In November 2017, CAFOD ran twelve day retreats for volunteers across England and Wales. Maggie Mairura from CAFOD Nottingham asked two campaigners – Rose and Veronica – to share what the day meant to them.
The simplicity of the Quaker Retreat house and the stunning scenery provided a wonderful setting for our day.
Volunteers from Birmingham, Hallam and Nottingham Dioceses came together to reflect on the life of Blessed Oscar Romero, hear about our partners overseas who work to defend human rights and to share the stories of our faith journeys.
Rose – Hallam “I came to the Romero retreat wounded and in pain over the goings on in my home country Malta. A journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia had been killed in a car bomb after writing blogs exposing corruption in the country. The retreat provided me with an opportunity to start to heal my grief by reflecting on other courageous people, throughout the world, who are also involved in the pursuit of justice at great personal cost.
“Reflecting on how Romero himself was moved to act following the murder of one of his Jesuit friends, gave me the courage to think we can all be braver once we allow ourselves to be instruments of change. The venue was excellent and it was lovely to meet other CAFOD supporters and share encounters with them.”
Veronica – Nottingham “I found the retreat day at the Quaker Community House in Bamford very wholesome for body and for soul. The food was tasty and the spiritual guidance first-class.
“The day was the antithesis given by the image of a church like a room with the door held tightly shut – within a dank unhealthy atmosphere of stultifying decay (an image I have over- embroidered perhaps from the one given by Pope Francis).
“I was taken by the reason for choosing the venue: on the boundary between Nottingham and Hallam dioceses. Many parishes have been part of a process of reorganisation which has led to a change in mass timetables, parish priests saying mass in more than one parish and parishioners attending other churches.
“When asked how these changes going one person explained that it was going splendidly: it was like a breath of fresh air. I thought that was like the retreat day: an opportunity to meet and share ideas.
“The encounters I experienced during the day were challenging and thought-provoking. They helped me to think about the people in my life and the challenging experiences that have been a significant part in my faith formation.
“The day gave me the time to reflect and to wonder at the great good fortune I have to encounter God’s own people on this earth and to remember the responsibility laid upon me: to love my neighbour as myself.
“Meeting at the boundary is an opportunity to grow in faith.”