Last year while celebrating CAFOD’s 50 years, supporters were asked ‘What lit your flame?’ Inviting people to share their stories, commenting on a person, event or experience that prompted them to support CAFOD.
In the North Wales office we thought we would share our stories too, so over this year we will be posting a series of blogs from staff and volunteers as they share why they work with CAFOD.
Sr Vianney Connolly, Office Volunteer:
Moving to a new parish in 1985 and finding they had a CAFOD partnership with Brazil. My heart was stirred by the literature I picked up in the porch of the Blessed Sacrament Church, Connah’s Quay. A steady but small flame glowed until a new parish priest in 1987 arrived and set up a CAFOD group. Lots of activities followed and friendships formed. An opportunity came in 1988 to work at the Peace and Justice Centre, Wrexham, with lovely La Sainte Union Sisters. 21 happy, fruitful years followed- a stronger brighter flame burned. As Cardinal Hume said: “CAFOD is a conspiracy of love“.
Anne Fegan, Diocesan Officer:
The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate are a religious order of priests and brothers who work in over 70 countries throughout the world. They care for the most abandoned of peoples, and go to the remotest places, where few people dare to venture. They have several parishes in the UK also, and have been serving in my home parish of St Mary’s Star of the Sea, in Leith for 150 years. It was here that my flame was lit.
As a child I used to listen to the priests talk about ‘the missions’ in Africa and beyond. Several times in the year they would give appeals, speaking of the street children, the abandoned, and the many people who were living in poverty and on the margins of society. In 2011 I travelled out with a small group to one of the missions in Zimbabwe, where I was able to see first hand the great work that these priests do. We visited a paediatric malnutrition unit sponsored by the Oblates, which is located in one of the poorest areas in Zimbabwe, and gives emergency life saving treatment to babies and young children who would otherwise have died of hunger. During this trip I was amazed by the hope that the Oblate priests and brothers bring to situations of and places where there is so much despair. They do not just talk about the Gospels, they live them too, and that for me has been my greatest inspiration.
Check out our blog again soon for more stories, and events over the year.