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

Holy Family School collects change to buy £600 of World Gifts

 

Holy Family, Leeds, Cafod, World Gifts.

The Fairtrade Group in action

Office staff at Holy Family School in Keighley were bemused to be presented with an order for processing that included a donkey, 2 pigeons, 3 vegetable gardens, 2 goats and a chicken breeding unit.

The Fairtrade Group in school had spent December 2015 collecting small change in order to donate £600 to CAFOD’s World Gifts. This scheme solves the problem of choosing a gift that is ultimately unwanted clutter and provides tremendous help to someone who can really benefit from it.

Farming is often the only means of survival for people living in poverty. But, for many, poor climate, lack of equipment, or no training makes even just growing enough food to survive impossible. The animals and vegetable gardens bought by the Fairtrade Group will offer long-term farming solutions for people in the most vulnerable communities.

James Moreland, leader of the Fairtrade Group said, “I was amazed at the response. I fully expected a few pounds from each Tutor Group for a bee hive or a couple of chickens but to be able to send £600 for a package that includes health kit, new business support and whole vegetable gardens is terrific. And it all comes from loose change that no-one really missed. It is a very simple way in to understanding how a little can go a long way in the developing world.”

CAFOD is the Holy Family’s development partner and many fundraising events are organised throughout the school year to raise vital funds.

Have a look at the Resources for Schools to fundraise for World Gifts or contact Joanne Taylor on 0113 275 9302.