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


CAFOD visits the oratory Prep School in Reading

Cathy Carr, Education Volunteer, gives a Lent Assembly at the Oratory Prep School (Reading)

On Friday 2 February, the Oratory Prep School in Reading had a visit for the first time from our Education volunteer Cathy Carr.  Cathy gave an assembly to Year 3 and 4 and students heard how at CAFOD we believe in a better world, where no one lives in poverty and each of us can become the best person we can be. To be in a world without poverty, where people have clean, safe water to drink and enough food to eat.  Where everyone has a safe home, children can go to school and anyone who is sick can visit a doctor or nurse.

Cathy introduced them to 7 yr old Svondo from Zimbabwe and explained how around the world malnutrition stops some children from being able to play. Malnutrition is when you don’t have the right nutrients to be healthy (for younger children, you could replace the word nutrients with “vitamins and goodness in food”). This can happen when people do not have enough food to eat. It stops children from having enough energy to play.

Some great ideas for Lent


The students learnt where some of the money raised went to and were given ideas on how they could help through prayer, fasting and giving.

>> For more great fundraising ideas, visit our website


Year 3 also spent an hour with Cathy afterwards taking part in a workshop based around the Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Laudato Si’– written to every person on the planet.  It linked beautifully with the work the children have been doing on environmental issues in PSHE and provided great food for thought for all involved.

Mrs Emily Reed (Head of RE) was wonderful in welcoming CAFOD into the school and said, “This was a great session. We would love to have CAFOD back in the Autumn Term to deliver the Harvest assembly and we would fundraise for CAFOD then.”

Thank you to Oratory Prep School for inviting CAFOD in and to Cathy Carr for delivering such a great assembly and workshop.


Carol Singing in Witney for Connect 2 El Salvador

Paul Read from the parish of Our Lady and St Hugh and his band Saxophony were out and about in Witney in December 2017 creating a wonderful festive cheer with their carols.  They were keen to promote CAFOD’s Connect 2 programme which the parish supports.  Their link country is El Salvador and they were going all out to raise money for the community.

Saxophony band fill the street with carols while raising money for CAFOD’s Connect2 programme

Paul said, “We were supported by our Parish of Our Lady and St Hugh, Witney.  We were well received and the passers by were very generous. We raised £103.83 towards the project in Puntecitos, El Salvador.”

Well done to Paul and Saxophony for your efforts and joy in raising the funds.  To do what you love in community and do it to help others in need is truly wonderful.  Thanks so much.