A Colombian Evening at Holy Spirit, West Bridgford

Friday 11 October at the University of Nottingham  CAFOD visitors from Colombia are taking part in a free workshop 9.30 – 4.30 followed by a public lecture 7-9pm

Bang to Rights Workshop

The Guardians of Atrato River – Euma Pedroza , Fausto Palacios and CAFOD partner  Oscar Salinas are visiting from Chocó, north-western Colombia. The Atrato River in Chocó, one of the regions with the highest biodiversity in the world, is found in one of     Colombia’s poorest regions.

This river is a source of life for many Afro-Colombians and indigenous communities living along its banks however as a result of illegal mining activities and the armed conflict, the environment has greatly suffered. It is often dangerous for local communities to protect their environment. In a landmark ruling in 2017, Colombia’s Constitutional Court recognised the Atrato River, including its communities, as having rights to “protection, conservation, maintenance and restoration”.  Bang to Rights Lecture


Euma, Fausto, Oscar will share their experiences of protecting, defending and  preserving the Atrato River.     To register for the Workshop click here



The following day, Saturday 12 October, they will be joining parishioners at Holy Spirit, West Bridgford who are launching their HandsOn Magdalena Medio parish scheme. Mass it at 6.30 and then into the church hall at 7.30 for Colombian food, music, and hear more about the project and the Guardians work.           All welcome!


Comfort in grief; a personal experience

My granddaughter Leila (7) was staying over at the weekend and on our way to the cinema to see Aladdin she was talking about birthdays and how her birthday is next.  I corrected her and said Uncle Zachary is soon and then it would be Aunty Anna’s etc etc…………………….

So she asks has Aunty Anna got a grave, as she would like to put flowers for her on her birthday. So I said no.  Oh, so she is ashes then?  Where are they? she asks.   At my house, I said.    No further discussion.  She is quiet. Then a minute later she said,  I wish it wouldn’t be Mother’s Day for another 2 years.  Why, I asked.  Because you were so sad on Mother’s Day…………….


Leila with Aunty Anna, Mum

Since the death of my Mum in 2017 and more recently my daughter Anna in November last year, the experiences of journeying  through an expected death and a sudden loss have been challenging in so many ways.  Mum had her funeral planned; who was going to do what, what she was going to wear, hymns, readings etc.  With Anna we were shell shocked and the bureaucracy of death and  planning to bring her home from Edinburgh where she lived; they were tasks to focus on, delaying our real grief till after the funeral.

And so recently, because of my own personal experience, I have been sharing about CAFOD’s award winning project from 2015, that illustrates how no one is beyond reach of  our support; through prayer, through fundraising, through compassion, through partnership, through love.

 Safe & Dignified Burials in Sierra Leone

The BOND Humanitarian Award recognised the courageous service of the more than 800 burial workers who served with SMART, a UK government-funded consortium comprising of World Vision, CAFOD, and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). Together the three agencies trained and equipped burial workers to conduct Safe and Dignified burials for Ebola victims across Sierra Leone. 

sierra leoneWe continue to work with our partners in Sierra Leone and last year our Gap Year volunteers visited there.  Life goes on.

As hard as it was and continues to be, we were able to plan and organise for Mum and Anna’s funerals, gathering family and friends to mourn and celebrate their lives with us; something perhaps we take for granted.