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.

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

Skipton: St Stephen’s Parish prepare for Family Fast Day

Yesterday morning, Father Pat along with parishioners of St Stephen’s Catholic Church in Skipton welcomed Madeline Woods and Bronagh Daly to their Sunday mass to speak about CAFOD, assist with the children’s liturgy and also deliver a Family Fast Day briefing session after mass.

The gospel story on Sunday, told us of how the disciples had faith and trust in Jesus to cast their nets after many failed attempts, and as a result they hauled in a bountiful catch of fish. The children in the liturgy class at St Stephen’s shared with the congregation how they role-played spreading their nets and catching fish based on the gospel, with a catch of their own fish cut out from coloured paper, as well as learning about families in Bangladesh effected by climate change and who struggle to catch enough fish to eat.

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The children and their parents pledged to pray for families like Mahinur’s in Bangladesh, who will be the focus of the Family Fast Day appeal on Friday 15th March. 

CAFOD Parish Volunteer, Shelia Gregory, reflected on the day “The family friendly approach was just brilliant- reaching a different target audience as well as many more people than the usual briefings. Hopefully it will enthuse the next generation. Madeline is young, enthusiastic and so committed and was a great role model for us. Her trip to Uganda obviously affected her so much and her sharing her thoughts and feelings with us was very moving.”

lent fast day 2019

CAFOD’s ‘Step into the Gap’ volunteer Madeline spoke at the tea and coffee after mass to a gathering of parishioners, young families, CAFOD volunteer and supporters. “It was a great opportunity to share some of the experiences I have had recently in Uganda with communities who now have sustainable access to water and support with land rights. The people I met on Sunday at St Stephen’s were so welcoming and supportive and really interested to hear more about CAFOD’s work with partners in Uganda.”

Bronagh Daly, CAFOD representative for the Diocese said “It was lovely to meet so many young families who are praying for the people of Uganda and Bangladesh, as well as the many other communities CAFOD supports. It was great to spend time with young parents especially who are keen to support their children to put their faith into action and respond to the cry of the poor. I feel so energised after meeting with Brigid, Sinead and Jane and the rest of the families involved with the children’s liturgy group. I really look forward to meeting with them all again soon.”

 

If you would like Bronagh or Madeline to come along to your parish, please get in touch leeds@cafod.org.uk or call (0113) 275 9302

For more information about Family Fast Day prayer, campaign and fundraising resources please click here