Volunteers who are “Living doors of Mercy” both in Zimbabwe and in London.

Harrow on the Hill CAFOD meeting 2

CAFOD Volunteers from Parishes in the Brent and Harrow Deaneries.

CAFOD volunteers from parishes in the Brent and Harrow Deaneries, gathered this week to hear CAFOD member of staff Susan Kambalu talk about CAFOD’s work in Zimbabwe.

Susan gave a personal account of inspiring CAFOD partners and volunteers and their work in Zimbabwe.

This included details of our work:

  • The building of a protected borehole and irrigation scheme, in Mutare Diocese, which now provides local people with clean water all year round. It has not only given them a clean, safe source of water, but they have been able to water their crops, insuring they have a harvest, even in times of drought. The community have also been trained to maintain the boreholes themselves.
IMG_6026

Nhamo, from CAFOD partner Caritas Mutare, next to the irrigation pool, which then fills 80 small pools over 10 hectares.

  • Providing vital assistance to support groups for people living with HIV and AIDS, through campaigning and lobbying on their behalf, skills and equipment to boost income, nutrition tips and healthy behaviour advice
  • Offering support to children affected by HIV, ensuring their voices are heard at local and national levels, and ensuring access to essential education and healthcare services
  • Repair and construction of water and sanitation facilities
  • Hygiene education in communities and schools

CAFOD’s local representative Tony Sheen also introduced some parish volunteer resources. These included:

  1. Year of Mercy Lampedusa Cross liturgy and action.

I am sure you will remember the boat carrying 500 refugees from Eritrea and Somalia which capsized near the Island of Lampedusa where 349 people died. Francesco Tuccio, a Sicilian, carpenter carved crosses from the wreckage of a boat that sank off Lampedusa and offered the crosses to survivors as a symbol of their rescue and a sign of hope. One of his crosses was recently carried through the great Door of Mercy at St Peter’s basilica.

Cross on own

The Lampedusa Cross

CAFOD has produced a short Lampedusa Cross liturgy and action related to the year of Mercy and welcoming the stranger. The liturgy can be used in a church setting or on a short pilgrimage. It has seven short reflections by refugees, together with quotes from scripture and Pope Francis.  You can download or order the free pilgrimage materials, via our web page. Click here:  Year of Mercy

CAFOD has also produced a Card for supporters to complete as part of the pilgrimage or as a separate act of solidarity. We’re inviting parishioners to write or draw a message of hope which we will share with refugees. You can order sets of CAFOD’s Lampedusa Cross Cards here: Lampedusa Cross Cards

Perhaps you could be involved in running a CAFOD Lampedusa Cross liturgy and or card signing action here in your Parish as part of the year of Mercy?

Harrow 2

Parishioners from Our Lady & St Thomas of Canterbury, Harrow.

  1. Making your Parish Fairtrade.

CAFOD and the Justice and Peace commission are attempting to make Westminster Diocese Fairtrade. In order to achieve this we need only 16 more Parishes in the Diocese to apply for Fairtrade status.

It is quite simple for a Parish to apply.

It involves a commitment for your parish to have Fairtrade refreshments such as tea and coffee available at Parish meetings and to hold one event per year promoting Fairtrade in your Parish.

Pope Francis’ recently posted this message in support of small farmers this week on the Vatican website encourages us in our work to promote Fairtrade, (click here for his message)

When we buy products with the FAIRTRADE Mark, we support farmers and workers in the developing world as they work to improve their lives and their communities. The Mark means that the Fairtrade ingredients in the product have been produced by small-scale farmer organisations or plantations that meet Fairtrade social, economic and environmental standards. The standards include protection of workers’ rights and the environment, payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and an additional Fairtrade Premium to invest in business or community projects.

Further details and an application from are downloadable here: Fairtrade Parish

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