Our Lenten Journey

I am always surprised when Lent comes around?  Again?  So soon?  Has it really been a year?  What did (or didn’t) I do last year?  This year will be better.  I will be more committed.  Really, I will! Lenten Book Club

We are blessed in that there are many resources and ideas and suggestions to help us and sustain us during this important Season in the Church’s year. When I visited Grimsby last week Fr Andrew told me the parish is having a Lenten Book Club, this year based on the novel Les Miserables

Donate to CAFOD this Lent

Holy Spirit parish in West Bridgford, as part of the working to achieve the Live Simply award, have produced a Lenten Calendar, encouraging all parishioners to take part.

WB LiveSimply Lent Calendar 2019


And of course, here at CAFOD, so many brilliant resources for individuals, parishes and schools; all to encourage and motivate us in our prayer, fasting and giving.

So don’t despair!  Be joyful, keep the faith and do the little things!


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.”


In Memoriam – Mary Crosby RIP

Maggie Mairura, remembers Mary and her amazing contribution to the work of CAFOD and the continuing legacy of the founding mothers of Holy Spirit, West Bridgford CAFOD group. 

It is with sadness that I write that Mary Crosby, long time CAFOD supporter from Holy Spirit parish in West Bridgford died on Sunday 14 January 2018.  Over the last few years Mary had undergone treatment for cancer, however when you met her, you never knew how tough it was as she was always so positive and determined.  Mary will be very sadly missed by all at CAFOD, the parish and of course her family.  Fr Michael Brown, Parish Priest at Holy Spirit said “Mary has been a big part of the Holy Spirit Parish and she tirelessly raised money for CAFOD for 42 years. We are very grateful for the contribution that she made to this parish, she will be greatly missed.”

CAFOD group in the 80s

A photo from the 80s!  With Tony Gariff (CAFOD), founding and current members                        Mary is first right on back row.

I first met Mary through a diary entry when I started working for CAFOD in the Diocese in September 2015; an appointment to visit the parish UCM group the following Lent – I think to say she was organised is an understatement!  As well as the amazing work she and the CAFOD group did in the parish, she faithfully supported CAFOD events in the Diocese.  Marie Molloy, former CAFOD worker in the Diocese told me about when she first met Mary in 2008, “I visited the parish group, at her invitation, to talk about CAFOD’s  (then) new parish scheme Connect2. We seemed to hit it off really well, perhaps both coming from teaching backgrounds helped, and over the years she not only continued to be a fantastic CAFOD Parish Contact but also offered me support and advice in my new role. She was a great sounding board, always honest but constructive in her comments, generous in her praise and certainly never frightened of letting me know when she thought CAFOD was getting in wrong! This attitude was really beneficial to CAFOD when Mary and the group agreed to take part in national CAFOD research into the effectiveness of Connect2.”  Marie continued, “What Mary really seemed to enjoy was gatherings of assorted volunteers where she could share experiences with others and gather new ideas, often to be tweaked and tried out in West Bridgford – a Bean Tombola springs to mind! After I left CAFOD in 2015, we kept in touch and met up for coffee on several occasions. Mary truly was a lovely lady, who lived such a busy life supporting others in so many ways and lived with her illness with such dignity and positiveness.” 


Celebrating 30 years in 2006

In 2016 the group celebrated 40 years and an article in the nottinghamlocalnews.com states…..

the group, most commonly known as ‘The Friday People’, first came about when six ladies from the parish decided to give something up every Friday and send the money they saved in an envelope to CAFOD.” Mary’s daughter Kate sent me a photo of the original collection tin which was used for group subs! The article continues “parishioner and grandmother Mary Crosby, who joined the group in 1983, worked under the six founders before becoming group secretary and CAFOD parish contact in 1995.’  As well as fundraising activities and cake stalls the group also ran a very successful Traidcraft stall.

subs tin

The subs tin

Even during her last few months Mary was actively recruiting new members for the CAFOD group and when they met just a few days before she died, Dypmna, who now takes on the role as CAFOD contact for parish, was able to visit Mary the next day and report that 14 members attended the meeting.  Dympna tells me “she was delighted with the news and as organised as ever, had the float money ready for our next two CAFOD events during Lent!”  Dympna and Mary go back a long way “Mary was a wonderful friend over 35 years. She was a lovely, dignified, calm and especially kind person. Her motivation was inspiring. We share a deep family connection with our two sets of children growing up together and developing their own very special friendships.  The Holy Spirit CAFOD group were constantly encouraged to keep working hard at our fundraising.”


Traidcraft Stall in 2010                                Una, Ann, Mary C, Dympna, Bernadette,        and Mary D

Dympna continued, “her passion and dedication for CAFOD and Traidcraft were reflected in the response and support from the parish for which she was always very grateful and she will always be remembered fondly. We all know we have lost someone very special.  Her thumb print remains in the parish, from the backing paper on the displays boards to the homemade donation box made by her husband Tony”.

A Memorial Mass will be held at Holy Spirit, West Bridgford on Saturday 10 March 2018 at 11am.