Inspired by our Gapper’s trip to El Salvador

Bronagh Daly, Community Participation Coordinator at Leeds CAFOD reflects on an inspirational talk from Gap year volunteer Sophie Aulton.

“We gathered together for a talk and shared lunch today to hear all about Sophie’s trip to El Salvador with CAFOD earlier in the year as part of the ‘Step into the Gap’ programme.

el sal lunch sophie“I introduced Sophie to the audience, reflecting on how my faith has grown through Sophie being around. Her curiosity, enthusiasm, hard work and humility has impressed and inspired not only me, but everyone who has the pleasure of meeting Sophie.

“Our new office volunteer (who Sophie helped to recruit) led us in a prayer and Sophie began her talk.

“We were joined by parish and school volunteers, a volunteer area coordinator , a CAFOD Programme Manager and campaigns volunteers. It was another full house at the CAFOD volunteer centre, all interested to hear how CAFOD money, resources and skills are utilised in El Salvador. Sophie shared an informative, inspiring and fast paced overview of 6 projects she visited, how the work is developed with local community groups and tackling issues including gang violence, gender equality, finance, farming, livelihoods and nutrition.

sophie talk el salv“Sophie shared a humorous overview of her struggles with the language barrier and how playing with young children broke down an awkward moment whilst the interpreter was elsewhere. Sophie shared with us precious moments she encountered with families who CAFOD projects have helped over the last decade.

“We heard about Sophie’s time with bee keepers, micro entrepreneurs, cheese-makers and community loans custodians, all thankful for the support CAFOD has given their communities to grow and prosper. If ever you wanted to be inspired to campaign, pray and act for equality this was the presentation to be at.

“After questions and answers about the impact of the STIG programme and comments from our Bolivia Programme Manager, Nikki Evans about shared learning we carried on our conversations over a shared lunch.

shared lunch“We love having shared lunches here at CAFOD, I am always excited to see what people bring. A parish volunteer who had travelled to EL Salvador several years ago share food and insight from his trip. Our new office volunteers got a change to meet with a wide range of volunteers and all in all I finished my week at the volunteer centre feeling renewed. I feel so blessed to work for CAFOD and to help parishes and schools respond to the cry of the poor. I am always reminded of the generosity of CAFOD volunteers and supporters and on behalf of Sophie, I would like to thank you all for the donations you have made today to help her with her fundraising target of £500 for CAFODs work with the worlds poorest children and their families.

If you would like to know more about becoming a volunteer in your local parish or school, click here or contact us (0113) 275 9302 or leeds@cafod.org.uk

Perhaps Sophie has inspired you to think about volunteering for a year on the ‘Step into the Gap’ programme, if so please read further to find out how you could get involved.

23rd March 2017: Invitation to’ The Secret of Romero’ talk in Sheffield

You are warmly invited to:

A talk  “The Secret of Romero: Passion for God and Compassion for the Poor” by Sister Martha Zechmeister C.J. on a UK tour sponsored by the Archbishop Romero Trust. St Marie’s Cathedral, Norfolk Row, Sheffield on Thursday 23 March 2017, 7pm – 9pm.

Evening prayer of the Church at 6.45pm

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Sister Martha Zechmeister C.J.

 

Sister Martha Zechmeister C. J. was born in 1956 in Austria; studied theology in Vienna; Professor of Fundamental Theology at University of Passau 1999-2008. Since 2008 Professor of Systematic Theology at the UCA (Central American University) in San Salvador and since 2012 director of the Master’s programme there. Responsible for ‘Dean Brackley House’ a residence for scholarship students from extremely poor areas. Main interests: Political Theology, Latin American liberation theology, Ignatian spirituality.

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We know that every effort to better society, especially when injustice and sin are ingrained, is an effort that God blesses, that God wants, that God demands of us.” Archbishop Oscar Romero, moments before he was martyred on 24th March 1980

This talk is promoted by the Hallam Justice and Peace Commission and CAFOD.

For more information please contact Helen Dolan, Chair of the Hallam Justice and Peace Commission helen.donlan@btinternet.com