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.  The UK government will double all donations this Lent Fast day up to £5m 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


Bishop William supports the Power to Be Campaign

CAFOD Coordinators Lizzie Wignall and Debbie Purfield had their annual meeting with Bishop William Kenney who was very supportive and delighted to hear how parish involvement across the south of the diocese where Lizzie and Debbie are focusing on has risen over the past year.

Lizzie, Bishop William and Debbie support renewable energy for the poorest

Lizzie showed Bishop William some crosses with really moving words made by primary school children when they heard about the refugee crisis and Debbie mentioned how 17 people came forward recently at St Joseph’s (Thame) to be parish volunteers for CAFOD.

Bishop William and Lizzie support the Power to Be campaign


Bishop WIlliam was moved by the crosses which he read and was delighted to hear how a lot more parishes were supporting CAFOD not only through donations but also by campaigning and prayer.



To show his solidarity and support the Power to Be campaign, Bishop William signed the petition card calling on the World Bank to ensure renewable energy access for the world’s poorest people.  He said,  ‘What is important is that people are at the centre not economic systems.’

Bishop William Kenney signs the Power to Be petition

Thank you Bishop William for your continued support!


Bishop William will be sharing his experience of Sudan and South Sudan on the following dates:

Date : 30 September 2017

Venue : Our Lady Help of Christians, 59 Hollow Way, Cowley, Oxford OX4 2ND.

Time : 10am for 10:30am – 1:30pm followed by a shared lunch till 2:30pm.

All welcome! Bring a friend along too.  Please book : dpurfield@cafod.org.uk or 01844 264723

Date : 28 September 2017

Venue : Sacred Heart, 17 Lime Tree Avenue, Bilton, Rugby, CV22 7QT

Time : 7pm (teas and coffees) for 7:30pm-9pm. 

All welcome! Bring a friend along too. Please book : ewignall@cafod.org.uk or 01922 722944

St Gregory the Great Summer Garden Party – Oxford

When the PTA of St Gregory the Great School in Oxford decided to hold a Garden Party to raise funds for the school, they invited the Connect2 CAFOD group at Corpus Christi Parish in Oxford to attend to tell people about the their work supporting the people of Sebeya, in Ethiopia.

St Gregory the Great School summer garden Party 2017

> Find out about Connect 2 and about Sebeya

And alongside stalls selling burgers, cream teas and cakes, the Connect2 group sold Ethiopian Food made by parishioners from recipes on the CAFOD website, alongside display boards telling stories of the Sebeya Community, and copies of a prayer by Sebeya Parish Priest, Abba Solomon.

Ruth Derbyshire and Judith Fitzgerald are served by Claire Lama

Parishioner Claire Lama ladled out the food of falafels, green bean stew and spicy tomato salad to hungry party-goers, together with Defo Dabo* (a mild spicy bread) and Honey Yeast Bread*, followed by a fruit salad made from fruits likely to be available in Ethiopia – and the bowls quickly emptied!.

>>  Get the recipe for the Defo Dabo (a mild spicy bread) and Honey Yeast Bread

Face-painted customers enjoyed the fruit salad

3 year old Caspian enjoys Honey Yeast Bread

Claire also had a large atlas of the World and pointed out the location of Sebeya, near to the ancient city of Adigrat, close to the Eritrean border, to parents, teachers and children making it an educational as well as a delicious meal.

Parish Priest of Corpus Christi, Canon Mervyn Tower, who is also a governor of the school, said, “It is good to see the role of CAFOD, and its links with communities around the world, being brought to the wider school community.”

The Parish has been involved with the Connect2 project for two years and is close to reaching its target of £7000 to donate to CAFOD, which would be the amount required to pay for the irrigation system which is currently under construction.  In this way, the Parish will have played a part in bringing more reliability to the crop production in this arid region of Ethiopia, which is prone to severe drought and starvation.

>> Sign up to Connect 2