  These events are a wonderful opportunity for volunteers to meet, share ideas, build friendships and ask for /offer support to each other.  This was clearly evident throughout the session.

Deborah Purfield, Coordinator for CAFOD in Oxford N & S deaneries, welcomed all and the day started with the group settling down to a reflective opening prayer focusing on the Beatitudes which included the six “additional” Beatitudes, put forward by Pope Francis on All Saints Day in 2016, to “ recognize and respond to new situations with fresh spiritual energy.”   This was so well received that it was asked for again at the end.  We were also reminded of CAFOD’s vision of a world transformed to reflect the Kingdom of God throughout the session.

Group sharing

Group sharing

An update was given on donations received from Harvest 2016 and beyond, we heard about CAFOD’s work in Zambia – this Lent Fast Day focus country. Debbie spoke enthusiastically about Sister Yvonne and the Households in Distress programme in Mbala, Zambia.  The programme has helped people like Florence become self-sufficient by running their own artisanal businesses such as fish farming and bee keeping.  These projects have transformed the lives of people in some the world’s poorest communities. There was discussion on how this programme reflected CAFOD’s vision so well.   The short video about Florence’s fish farming was shown. Debbie mentioned the detailed video about CAFOD’s work in Zambia which gives more information about the programme.

After the break (where there was time to chat to others and share ideas) we unpacked the fast day resources and discussed how best to promote Fast day in the parish. Debbie also mentioned about promoting campaigns outside Fast Day times and encouraged all to sign up to be MP correspondents.  The group seemed keen to work together and said they would try and include schools in their fundraising and campaigning activities if possible.

There is a great A-Z of fundraising ideas for Lent which seemed to interest those who wanted to do something different.

The day concluded with a reflection from Sr Yvonne and all said the fast day prayer together.  A few were able to stay for a shared lunch where more discussions took place.  We even had Fr Graham join us which was lovely.  Gloria was so enthused and said, “I shall see if I can encourage more people to volunteer in the Goring parish too as I know people there”.  What an example of evangelization!

Sandra’s (St Hugh of Lincoln Woodstock) comment seem to reflect the general feeling from the day, “it was a wonderful, knowledgeable and inspiring day. I feel enthused to do more and try different things!  Thanks so much”

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer/parish contact please get in touch or call 01844 274


Meetings for CAFOD Supporters


Please come along to our upcoming meetings and hear about CAFOD’s work in Zambia and how to inspire others this Lent.


Saturday 4 February, 10.30am-1.00pm:                                                                                       Holy Trinity Parish Centre, London Road, Newcastle, Staffs, ST5 1LQ

Wednesday 8 February, 7.00-8.30pm:                                                                                              St Mary’s Parish Centre, Leveson Street, Willenhall, WV13 1DA

Saturday 18 February, 10am – 1.30pm:                                                                                              St Joseph, Chalfont St Peter, SL9 8RY

Saturday 18 February, 10.30-12.00am:                                                                                              St Anne’s Church, 26 Bridle Lane, Sutton Coldfield, B74 3HB

Monday 20 February, 7.45-9.15pm:                                                                                                    St Thomas More parish, 112 Knoll Drive, Coventry, CV3 5DE (including a presentation on LiveSimply)

Wednesday 22 February, 10am – 12:30pm:                                                                                   Our Lady Help of Christians, Oxford, OX4 2ND

Thursday 23 February, 7.30-9pm:                                                                                                       St John the Evangelist parish, 25 South Bar Street, Banbury, OX16 9AF                      (including a talk by Bishop William Kenney on Iraq and South Sudan)

Saturday 25 February, 10.30am – 12.00nn:                                                                                      St. Chad’s & All Saints, Sedgley, DY3 3UE


Thursday 9th March, 7pm (not 7.30pm as previously stated):                                                       Mass on the eve of CAFOD’s Lent fast day (celebrated by bishop Robert Byrne).                  Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Redditch, B98 8LT

Friday 10th March:                                                                                                                                  CAFOD Lent Fast Day

For more information contact: 01922 722944 or birmingham@cafod.org.uk

Supporters from Banbury and Oxford N&S get ready for Harvest

Supporter briefing

Supporter briefing

Over 12 CAFOD supporters and volunteers from the Oxford North & South and Banbury deaneries came together to find out more about Harvest Fast day 2016 and to meet each other.  Thank you to all who joined us. It was fantastic to see you!


Hearing about Bolivia

Hearing about Bolivia

We heard about CAFOD’s work in Bolivia which is this fast day’s focus country.  We were given an update on donations received over the past year and how these funds have helped the world’s poorest to improve their lives as well as hearing about the new Hands On project – Hands On Altiplano which gives people an opportunity to journey with the community in Bolivia and be part of a project that helps transform their lives.

We went through the Harvest resources and were given suggestions of how to reach out and promote fast days in our parishes as well as to encourage more people to volunteer.  Some of those present were surprised to hear that there was a variety of  volunteering roles in CAFOD to suite various lifestyles and skills even within the parish.

Lampedusa Cross

Lampedusa Cross

Writing messages of hope

Writing messages of hope

We were introduced to the Speak Up Week of Action and parishes which had not yet taken up the opportunity to borrow the Lampedusa cross were encouraged to do so and to write messages of hope to refugees.  All messages returned to CAFOD will be sent to refugees.  We had time to write our messages of hope and pray for the refugees.

Most people left with a commitment of what they would do personally as a result of attending the meeting.  Some said they were inspired to do more like talk to others to enthuse them about CAFOD’s work.  Others said they would try and get the fast day talk to be given in their parish.

If you couldn’t join us, do watch this video to see what a difference your regular giving can make.

Please also take a moment to download a special Harvest briefing to help you prepare for Harvest Fast Day (7 October).  The main weekend of action for giving out the Fast Day envelopes and giving the short talk is usually the weekend before (so 1st and 2nd October) – but do check all this with Father first of course.

And don’t forget to join us online on Fast Day itself and hear from Nikki Evans, Programme Officer for Bolivia. There are two webinars, one at lunchtime and one in the evening:

Join our lunchtime webinar at 1pm – 2pm:

Join our evening webinar at 7pm – 8pm:

Thanks St Thomas More for hosting the event and well done to all who have promoted CAFOD’s work in their parishes. We could not do our great work without you!  Thank you so much!