Family Fast Day is on Friday 5 October and we offer an invitation to eat simply – perhaps by giving up a meal, or just having a bowl of soup – and make a donation to CAFOD? It could save someone’s life.
Every life around the world is precious, but I’d like to tell you about a mother in East Africa. Longora lives in Uganda – 14 hours from the capital – in a remote village that has no electricity, no gas and no hospital nearby.
The area is so hot and dry, people struggle to get enough clean water to survive. A few years ago, when Longora was in the late stages of pregnancy, she became seriously ill after drinking dirty water from a local river. She gave birth while she was still sick. Because of the water, her baby was also born seriously ill. She said: “Ten people died from drinking river water then. My baby died too.”
No one can bring Longora’s baby back. Hearing from her, it is clear the loss stays with her. It was obvious her community needed clean water and – thanks to donations from people like you – CAFOD repaired the well in her village and trained local people in how to maintain it, so they can fix it if it breaks again. Now Longora and her neighbours have a reliable supply of clean, safe water.
Two weeks ago I popped in to visit our neighbours, the Poor Clare sisters. Catching up with each others news is always good! Their community is growing from 4 to 17 as another Convent in North Wales is closing and the community moving to Nottingham. So we remember them in our prayers as they face these new opportunities and challenges.
I updated them on the Share the Journey campaign and passed over some of the campaign cards. This morning after Mass, Sr Lily asked me to pop in again. ‘We did our walk on Saturday, the feast of St Clare, and I have some photos for you’.
They walked around their garden, joining in solidarity with the many, many Catholics in England & Wales who have now walked over 100 000 miles!
‘It was only a short walk, not much’, Sr Lily told me. I assured her that whatever the distance, their participation is wonderful!
I also heard today that the parish of Alfreton & Clay Cross are organising a walk on Saturday 15th September. So don’t worry if you hadn’t taken part yet. There is still plenty of time!
Today I joined 10 others as we walked the 4.5 miles from St Barnabas Cathedral to the CAFOD Volunteer Centre in Bulwell. We gathered in prayer before leaving on our journey; remembering those who are forced to flee their homes because of conflict, persecution, hoping for a safer and better future – many hoping that they will be able to return home.
We followed the Tram route and then stopped at St Mary’s Hyson Green where we were offered refreshments and use of the facilities by the CJSP sisters! Continuing along the tram route a bit further, we then crossed the road just after Wilkinson Street Tram Stop and followed the Leen Valley Way……… a hidden part of Nottingham and a real hidden gem! Then out onto Highbury Vale and up Piccadilly, finally arriving at the Volunteer Centre 2 hours later. Jo was there to meet us with a welcome cuppa and biscuits and cakes!
49.5 miles in total we have added to the ‘#sharejourney totaliser! Well done Liz and Patricia for organising it. Special thanks to Demi and Emily our young walkers who took turns carrying the Lampedusa Cross and wearing my Cordaid bracelet, made from lifejackets abandoned on Lesbos. Then Dominic, Sue and Krsytyna from Holy Cross parish in Hucknall joined us – we presented them with the Lampedusa Cross and they set off on their walk to Hucknall.
What is really humbling and inspiring is that we are not only walking in solidarity with migrants and refugees. This is a global Catholic campaign, launched by Pope Francis last September.
By taking action, by taking part in parish or school or group or individual walks, we are uniting with our worldwide Catholic brothers and sisters to remember and pray for the needs of all our global brothers and sisters who are on the move; the majority of whom are displaced in their own countries or in refugees camps in neighbouring countries.