We’ve completed Walk for Water 2021!

Words by Imogen

Sunday 28th March marked the completion of CAFOD’s 40 days of Walking for Water, that is 400,000 steps since Ash Wednesday (17th February 2021). It’s been tough, enlightening and wholesome, and by far my favourite Lent so far. On the 13th February, I jumped on a Zoom call and met three other wonderful ladies who had decided to embark on the same journey – Bronagh, Rosalia and Kathie. Then over the course of 40 days we’ve sent each other photos, motivational quotes and humble reflections. They’ve helped make this meaningful time all the more enjoyable.

Rosalia has lived in Burley for 11 years with her husband and three sons, and has raised a brilliant £525. Due to the busy everyday lives of having three sons doing dancing, football and singing with the Leeds Cathedral choir, the pandemic and Walk for Water became an opportunity for Rosalia and her husband to explore every nook and cranny of Burley. Throughout the 40 days Rosalia has put really thoughtful reflections in our Whatsapp group about how eye opening this experience has been.

                ‘’This has definitely been the most thought-provoking Lent I’ve taken part in.’’

Rosalia admiring a deserted golf course.

Below are a couple of my favourite photos that Rosalia has taken on her walks. It’s been so lovely to not only see how the walks are impacting others but to also get a glimpse of the world through their eyes as we walk for the same cause.

The same goes for the wonderful Kathie, her husband and their cute dog Noodles who have lived in Bramhope for 8 years. Their long walks for Walk for Water and the pandemic have meant that Kathie and her family now know each and every path by heart. When reflecting on the journey her and her family have taken over the 40 days, you could really see how grounding they’d found the experience.

  ‘’I’ve begun noticing the scenes around us in different lights and appreciating the tranquillity of the colour of nature and the beautiful birdsongs. It’s impacted who I am in the day and has reminded me of what really matters. I feel so appreciative of the simplicity of life, it was almost like a curtain lifting and now I can see beyond this daily bubble that we’re in. It’s made me feel more grateful to God for his help and what he’s gifted us.’’

Kathie and her very cute dog, Noodles.

Kathie has raised a fantastic £546, and below are a couple of my favourite snapshots from her travels. How cute are those lambs!

For the lovely Bronagh, Walk for Water has helped her and her family to also appreciate simplicity, particularly at a time when the media wants people to be more materialistic to increase happiness. However, friendship is more important and even Bronagh’s kids talk about Abdella in Ethiopa, every day on their walks, discussing the struggles he has to endure to access water.

                ‘’Whenever anyone asks where we’re off to my kids always say ‘oooh we’re walking for water’!’’

Bronagh outside her church.

From very early on in the walk Bronagh reflected on how grateful and amazing it is to have so many sources of water so nearby for us in Yorkshire, you don’t have to travel far at all to find a puddle, a beck or a river. Abdella on the other hand has to travel for hours on end for access to a puddle that is also being shared with other communities and the animals nearby.

                ‘’I’ve realised that I’m really spiritual and that these walks have almost felt like pilgrimages, which is really cathartic.’’

Bronagh and her family have raised an amazing £1210! When choosing my favourite photos that Bronagh has sent over the walk, it wasn’t tricky to pick this wonderful postbox with a hat. So stylish.

The last 40 days have meant a lot for me. I chose to take part because I thought it would be a way for me to help make a difference, safely. Little did I know that not only would I meet a sweet group of ladies but I’d also finish the challenge with a refreshing new outtake on our world and my life.

Me, Imogen, holding my sign to count the days of walking.

I’ve really enjoyed trying to notice the small, beautiful things that make our beautiful environment. In particular the ‘Burley Banksy’ objects with painted electrical boxes, and signposts that made my walks more colourful.  I was very aware that Abdella is probably so at peace with his environment, as he must take the same route day after day. Due to this, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just absent-mindedly walking but taking notice of all the surroundings and being really in touch with how each 10,000 steps has made me feel day after day.

Also, because I am in my first year of university, I noticed how tricky it is to do so much walking and still have enough energy for the rest of the day. It becomes very apparent that people like Abdella would really struggle helping their family to survive whilst trying to have a life of his­­ own.

I of course couldn’t finish this blog without first showing you my favourite images from my own camera roll. Meet Steve the Dinosaur.

So, after 40 days of sporadic weather, sore feet, and blossoming daffodils, we’ve been left with a beautiful view of life and a grateful attitude. It’s been so lovely to see Walk for Water bring the community together, not only with people taking part but with donations and so many people sharing the message of helping others.

‘’It’s amazing how one small decision to take part in this event has led to so many bigger and wonderful outcomes.’’

4th April 2021 Easter Sunday LIVE Children’s Liturgy

This Easter Sunday, 10am Sunday 4th April an invitation has been extended to all families across the Diocese of Leeds to join your local CAFOD in Leeds worker Bronagh, as she shows us how to make an Easter Garden.

Join families in song, prayer and craft this Easter Sunday 10am, register you place by clicking this registration link

While we cannot gather in person, we can still come together as a community through prayer. Join us online at 10am GMT on Sunday for a virtual children’s liturgy of the word. We will share a Bible reading, song, reflection and prayer.

If you would like to volunteer as a family presenting on the the local LIVE Children’s liturgy session, get in touch with your local CAFOD worker, Bronagh Daly leeds@cafod.org.uk

Click below to join the Easter Children’s Liturgy LIVE

https://www.bigmarker.com/series/cafod-children-s-liturgy/series_summit

A ‘virtual’ CAFOD assembly with over 1000 pupils from Bishop Konstant Academy Trust

Over 1000, pupils and teaching staff from schools in the Bishop Konstant Academy Trust joined a very special ‘virtual’ assembly online with CAFOD volunteer Aileen this morning.

We asked local CAFOD volunteer Aileen what it was like presenting to so many children this morning “It was wonderful. If you asked me a year ago, I would not think for a moment I would have presented a ‘virtual’ CAFOD assembly to over 1000 children in KS1 and KS2. This morning, thanks to our new skills using the online learning technology, we have been able to connect and talk about CAFOD’s walk for water appeal to support families facing water poverty in Ethiopia and other parts of the world”

Aileen has been volunteering all throughout lockdown, helping to promote the work of CAFOD in schools across the Diocese. On the ‘virtual’ assembly there were children, staff and representatives joining from Catholic Primary schools in the trust from Wakefield, Pontefract, Selby, Ossett, Hemsworth, Garforth, Normanton and Castleford.

Local CAFOD worker Bronagh said “It was wonderful to hear all the voices of the children and to see them answering Aileen’s questions about the presentation on water poverty. There has been a long tradition of support for CAFOD at Lent with many of the schools taking part in the assembly, and it is amazing to see so many staff and children keen to hear more about how they can get involved with CAFOD. It really is great to have the support from all the staff to make this amazing assembly happen this morning”

The virtual assembly was advertised across the trust, and project managed by Mr Flood, Executive Head for St Benedict’s and St John the Baptist schools. Mr Flood reflects on the positive impact of the two interactive sessions, “This has been a great opportunity for us to come together as schools in the trust, and to embrace the online technology that allows us to come together for a very special assembly like this with CAFOD volunteer, Aileen. We have heard from the teachers that the children really enjoyed hearing Abdella’s story and that some of our classes are asking lots of questions about the film and the presentation. We are thankful that Aileen has given her time as a volunteer and that inspires us to think about how we can all play a part in CAFOD, through prayer, volunteering or fundraising.”

If you have been inspired by this story, get in touch leeds@cafod.org.uk

Click this link for more details about volunteering with CAFOD

Have you been inspired to get involved with the walk for water this Lent? Let us know leeds@cafod.org.uk