Madeline looks back on her Gap year with CAFOD

We’re now in the last month of my year on CAFOD’s Step into the Gap Programme, and what a year it’s been! From school visits to vegetable quizzes, prayer breakfasts in Leeds to sitting around a fire in Moroto, Uganda, not many can claim that their last year has been so varied!

Madeline Woods with Nicole, Clementina in Uganda

Nicole, Clementina and myself. Clementina is a midwife in a health centre which is supported by CAFOD in Moroto, Uganda. She gives everything she can to her community without a second thought, including ripping up her own bedsheets to make baby blankets!

I have had so many opportunities this year that I never would have had otherwise. My trip to Uganda is the obvious big one, and the things I saw, experienced and learned on that trip will undoubtedly stay with me for the rest of my life. I have been on BBC Radio Leeds 3 times, something which this time last year would have been unimaginable. I have stood in front of a room of 180 Year 7s and spoken about CAFOD without so much as a quiver in my voice, which again, a year ago, would have had me a nervous wreck. I’ve met so many incredible people through CAFOD and through my placement at Leeds Trinity University, and am certain that I have made friends for life. My office at my placement is right next to a beautiful Chapel, too, meaning that whenever I fancy, I can pop in and take some time to sit in the quiet. My faith has developed so much from this, from having conversations with the Chaplaincy team and experiencing retreat opportunities like Youth 2000, and I am going to be leaving this role a more well-rounded and confident person.

Madeline Woods with LTU hannah and Sisters thumbs up and recycle coffee cups

Myself, Hannah (the Chaplain at Leeds Trinity), Sister Catherine Mary and Sister Thérèse at Tea on the Landing, celebrating the launch of our recyclable cups and adding our thumbs-ups to the banner for the Climate Change Lobby on June 26th.

I would like to think that I’m not the only person who has benefitted from my year as a CAFOD Gapper, as I have spoken to many people about the work that CAFOD do and what they can do to make their world a better place – with a month left to go, the official number of people I have spoken to about CAFOD is at over 1,000!

 

I’ll take this opportunity to thank everyone I have met throughout the last year. Leeds Trinity University Chaplaincy, everyone at Trinity, my fellow gappers, CAFOD Leeds, broader CAFOD staff and volunteers… the list goes on!

 

On to the next adventure…

Click the link if you would like to know more about CAFOD’s gap year programme Step into the Gap or call (0113) 275 9302 to speak to Bronagh.

18th May Holy Name, Leeds: Climate Conversation

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Madeline Woods is a ‘Step into the Gap’ volunteer for CAFOD and this weekend she will be helping the Live Simply’ group from the parish of Our Lady of Kirkstal, to host a Climate Conversation and activities, at Holy Name Church Hall, Cookridge from 2pm – 4pm.

The Live Simply group have invited Alex Sobel MP to meet children from the local catholic primary and secondary schools as well as members of the cubs, scouts and brownies groups. Families who attend the Children’s Liturgy sessions in all three churches in the parishes have also been invited. There will be organised activities for all ages, and a discussion about how we can all act to make our daily lives less damaging to the planet.

The event is targeted at those under the age of 15 and their families who would like to know more about how they can get involved to shape communities of the future, with lowered carbon emissions, sustainable renewable energy and reduced burden on our planet’s natural resources. gappers car uganda

Madeline has recently returned from a CAFOD trip to Uganda and is keen to share her stories from her visit with the young people who will be attending.

 

“At this event, we will have an inter-generational discussion about how we can all act on climate change, both as individuals and collectively as a parish. Every effort we make to reduce our carbon emissions will have a positive impact for those living in the world’s poorest countries, who often feel the impact of climate change the worst.”

If you would like to attend, please email hnoffice.ourladyofkirkstall@dioceseofleeds.org.uk so we know how many people to expect.

What: Climate Conversation
Who: Alex Sobel MP Leeds North, Madeline Woods (CAFOD Gap Year Volunteer), Our lady of Kirkstal Live Simply group and parish members up to the age of 15 and their families.
Where: Holy Name Church Hall, 52 Otley Old Rd, Leeds LS16 6HW
When: Saturday 18th May, 2pm – 4pm
Why: To challenge and change the systems and structures that cause climate change, and poverty

If you are not able to attend, you can join St Urban’s parishioners on Sunday 19th May for their Creation Celebration, with guest speaker Bernard Balibuno CAFOD’s Country Representative for the Democratic Republic of Congo who will share updates on how our support to communities facing the impact of climate change makes a real difference. For more information about St Urban’s Creation Celebration please click here.

If you would like to know more about how you and your school or parish can get involved with CAFOD’s Our Common Home campaign click here.

 

Harrogate St Aelred’s Celebrate Creation with prayer, discussion and action

The parishioners of St Aelred’s church in Harrogate, with the support of their CAFOD group members, celebrated creation at their ‘Creation Celebration’ mass on Sunday 12th May.

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The church was decorated with images of flowers, butterflies, birds and insects and prayers and drawings adorned every pew in the building. It was a sight to see so much wonderful artwork on display from the children in the local primary school of the parish.

Bernadette Brodrick, on behalf of the CAFOD group invited me to their church originally to speak to the congregation about the new parish initiative ‘Hands On: Colombia’, and it was wonderful to hear that my visit was to be combined with a Creation Celebration mass.

I was also invited to visit the children’s liturgy group where the children used the prayers from the Creation Celebration mass and discussed ways we could all become Zero Heroes in our own homes and communities.

Salvador at St Aelred's Church

Young people from St Aelred’s using the grace dice to talk about Climate Change 

Everyone who attended the mass was encouraged to come along to the refreshments and short talk, climate quiz afterwards and sign the petition to ask the Prime Minister to do more to lower harmful carbon emissions by 2045. Parishioners used the grace dice as they enjoyed their food and discussed ideas about Climate Change, a younger members of the parish helped with the dice and petition signing.

The children and families at St Aelred’s were really keen to make sure, as a parish they get behind the Zero Hero initiative with the children, and also have pledged to do more to tackle Climate Change.

A member of the parish brought along fresh flowers from her garden to decorate the hall and also teach the children to make button holes and posies, a wonderful idea to reduce air miles of cut flowers bought from the supermarket.

If you would like to host a Creation Celebration in your parish, download your Leader’s Guide and let us know when it is, we would love to hear about it.

You can send your pictures to leeds@cafod.org.uk so we can share them on social media to encourage other parishes to get involved.

The next Creation Celebration mass will be held at St Urban’s Church, Headingley on Sunday 19th May