19th May St Urban’s Headingley Creation Mass

Today in the volunteering centre we were visited by Father Gerard, Parish Priest at St Urbans church in Headingley, Leeds. We helped Fr Gerard prepare for the upcoming creation mass on the 19th of May at St Urbans. We had a look at the Creation Mass Organiser’s Guide with Fr Gerard, it has ideas about the hymns, prayers and readings which reflect on protecting God’s creation.

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As a communications volunteer for CAFOD, I am very interested in this because I have never seen a creation mass before and hope to come along. It would be great to meet other volunteers especially from other parishes who will hopefully be inspired to do this in their own church communities.

So, if you are a parish volunteer, and like me, you would like to see what a creation mass is all about please come along and join us at this creation mass celebration on Sunday the 19th of May at 10:30am and afterwards for refreshments and discussions about climate change. There will also be a opportunity to sign a petition to ask the UK government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to ‘net zero’ by 2045.

“We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.”

Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ #14


To organise your Creation Celebration, just follow these three steps:

>Step 1: Hold a Creation Mass to give special thanks for the gift of creation and pray for our common home

>Step 2: Fill in a petition to the Prime Minister calling for further, faster climate action

Step 3: Share food after your Mass and get your community talking about how we should respond to the climate crisis


For more information contact leeds@cafod.org.uk or call 0113 275 9302 to discuss your Creation Mass ideas with Bronagh

Philippines priest travels to Leeds to thank CAFOD supporters

          Fr Edu1         Fr Edu2

Fr Edwin Gariguez, a Filipino priest, CAFOD partner and environmental activist, delivered an inspiring talk to CAFOD supporters at Leeds cathedral last week.

A prayer inspired by Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Si’, opened the talk and set the scene for an evening focused on “care for our common home”.

Fr Edwin then spoke of the environmental situation in the Philippines and the many threats that the country must face as a result of climate change. Asia holds around 60% of the world’s population; it also holds the poorest of people. Fr Edwin emphasised the injustice of the situation; people living in poverty contribute the least to climate change, yet they are affected the most. He stated that environmental disasters unfairly punish the vulnerable.

Poverty and climate change are linked and we must do all we can to address the key issue for our generation. The main threats to the Philippines are instances of extreme weather, such as cyclones and typhoons. Shockingly, Fr Edwin revealed that three cyclones were headed towards the Philippines as he spoke!

Following the devastating Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, Fr Edwin worked closely with the Filipino people and experienced the destruction first-hand. Fr Edwin told us the official statistics, however his personal stories and photographs from directly after the typhoon, were what truly conveyed the magnitude of the disaster.

Fr Edwin is a key member of NASSA (Caritas Philippines), CAFOD’s equivalent agency in the Philippines, and so both organisations have worked extensively with each other, especially after Typhoon Haiyan. As a result of CAFOD’s campaigning and the fundraising efforts across Britain, over £3 million has been raised to help the people of the Philippines. Fr Edwin expressed his gratitude to the Leeds diocese, this fantastic amount will go towards giving people living in poverty a better life.

In addition to giving thanks, Fr Edwin spoke of some of his other environmental activism. In the 1990s, a mining corporation threatened to destroy the indigenous Filipino’s way of life, as well as pollute the local area, by opening a nickel mine. The area was the ancestral home of the Mindoro people but corporate land-grabbing was set to ruin it forevermore; Fr Edwin people realised that he must act.

Mass protesting and activism, teamed with an eleven day hunger strike, meant that the governments had to listen- the planned mine was cancelled and pollution prevented. For his efforts, Fr Edwin was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize, a significant honour for an individual committed to helping others. In Fr Edwin’s own words, “Protecting the rights of the poor takes precedence over corporate greed.”

To close the evening, Fr Edwin spoke of the Filipino resiliency; their admirable ability to bounce back and remain strong when faced with adversity. He put this down to their faith and the belief that God will always help; hope is never in short supply. He also encouraged everyone to tackle climate change following Laudato Si’; Pope Francis’ message was reiterated heavily throughout the evening: we cannot afford to be apathetic, we must work together and take real action.

Fr Edwin left us with a quote: “It is better to take less, than to give more.” A powerful and relevant message from a truly inspirational figure.

Fr Edu3

Luke Hudson