Papal Blessing given for over 30 years of Volunteering for CAFOD

blessingMary Tempany has received a Papal Blessing, given in Thanks for her CAFOD volunteer activities. For over 30 years, Mary has dedicated her time to helping tcertificatehe most deprived people in the world through her work as part of the CAFOD Holy Family Friday Group, in Welwyn Garden City. They have raised almost £100,000 for CAFOD since they formed in the 1970’s.


Mary’s Parish Priest Fr. NoThreeDaughtersrbert Fernandes was joined by three members of the CAFOD group Bridie Nash, Sandy Leys, and Linda Finn and Mary’s three daughters. Fr. Norbert led a short communion service before Tony Sheen, our Community Participation Organiser, presented Mary with the Papal blessing certificate.

Unfortunately Mary is in I’ll health but our prayers are with her. She was delighted to receive this special blessing from Pope Francis, particularly well earned.

Over £300 raised at the Barnet Soup Lunch.


The CAFOD volunteer team at Mary Immaculate and St Gregory the Great in Barnet recently held a Simple Soup Lunch in which parishioners and guests were invited to take up the “live simply” challenge in order to make a donation to CAFOD of the money saved. Despite being held on a Friday lunch time, when many would have been at work, away Baby Buggyfrom the parish, the soup lunch attracted around fifty diners and raised over £300.00.

The soup, cooked by the volunteer team, arrived carried on foot, by car and by baby buggy! Finished in the Presbytery Kitchen the soup was soon served to Finishingappreciative “customers” who had time to catch up with friends and find out a little more about what CAFOD was about. With four varieties of soup on offer, everyone was catered for and the meal was enhanced by bread, fresh from the High Street.

This is not the first Simple Soup Lunch to be offered. Barnet parish has a history of successful events of this type. All have been well supported although the CAFOD volunteer team were particularly pleased with the turn out for this latest event.

Find out about holding your own soup lunch and other fundraising ideas here

Well done Barnet Volunteers.


Hearing the Cry of the Poor

Sister Clara inspires CAFOD volunteers this Harvest


Sister Clara, from the Sacred Heart order, raised the spirits of nearly sixty people when she addressed an information meeting at the Cockfosters Regional Office. Speaking with great warmth and clarity, she explained the difference that CAFOD had made to the lives of thousands of poor people in her home country, Zambia.

At a time time of great need, when challenged by the calamities of the AIDS epidemic and rapid climate change, her sisters had tended the sick and dying. In the early 1990s, and with CAFOD”s help, they built a community school for orphans and other vulnerable children which had enabled them to master practical skills to support themselves, and their families, and continue their education. With the introduction of life-saving retroviral drugs, CAFOD was continuing to support projects which restored to people with the disease, self esteem and confidence through training in skills and know how. They had won a livelihood and were being empowered, thanks to the generosity of Catholics in England and Wales, through CAFOD.

The Church in Zambia, rooted in the lives of the poor, had been the first major voice to raise alarm about climate change. For decades before 2003 the vital rains came to Zambian farmers precisely on October 24 every year. Since then there has been no pattern in the timing or the quantity of the rain, and last year the late arrival of floods had ruined the harvest. With CAFOD’s help ZamSrClarabian farmers were switching from growing maize to growing pumpkins, which were better suited to the new conditions.

Sister Clara said that her order had a record of tackling problems that others would not. They had been first to provide schools for girls in Zambia in the 1950s. Then they had gone against the  mindset of the times by opening schools for children with special needs. With the help of CAFOD they were giving these people, too, livelihoods and confidence in the future.

The inspirational account given by Sister Clara, and the great warmth of her gratitude to the CAFOD volunteers, who made up nearly all of her audience, was the perfect rallying call as the Harvest Family Fast Day, on October 5th, becomes the focus. If any further encouragement was needed Tony Sheen, our Community Clara&groupParticipation Co-ordinator, told the volunteers that the magnificent sum of £4.274,million was being used at that very time to bring relief to people whose lives were in jeopardy because of the typhoon in the Philippines and the floods in Kerala. CAFOD was extending not hand outs, but a helping hand to people who had shown, and would show, that they could overcome devastating problems and assert their strengths and dignity. Sr Clara’s words reminded all present what a privilege it was to help in their victory over adversities.

Find out how you can support CAFOD this  Harvest here