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 




Journey to Justice: A CAFOD retreat

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.

Bamford scenes

The Hope Valley

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.

Become a CAFOD campaigns volunteer in your parish

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.


Time to reflect on the life of Blessed Oscar Romero

“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.”

Become a CAFOD campaigns volunteer in your parish

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.

Bamford lunch

Time to nourish the body and soul!

“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.

Bamford reflections

Time to share our journey of faith

“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.”