On October 4th, Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP joined with sisters from the community of St Joseph of Peace, CAFOD Nottingham staff, past and present, CAFOD colleagues from London and some local volunteers and supporters, Fr Alan Burbidge and Fr Adrian Chatterton for a mass of Thanksgiving at Rearsby Convent Chapel.
After fifteen very successful years at Rearsby Convent in Leicestershire, the CAFOD Nottingham office is moving to The Briars Youth Retreat Centre, Crich Derbyshire on October 29th. The mass was an opportunity to thank the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace for their warm hospitality, their generous support for CAFOD’s work through wealth sharing, prayer, action and their kindness towards various staff members over the years.
During the mass, Bishop Malcolm blessed a painted crucifix, made by CAFOD’s partner Lazaro in El Salvador, as a gift for the sisters to mark their time as CAFOD hosts. After mass, everyone shared in tea and homemade cakes and Tom O’Connor, CAFOD’s Director for Communities and Supporters, was able to formerly offered CAFOD’s thank to the sisters before presenting them with a card and flowers.
Tom also thanked local volunteer Anthony Belderbos for 15 years of service in the CAFOD office at Rearsby, presenting him with a certificate and small gift to mark the occasion. Anthony has been a stalwart over the years and given of his time and energy in so many ways from organising visits to parishes and speaking on behalf of CAFOD to stuffing envelopes and taking rubbish to the tip! Though he is standing down as a regular ‘office’ volunteer, CAFOD Nottingham still hopes to use his knowledge and talents on some future projects.
CAFOD Nottingham will certainly miss their close, everyday relationship with the CSJP sisters but hope that they will pop into the new office when they are in the area and that there will be future opportunities to work together.
CAFOD Nottingham intends that the move to a new base at The Briars will be the start of a closer working relationship with the Diocesan Youth Service. They trust that it will lead to stronger relationships with younger people across the diocese, as well as with their teachers, chaplains and leaders and perhaps open up new opportunities for working together, recognising the importance of reaching out to the new generations of Catholics, as CAFOD begins its second half century.