Lent 2018 Supporters’ day in Oxford


CAFOD Lent Supporters’ day – Our Lady Help of Christians Oxford

We were delighted to hold our Supporters’ day at Our Lady help of Christians in Oxford on 7 February. Over 16 people from 9 parishes attended the day which was wonderful.  It was great to see familiar faces again and we were delighted to welcome some new people too.

Deborah with Julia – CAFOD Connect2

Deborah Purfield (CAFOD coordinator for Oxford N & S deaneries) welcomed everyone and shared her experience of El Salvador and CAFOD’s work there. This really went down well as people were pleased to hear how donations were used to help build the community and empower them.  Suporters and volunteers said they felt motivated, inspired and encouraged to do more in their parishes to raise awareness.

Peter Van Cauwelaert (Parish Volunteer – St Peter – Eynsham) led the group in a workshop which enabled people to see some of the decisions CAFOD faces, in collaboration with our overseas partners, in spending our money. The group to decide how to spend £10,000 given six different projects.  This provoked a lot of discussion and each group fed back with what projects they would support.

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John explains about CAFOD’s work in Zimbabwe

This Lent, the focus is on CAFOD’s work in Zimbabwe and John Barker (schools volunteer) presented some shocking statistics – 70% of Zimbabweans live in poverty, unemployment rate has been estimated at 95% and 1 in 3 Zimbabweans are undernourished.  CAFOD is working with the local Catholic Church, through Caritas partners in Zimbabwe to tackle hunger and malnutrition.

John shared Svondo’s story and most people were inspired by the video and could see what difference our support had made.  Matched funding by the UK government this Lent Fast day was also mentioned which spurred people on.

Suzanne summed it up when she said, “The whole day was most helpful, I wanted to learn more and understand the issues that CAFOD is involved in and this is exactly what I received”.

Supporters were keen to stay and chat after the session and look at some of the resources.  Great atmosphere!

Thanks so much to Our Lady Help of Christians for hosting the event, to Bridie and David for helping during the session with refreshments and for setting and clearing up and to all who attended. It was really wonderful to see you all.

>> For more information about Lent 2017 Fast day, visit our website


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