#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.

buxton 2

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.” 

buxton 1

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?



East Leake Catholic Women’s League host CAFOD evening

Thanks to the CWL of Our Lady of the Angels in East Leake for hosting a lovely evening last Thursday 22/2/18.   Even before I had left for the Philippines in June last year, Ann Sharpe had invited me to come and talk to them about it!


CAFOD supporters from East Leake, West Bridgford and Loughborough

They very generously opened the invitation to other local parishes and a posse from the CAFOD group of Holy Spirit West Bridgford joined us along with a couple of visitors from Loughborough.  About 20 people were there to hear about this year’s Family Fast Day.


It was also an opportunity for Tom Beall, our CAFOD Campaign Volunteer Coordinator to introduce himself. tom beall

Tom is also a CAFOD Climate Champion and volunteers with the National Trust at the Workhouse in Southwell , both organisations being part of the Climate Coalition .

Tom as Climate Champion

And so to my trip to the Philippines and sharing my experience of visiting and working with our partners NASSA/Caritas Philippines.  It was lovely to recount my visit to Batangas, a village in Sorsogon Diocese who were beneficiaries of CAFOD donations following Typhoon Melor in 2015.  New homes and new livelihoods were provided to families and as part of building resilience and sustainable livelihoods those who had received a pig then ‘passed on the gift’ when it had its first litter, giving a piglet to a neighbour.

Introducing our volunteers to Rosemarie, Conception, Anna and Medina

Introducing our volunteers to Rosemarie, Conception, Anna and Medina, Philippines July 2017

My favourite encounter was with a group of women from the village, who are part of the local committee and who were delighted to be introduced to some Nottingham Diocese volunteers in the photos I had taken with me.


Then of course, the case of the famous pig who became the star of one of our School Assemblies.  David Brinn, our national  schools volunteer programme coordinator, who travelled with me, on his return wrote a primary assembly based on our emergency work, using the story of the three pigs!   pig

Be a school volunteer and deliver this assembly?

Catherine, one of the visitors from West Bridgford said:  “it was a very interesting talk & my knowledge of the geography of the Philippines has certainly improved!  You got a very good attendance and it was good to meet Tom – a very impressive young man.”


Family Fast Day at Our Lady’s in Sleaford: School and Parish!

So after my visit to St Hugh’s in Lincoln, I traveled south to Sleaford. My first stop the parish of Our Lady of Good Counsel to meet up with Parish Volunteer Barbara and her husband Mike.  A group of about 15 people were gathered for coffee after the morning Mass.

20180219_113740After brief introductions it was my opportunity to thank the parish for their continued and steadfast support – from our database records which go back to 1990 they have donated an amazing £60,275.13!  Something to celebrate! They have consistently raised funds at Fast Days and also responded to Emergency Appeals.  As well as sharing about this Family Fast Day I was also able to recount stories from Livison Chipatiso, our Programme Officer in Zimbabwe who I had accompanied the previous week.     For lunch, we joined the Churches Together in Sleaford for their Lenten Soup lunch at the local Anglican church, which will be hosted by Our Lady’s next Monday.

Then it was over to Our Lady of Good Counsel School.  I was immediately struck by the display in the entrance.  A beautiful tree with home made Romero Crosses hanging from it.

romero cross tree (2) It was lovely to then be able to tell the students that Bishop Patrick had recently returned from El Salvador and had visited the crypt of Blessed Oscar Romero.  A real link between school, diocese, CAFOD and our partners overseas.


Who was Oscar Romero?

Once the whole school was assembled it was my second opportunity of the day to share with our students the theme of this year’s Family Fast Day and encourage them with their #giveitupchallenge.  Every student would be taking home a pledge for them to sign, having given some thought to what they were going to give up and how much they hoped to raise for CAFOD.

CAFOD’s Family Fast Day resources for schools

Again the atmosphere in the school was warm and welcoming, eager to take an active part in the assembly and keen to answer questions, though maybe not so keen to be in the photo!20180219_150140

As mentioned in my previous post, I find it so inspiring and uplifting to visit our Diocesan schools but that is not my job – mine is to recruit more school volunteers to add to our growing team! So if you want to be inspired and uplifted and have an opportunity to nourish our young minds, please do get in touch!

Being a school volunteer