One of CAFOD’s volunteers Michael Walsh describes Father Carlo Bonelli’s experience of the work of CAFOD in Kenya.
“On Monday, August 4 for the second time in a year a visiting priest at Christ the King in Cockfosters saw the CAFOD logo on the door facing the sacristy and asked to meet the staff and volunteers in the Westminster Diocesan office. Like Fr Gabriel Sosa before him Fr Carlo Bonelli had spent a long period in Africa serving communities afflicted by drought. Unlike Fr Gabriel who had served in Zimbabwe Fr Carlo’s challenges came during his ten years in Kenya. In the time of greatest need in both countries the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development came as an answer to prayer to provide food and hope to communities on the brink of starvation.
The delight of the two priests at being able to make contact with CAFOD was as nothing to the joy of the CAFOD team who met them and talked to them. The enthusiasm with which the two men gave their thanks brought home – as no written account or sound recording could – the saving impact which CAFOD had made those thousands of miles away on tens of thousands of lives. The pity of it was that not all the hundreds of thousands of CAFOD supporters in England and Wales could have seen and heard them speak of the speed and efficacy of the CAFOD response which their generosity had made possible.
The work of CAFOD started as a provider of emergency relief, channelling the donations of Catholics to help people survive disasters. This work goes on – for example in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan. But nowadays CAFOD also works extensively on long-term development projects, such as helping communities to get better access to food. It works with local partners to equip families with seeds and tools to grow new crops in changing climactic conditions.
The bishops of England and Wales have made CAFOD the Church’s official aid charity and back it by providing that there should be two fast days each year, in Lent and at harvest time. Fr Gabriel and Fr Carlo would tell all donors to CAFOD that they really are feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty.”
Just a quick reminder to all that Harvest Fast Day is taking place on Friday 3rd of October. Please could you arrange talks in your parish on the weekend of 27th and 28th of September. Collections are taking place on the 4th and 5th of October.