Say hello to Christine and Martin, St John Mary Vianney Parish CAFOD volunteers

Did you know that there are 103 churches in the Diocese of Leeds?

And, did you know that in nearly 40 of those churches there is a CAFOD local volunteer or CAFOD group of volunteers who help with prayer, campaigning and fundraising activities throughout the year?

The work of CAFOD here in the Diocese of Leeds is made possible because of all these amazing volunteers and the people who help them. There are 100s of people helping to make ‘Family Fast Day’ a success at Lent and also at Harvest, and they work closely with their local communities and parish Priest. They also help parish communities with their LIVE SIMPLY award, creation celebrations, Fairtrade stalls, Children’s Liturgy, World Gifts and many more initiatives.

Every parish is different, and every parish volunteer is different. Some parishes love to campaign for social justice. Some parishes love to fundraise at Harvest and Lent Family Fast Days. And some parishes love to put their faith into action in practical ways through walks, talks and acts of kindness. And, some parishes do a whole mix of those things.

Maybe you know someone who would like to be a CAFOD Parish volunteer?

You could let them know that a few hours a month can make a massive difference.

Maybe you could be a Parish Volunteer? You could help with sharing prayers, children’s liturgy resources, phoning friends to ask for help share updates on social action, attending online meetings, sharing stories and many other ways to stay connected in these very uncertain times.

We would like to introduce you to some of our local CAFOD volunteers over the next few weeks, especially at a time when our church doors are temporarily closed for worship.

This week, we meet Christine and Martin, who are Parish volunteers at St John Mary Vianney parish. There are two churches in this parish namely St Pauls in Moor Allerton and Immaculate Heart inn Chapel Allerton.

Give them a wave! Maybe you could be a Parish Volunteer like Christine or Martin.

Here is some more information about what is involved in being a Parish Volunteer.

Have you been inspired by Christine and Martin? Would you like to tell us about your local parish and how you help out to promote CAFOD?

Get in touch, your story will inspire other leeds@cafod.org.uk

2019: A look-back and message of thanks

We started 2019 by waving our gap year volunteer, Madeline, off on her trip to Uganda with messages of support and solidarity from supporters and volunteers from across the diocese.madeline in ufganda

 

In the run up to our Lent 2019 Fast Day appeal, we met with supporters and volunteers at two Inter-generational days in Bingley and Skipton

 

We welcomed our newly appointed Director, Christine Allen, to our Diocese Lenten Lookback on the 5th April, as we looked through posters, leaflets and resources from the 1960s up to recent years and chatted with volunteers who have supported CAFOD for over 40 years.Lenten Lookback

 

Our school volunteers continued to visit local Catholic primary and secondary schools, and we held our first CAFOD Children’s Liturgy meeting in May, with two liturgists saying they would like to train as new school volunteers.

Children from local schools and parishes met with CAFOD’s DRC Country Rep to hear about how Climate Change is having an impact on livelihoods in some of the poorest communities and we talked about what we can do to support with fundraising, prayer and campaigning.

 

As the summer approached we ramped up our campaigning spirit and lobbied 100s of MPs at the Mass Lobby of parliament in June and our CPC, Bronagh Daly, wrapped local MP Alex Sobel up in a ‘The Time is Now’ banner whilst asking what he will do to make sure our country reduces carbon emissions to net Zero by 2045. Alex Sobel with Gappers June Mass Lobby

 

Moving on towards late summer and harvest, many parishes and schools across the Diocese continued to arrange Creation Masses and signed petitions for more action on Net Zero from government. Across the Bradford Deanery plans were under way to host a week of celebrations and conversations on Climate Change

 

As Madeline’s gap year came to a close, she gave us an insight into her year as a volunteer with CAFOD and how much her trip to Uganda had changed her view on social action and how we can all play our part in the fight for equality.

1800 children attended workshops and assemblies across the diocese led by our local CAFOD school volunteers hearing about water projects in Uganda over the Harvest period, THANK YOU so much to all the schools who prayed, campaigned and fundraised so families living in the world’s poorest communities can flourish.

 

And so, we arrive at Advent, a time when we reflect on the nativity story, and remember this is a time for giving. A time to stretch out the hand to the stranger, offer food to the hungry and shelter to those in need of care.

On behalf of all the CAFOD supporters, staff and volunteers here in the Diocese of Leeds we would like to thank you for all your prayers, your many 100s of hours of volunteering and offers of support wish you a very happy and peaceful Christmas

Our Volunteer center will be open again on Monday the 6th January 2020 so please get in touch if you would like to find out more about volunteering for CAFOD.

Patrick and Bronagh tell Sainsbury’s “Don’t ditch Fairtrade”

Patrick Chabviaka is a volunteer with CAFOD and is trying to reach as many parishes and schools to engage in CAFOD camping actions including ‘Power to Be’ and ‘Live Simply’

This morning Patrick took action and downloaded the letter to give to his local Sainsbury Store Manager saying he was really unhappy that they have decided to ditch the Fairtrade certification on their popular Red label and Gold Label tea products. (Link to the letter to download here)

FairTrade Patrick letter

Patrick Chabviaka: Wrtiting to Sainsbury’s asking them not to ditch Fairtrade

 

Patrick said, “I am really worried about this, the communities I have seen to benefit from Fairtrade will be badly effected by this decision. I am going into my local Sainsbury’s this afternoon to let them know how I feel and that they should reconsider.”

Sainsbury’s is the largest retailer of Fairtrade products in the UK. They’ve decided to abandon Fairtrade certification on some of their own-brand tea products and pilot their own scheme instead, known as ‘Fairly Traded’.

Tea farmers in Africa have publicly opposed the move away from the Fairtrade Mark as it takes away their power to decide where to invest the Fairtrade Premium in their communities. We are concerned that this new ‘Fairly Traded’ tea, and any products that follow it, could mean an unfair deal for poor farmers.

Bronagh was inspired to do likewise, “Patrick is such a good campaign volunteer, he has encourage so many people in parishes across the Diocese of Leeds to take part in actions that collectively will make a big difference. I will be handing my local Sainsbury’s store Manager a letter this afternoon too. If you want to organise a group action but you’re not really sure where to begin, you can find an organiser’s guide, Fairtrade mug props, fliers and even a template press release on the Don’t Ditch Fairtrade website and let us know what you get up to by sending a tweet to @CAFODLeeds

Fairtrade tea pots

Campaigners outside the Sainsbury’s AGM have a clear message: Don’t ditch Fairtrade on its own-brand tea.

For more information, click here

Please let us know if you have downloaded the letter and handed it to your local Sainsbury’s Store Manager leeds@cafod.org.uk (0113) 275 9302