24/03/2014 Day 19 of Lenten Challenge

It helps now and then to step back, and take the long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work .

Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.

No prayer fully expresses our faith.

No confession brings perfection, no pastoral visit brings wholeness.

No programme accomplishes the Church’s mission.

That is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.

We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further develioment.

We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.


We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realising that.

This enables us to do something, and to do it well.

It may be incomplete but ut us a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.


We are the workers, not the master builders, ministers, not messiahs.

We are the prophets of a future not of our own. Amem
Archbishop Oscar Romero

Oscar Romero

23/03/2014 Day 18 of Lenten Challenge

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face… Do the thing you think you cannot do.”

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)

Former First Lady of the United States and Political Leader

Taking yourself out of your comfort zones is hard, and yet, as the quote states, we gain so much from it.

On Sunday morning a small group of ‘CAFOD Belles on Bikes’ set off,  invited to join Sustrans (http://www.sustrans.org.uk/wales) volunteers for a bike ride along the canal from Chirk to Llangollen. A great opportunity to reconnect with the lovely country side, in mainly bright weather with just a short shower of rain and hail.

For some of us it was a huge challenge to get back on the bike after many years. But encourage by the very skilled volunteers Ani and Pam from Sustrans, and as a sign of solidarity for women all over the world, who face incredible challenges every day, we pushed on. Anne Elwood had not been on a bike for over 28 years, but completed the 16 miles bike ride with laughter and encouragement of the female only group. Afterwards she said: “I feel this is my little contribution to make this world a better place. But also it will now get me back on the bike in the future”. Sustran kindly allowed us to use this bike ride as a fundraising opportunity for some of our women’s projects. We chose some from the world gift catalogue World Gifts.

You can still sponsor us: https://www.justgiving.com/bellesonbikes

And if you have ideas how to challenge yourself and support others, please let us know.


Team of ladies representing CAFOD

22/03/2014 Day 17 of Lenten Challenge

If the earth were only a few feet in diameter, floating a few feet above a field somewhere, people would come from everywhere to marvel at it. People would walk around it, marvelling at its big pools of water, its little pools and water flowing between the pools. People would marvel at the bumps on it, and the holes in it, and they would marvel at the very thin layer of gas surrounding it and all the water suspended in the gad. The people would marvel at all the creatures walking around the surface of the ball, and at the creatures in the water. The people would declare it precious because it was the only one, and they would protect it so that it would not be hurt. The ball would be the greatest wonder known, and people would come to behold and to wonder how it could be. People would love it, and defend it with their lives, because they would somehow know that their lives, their own roundness, could be nothing without it. If the Earth were only a few feet in diameter

Author unknown


Today we are thinking about “Just one world” and how we at times take the earth for granted, even though its resources are finite and we can’t sustain our current usage.

If you have any ideas for challenges this lent then please let us know by emailing: northwales@cafod.org.uk
ring us on 01978355084

or leave a comment for us.


21/3/2014 Day 16 of Lenten Challenge

Today we will be reflecting on ‘A special Lenten fast’.

A special Lenten fast

Give up harsh words:

Use generous ones.

Give up unhappiness:

Take up gratitude.

Give up anger:

Take up gentleness and patience.

Give up pessimism:

Take up hope and optimism

Give up worrying:

Take up trust in God.

Give up complaining:

Value what you have.

Give up stress:

Take up prayer.

Give up judging others:

Discover Jesus within them

Give up sorrow and bitterness:

Fill your heart with joy.

Give up selfishness:

Take up compassion for others

Give up being unforgiving:

Learn reconciliation

Give up words:

Fill yourself with silence, and listen to others.

Anonymous, Latin America


If you have any suggestions for the Lenten Challenge then please get in touch with us and let us know.

One Year On

Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis began his papacy on March 13 2013. He quickly became recognised as a champion for the poor and leading by example.
Pope Francis traded in the traditional papal finery for a simple white robe and plain black dress shoes. As well as this he has refused to live in the papal palace and instead opted to live in a nearby Vatican guest house for lay people. Truly living up to his believes that the church should be for the poor.

For the last year, Pope Francis has not forgotten the poor. Indeed, care for the poor and marginalized has been the most constant focus of the papacy so far; even as he has begun the task of reforming the Catholic Church.

In 365 days, the Pope has effected a major change in spirit, focus and structure of the Catholic Church which will serve to pave a crucial foundation for the future legacy of his papacy.

We in the North Wales office remember well the day that the new Pope was announced.  Julia and Fidel from our Connect 2 community Puentecito in El Salvador (http://www.cafod.org.uk/About-Us/Where-we-work/Latin-America-Caribbean/El-Salvador) were visiting North Wales for 2 days, including the parish of Ruabon and St. David’s Primary School in Mold. They were accompanied by Clare Dixon, Head of CAFOD’s South America Department.

At the end of the Stations of the Cross, phones started to beep and excited faces looked around. Finally Clare stood up and announced: “I am proud to say that we have a new Pope”.

It took us a moment to understand what was happening, I remember Anne, our Officer, pointing at the phone and trying to communicate the news, suddenly saying “El Papa” and pointing to a picture of Pope Francis. 
A year has passed and so much change has come about, never before has the press taken so much interest in the papacy before. We hope that Pope Francis will continue his good work and we wish and pray for a long and successful papacy.


11/03/2014 7th Day of Lenten Challenge

We have been discussing water in the office today and the effect that bottled water has to our lives and the lives of future generations.
Whilst we talked about this a video was suggested to us. We hope that you enjoy the video and it makes you think as much as it made is think.

Bottled water costs on average 500 times more than tap water, which is the equivalent of paying £1500 for a pint of beer or wine.

Why not buy a reusable water bottle instead of bottled water?

10/03/2014 6th Day of the Lenten Challenge

To reduce energy bills and our impact on the climate we wash our clothes at a lower temperature, 30°C. 

Many detergents work effectively at these lower temperatures so we feel, in order to keep our bills down and our carbon footprints to a minimum, we should wash at 30°C instead of 60°C.

As well as making the step to a lower temperature why not ensure that you only put the washing machine on for a full load?

09/03/2014 5th Day of Lenten Challenge

Now while he was with them at the table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him…” Luke 24:30-32

Inspired by Jesus’s journey to Emmaus and his breaking bread with two disciples the Emmaus Meal is an ideal way to join with other parishioners, members of your community or family in your journey towards Easter and beyond. 
Within the meal there will be a chance to reflect, eat food from other parts of the world, listen to the gospel reading of the road to Emmaus and pray with others.
Joing together with others this Lent and throughout the year, as we look to recognise Christ in each other and commit to taking action as part of our faith.

Why not look at the CAFOD website for our resources and prayers: http://www.cafod.org.uk/Pray/Emmaus

Lenten Challenge

Digging deep into the roots of our faith

This Lent we are asked to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters throughout the world and dig deep. This doesn’t mean just digging deep into our pockets, it means digging deep inside of ourselves and our faith. Lent is a time to look within, to reflect on our relationships with God and each other. Our relationship with God and others may be deepened by spending time in prayer and by fasting. Prayer and fasting help to sow the seeds of change, they help us to be open to being transformed, open to saying “yes‟ to God.

It‘s not just about giving something up, it is about the transformation taking place in us and the impact this will have on our world.

Since we celebrated Live simply in 2007, and promised to live simply, sustainability and in solidarity with the poor, we, as a family, and in the CAFOD office in North Wales have changed a lot, learned a lot and challenged ourselves and others a lot.  Our family now keep chickens and bees, joined a Community Supported Agriculture scheme and increased our skills in crafts and practical skills like spinning and sewing. In the office we cut down on travel costs and time by using video conferences, reuse scrap papers and reduce postings to volunteers.

With an erratic climate, more natural disasters and suffering going on in the world, our contribution to climate change cannot be denied. According to some statistics, Briton needs 3.5 earths to sustain our life styles, the USA over 5. The bad news is there is only one world!

A baby being born in the West produces the same carbon emissions by the time they are 22 weeks old, as a person in Ethiopia produces all their life.

This morning my parish priest said “Fasting is not dieting; fasting is feasting on God’s love.” Let’s celebrate this Lent by such feasting and preserving his creation and in this way being in solidarity with the poor, as they already suffer the brunt of our over consumption and the resulting climate change.

So therefore we invite you to accompany us on our Lenten journey, travelling light, and living within our ‘just one world’ means. Please join us, challenge us, and support us.

Send us your suggestions, to make this Lent a Lent to remember, yet less indebted to the earth and to our brothers and sisters all over the world.

Today we are putting up a new small change pyramid in the office over Lent and sending in the donation at the end of the Lenten period.
If you wish to put up a small change pyramid, then please get in contact with us by ringing 01978 355 084 or email us at northwales@cafod.org.uk