#LiveSimply in the High Peak

Last Saturday afternoon I set out for St Anne’s in Buxton and the stunning scenery along the A515.  I had been invited by Fr Gerry Murphy and the Parish Council who have registered for the CAFOD LiveSimply Award.  They were launching it this weekend and I was going to speak at both Masses.

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It was also an opportunity to meet up with Yvonne, CAFOD parish contact; we had first met back in 1993 when we were doing the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies (CCRS).  She was also putting me up for the night!


The parish of St Anne’s first registered for the award in 2016 but it was put on hold due to the ill health and subsequent death of Fr Denis Higgins, who had been parish priest for over 30 years.  So now with their new parish priest they were ready to revisit their plans.

The Live Simply Award, originally introduced by CAFOD over 10 years ago, but reinvigorated by the letter of Pope Francis, Laudato Si, calls and challenges Catholic communities to live simply, to live in solidarity with the poor and to live sustainably with creation.  The origins go further back to Populorum Progressio, the 1967 Encyclical written by Pope Paul VI which stated:

“All Catholics are called to act…Catholics of richer lands must play their part to help development. They should be in the forefront of those who fight to build a better world, based on justice and equality.” 

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In 2002, the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales in their letter The Call of Creation stated; Individual actions may seem insignificant but together the small steps of many people can have an astonishing impact.”  This is truly reflected in the Award being a community achievement, people working together and supporting each other to achieve their Live Simply goals, because “The way we live and the choices we make affect the lives of others.”

And so as a community and as individuals, the parish of St Anne’s will work together to achieve the award through small, simple acts; continuing to support their local food bank and NightStop, working with CAFOD to fundraise and campaign. A big action is working towards being a Fair Trade parish.


Not only does it give the community an opportunity to nurture their spiritual lives, the Live Simply award also offers opportunities to:

  • Strengthen friendships in the parish, school and communities
  • Offer support for taking practical steps
  • Play their part in big issues that affect them and
  • Develop and nourish connections within the wider community in Buxton, in the Diocese, with their global neighbours

So we wish them well on their journey and will encourage them in their efforts as they strive to ‘Live simply so others may simply live’.



Our Lady & St Edwards parish in Thorneywood, Nottingham are also working towards the Award!

Are you interested?



Ciara Hogan arriving in El Salvador

CAFOD Step into the Gap volunteer Ciara Hogan shares her experiences of arriving in El Salvador, meeting CAFOD’s partners and seeing inspiring, creative projects.

Ciara Hogan
Ciara Hogan is currently in El Salvador

Our first few days in Central America have been absolutely incredible. In the short time we’ve been here we have already experienced so many different people and places, each giving us so much to think about and reflect on.

One of those experiences was our visit to La Palma, a town in the mountains of El Salvador bordering Honduras. This was our first visit to a family since we arrived.

Prior to this visit we had been meeting partners in their offices so I was looking forward to seeing a family in their own home and hearing their stories. La Palma is a town famous for its crafts.

It is the home of El Salvador’s unique brightly coloured art that has become so famous around the world because of the Romero Cross. The streets are covered in bright paintings- even the lampposts are covered in art!

We were travelling to La Palma to meet Lazaro, an artist who creates all of the Romero crosses that are sold by CAFOD.

He oversees the production of each cross, from the carpentry to the varnishing done by his own grown-up daughters. I was particularly excited about this meeting as the cross that I have had since I was young, and that has travelled with me to university and now to the Briars is a Romero cross that was made in El Salvador.

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Nottingham CAFOD Gap Year Volunteer Heads to El Salvador and Nicaragua

Ciara Hogan is heading out to El Salvador and Nicaragua as part of her CAFOD gap year! Read her thoughts below…

Ciara Hogan

Ciara Hogan is heading to El Salvador and Nicaragua

In January I am extremely lucky to be visiting El Salvador and Nicaragua. Whilst I’m there, I will be meeting CAFOD partners to see how they implement their work with the funds that are raised by CAFOD supporters here in the UK. We will also be fortunate enough to meet with local communities who directly benefit from the work of these partners. It is the part of my gap year that I have most been looking forward to but also the part that has been challenging to prepare for.

At our international visit prep weekend, we learnt more about the partners that we would be visiting in various places around El Salvador and Nicaragua. I’m particularly excited to be working with partners who work on issues of gender equality. The issue of gender equality is something really important to me, so I’m looking forward to seeing how CAFOD partners work with women overseas. Learning about the work of these partners has brought a new, humbling way of looking at the trip. Although the usual excitements about visiting somewhere new are still there, there’s a sense that we are embarking on a trip that is going to have its challenges, but that overall will fill us with a renewed hope and dedication to the work we are carrying out this year.

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