Assumption CAFOD Group Auction of Promises

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The CAFOD group at the Assumption Church in Leeds (part of the parish of Our Lady of Kirkstall) held an Auction of Promises on April 26. We held it on a Sunday afternoon and combined it with Afternoon Tea – for which people paid a modest entry fee.

It was something that the group had never done before so we were a bit unsure and had many discussions (too many!) about how to handle different circumstances and aspects of the organisation of the event. Our hopes were that we could make £500 – £800 out of the event to support our Connect2El Salvador link with the communities in the area around Puentecitos.

We had a catalogue of 45 promises. They included all sorts of things from many different members of the church community and some people from the other two church communities that form part of the parish. Promises ranged from our church Ceilidh band offering to do a ceilidh for someone’s special occasion, through offers of IT or GCSE tuition to doing cleaning or ironing or making home made soup.

We were fortunate to have in our church community Peter Dowson who is a member of the Toastmasters Association. He agreed to act as Auctioneer for us and came suitably togged up in a very impressive outfit.

About 60 people turned up on the day.  There was a certain feverish atmosphere in the room as the auction started and when, quite early on, there was a bidding war over two hours of IT tuition (!) it became clear that this was probably going to turn out a bit differently to what we had expected. Peter was very efficient and the whole auction element was completed (all 45 promises) within 45 minutes. People were then able to relax over a cup of tea (or something stronger as the bar was open) along with a few sandwiches and cakes. Many people were unable to successfully bid for anything but the auction itself was fast-moving and entertaining in its own right. Many people remarked how much they had enjoyed the occasion and quite a few who were not able to bid successfully donated the money they would have paid for a promise.

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When all the successful bids were totted up, and the entry money (and donations) added in, the total for the whole event came to £2255 which was beyond the wildest expectations of anyone in the group.  Our thanks go to all who supported the event in so many different ways, and this in turn reflects the commitment of everyone in the Assumption church community to the work of of Cafod and to our link with Puentecitos1.

One victory in Sau Paulo that won’t make the news today

By guest editor Kieran Tildesley

Children playing football next to the Maua building

Children playing football next to the Maua building


England travel south to Sao Paulo to face Uruguay in their second group game, Brazil’s and South America’s largest City where around 18 million people live. Many of these 18 million people live in Favelas, otherwise known as shanty towns as they are unable to afford safe and secure housing.

The work of CAFOD and our partners within Sao Paulo has been crucial for many families living there. Stopping the eviction of 2,700 families across the city as well as giving 3,100 families access to housing support, sanitation, water and electricity has been part of the crucial work CAFOD is doing.

In the Mauá community, 237 families had been fighting to secure permanent housing after they had moved into, and renovated, the abandoned Mauá building in 2007. Although the Mauá building had been vacant for over 17 years due to the luxury hotel business it once was failing, previous owners were still able to push eviction orders in light of the current world cup.

However, through our Connect2 Brazil project, parishes in England and Wales have been following and supporting the Mauá community since 2010, and hundreds of campaigners signed a petition in summer 2012 which helped to fight off a previous eviction order. Thanks to this generous effort, this fight ended in victory after the Municipal government handed over £3 million in order to purchase the Mauá building.

Although this one fight was won, many more people within Sao Paulo are at risk of becoming homeless or have been evicted from their homes due to preparations for the world cup. In Sao Paulo alone, over 18,000 families were evicted from their homes in order to make way for the construction of the Arena de Sao Paulo, and the highway that links it to other parts of the city and further.

MDF, one of CAFOD’s partners has been working within favelas for over 30 years, and has expanded its operations from just 3 favelas to 40. In some favelas, MDF’s work has meant that things such as paving in the streets, sewage and electricity had been provided by the government, creating a better lifestyle for all residents of the favelas. MDF has further been able to gain some favelas residents the certificate of ownership for their properties, meaning that eviction from their homes is no longer the case.

Please Stand By Brazil by adding your name to our petition to support the rights of poor communities. We love football in the Leeds office but we don’t think it should be played at the expense of people living in poverty.

St Aelred’s Burns Night Raises £700 for CAFOD’s Connect2Ethiopia

St Aelred's Burns Night Dancing
On Friday 24th January, St Aelred’s CAFOD Group, Harrogate, held a traditional Burns Night Supper and raised £700 for CAFOD’s Connect2Ethiopia project.

Normally famous for their St Patrick’s night events, this year the CAFOD Group decided to mark year of the Scottish Independence Vote with a Burns Night Supper.

Over 80 people gathered in St Aelred’s church hall where Fr Jim, offered the Selkirk Grace after which the Haggis was piped in by musicians from our parish ceilidh band Rubarb Sandwich. The traditional toast to “The Haggis!” was given in a most convincing Scottish accent by the very English Magaret Miller.

Tim Bird, St Aelred’s very own Oxford literary scholar, provided the Immortal Memory to Robert Burns before Deacon David gave a humorous Toast to the Lassies (well he thought so anyway) which was matched by a response of equal levity by Margaret Atkinson.

Burns poetry was ably proclaimed by Marie Coyle and Lawrence Hughes while Helen Mailloux captivated the diners with heartfelt renditions of Burns’ melodies. The CAFOD Group prepared and served the food and the caller for the dancing was Helen Barker who worked alongside Master of Ceremonies and Director of the event, Tony Fennerty.

A great big thank you to the members of St Aelred’s parish who once again used their ‘talents to the full’ in aid of our partners in Africa!