CAFOD statement on escalating violence between Israel and Gaza

The violence in the West Bank and Gaza including East Jerusalem is deeply disturbing and must be brought to a halt before it spirals out of control and more lives are lost.  Continued escalation only harms the most vulnerable people. There is an urgent need for responsible leadership ready to work for justice and peace for Palestinians and Israelis creating an alternative to this cycle of violence that divides and kills.

The latest violence was triggered by weeks of tension and clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians regarding a renewed spate of threatened evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem to make way for Israeli settlers claiming ownership as well as protesting restricted access to the Haram al-Sharif (or Temple Mount) during the holy month of Ramadan.  Hamas reportedly retaliated by sending rockets from Gaza into Israel with reports saying that 5 Israelis killed and Israeli airstrikes in response have killed 35 Palestinians including 10 children.

Let us pray for the people impacted by conflict in Gaza and Israel

Palestinians had been protesting the imminent eviction of eight Palestinian families (around 87 people including 28 children) from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah which Israeli police responded to with extreme violence. The right to a home is a fundamental human right and it is a question of justice for inhabitants of the city to live, pray and work there with dignity.

CAFOD opposes the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes which is a violation of international law. We call for an immediate cessation of all violence.

Pope Francis has joined calls for an end to the cycle of violence, saying:

“I pray that the city might be a place of encounter and not of violent clashes, a place of prayer and peace… I invite everyone to seek shared solutions, so that the multi-religious and multi-cultural identity of the Holy City might be respected, and that fraternity might prevail.”

A statement by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, said: 

“The historic position of the Churches in Jerusalem is clear with regard to our denouncement of any attempt which makes Jerusalem an exclusive city for anyone. This is a city sacred to the three monotheistic religions and, based on international law and relevant UN resolutions, also a city where the Palestinian people, Christians, and Muslims, have the same right to build a future based on freedom, equality and peace.” 

CAFOD believes that the only way out of the cycle of violence and for Israelis and Palestinians to be truly secure, is to revive hope for a just Israeli-Palestinian peace process, aimed at creating the conditions for a stable peace based on justice, where all must be treated equally.

More information can be found on the CAFOD website

Sunday 9th May 6pm: Rising with the Spirit: A call to action

Join our next online event this Sunday evening as we journey to Pentecost during an online event called Rising with the Spirit: A call to action takes place on Sunday 9th May at 6PM

Book your place here: Rising with the Spirit: A call to action

This online event is open to everyone across the North East region of CAFOD; Hexham & Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Leeds, Hallam and Nottingham dioceses.  

With Pentecost approaching (Sunday 23rd May) and the Spirit of the season moving us to act, it is an opportunity for you to engage with our campaigning work. We will use the format of the Pastoral Cycle - See, Judge and Act, to discuss how the season of Pentecost inspires action: 

Rising with the Spirit: A call to action Sunday 9th May 2021 (online)
  • We have seen how the lives of Abdella and many others are affected by water poverty. 
  • We will reflect on and judge why they are suffering, and how our faith guides us to work to change that.
  • We will recognise where we can take action and inspire others to join us in our Reclaim our Common Home campaign, especially as the UK prepares to host the G7 summit in June and COP26 in November.

We invite you along whether you have been campaigning with us for 20 years, whether you only joined CAFOD for the Walk for Water, or whether you have never campaigned before and would simply like to know more!

BOOK HERE to join us online at 6pm on Sunday 9th May 2021 as we continue our journey in faith together

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.’’