COVID-19 Update

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CAFOD Supporters campaigning

CAFOD Supporters taking action against Climate Change

Thank you for your patience while we take on board the changing situation with COVID-19 and the incredibly important role you play in support of our development and humanitarian work.

Thanks to your compassion and commitment, we can reach some of the poorest and marginalised communities around the world.

The Liverpool Volunteer Centre is closed (for now) – but there are still many ways to get involved!

CAFOD is following the advice issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales (CBCEW) as well as the UK government.

Following the government’s advice, we have taken the decision to cancel all face-to-face events and meetings and have closed all regional offices until at least June.

All the latest information about CAFOD’s response to COVID-19 will be on our Coronavirus Q & A and COVID-19: Information for volunteers pages.

Get in touch: Siobhan and Colette will still be available by mobile phone, email and via social media, so if you have any

questions or thoughts do not hesitate to be in touch whatever your query:

Siobhan – Mobile:  07779 804 241          Email:  sfarnell@cafod.org.uk

Colette – Mobile:  07779 804 242           Email: cbyrne@cafod.org.uk

Online worship
With the Coronavirus pandemic causing masses to be cancelled, there are now lots of parishes and cathedrals offering virtual worship.

You can find out more information about local live-streamed services here:  http://www.liverpoolcatholic.org.uk/mass-live-stream.html

We’ve also created a ‘Children’s Liturgy Live!’ session which will take place every Sunday to help families to worship in their own homes.

Online resources
If you’re looking for community, we have a CAFOD community group on Facebook. Please do join and invite others to do the same.

If you’re a parent, we have a large range of online education resources tailored specifically for primary and secondary ages, alongside worship and prayer content.

If you’re looking to learn more about CAFOD’s international work, we will be releasing a weekly timetable of online talks.

Feel-good stories
If you are a CAFOD volunteer and hear of a great story in your local parish – please let us know so we can share it on our social media channels and website.

It would be great if you would be able to email over a few sentences about what happened, along with a photo.

Prayer for the Coronavirus
Even though the volunteer centres are temporarily shut, we hope to be able to continue to offer opportunities to connect with the lives of our sisters and brothers around the world.

Please keep an eye of our social media pages for the latest updates:
Find us on Facebook  and Twitter at CAFOD in Liverpool.

In the meantime, we continue to pray for all those affected by the COVID-19 virus and the healthcare workers here in the UK and overseas, who are on the frontline of this crisis – and ask that you too join us in keeping them in our thoughts and prayers.

First-time marathon runner raises money for communities both home and away

A first-time marathon runner has raised over £1000 for charity by taking on an incredible fitness challenge to support fragile communities in the UK and overseas.

Alexandra Molton set herself the ultimate challenge of running a marathon with just three weeks training to raise money for CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) and The Big Help Project.

Alexandra Molton completed her first marathon to raise money for CAFOD and The Big Help Project.

Alex, from Southport, decided to take on the challenge after starting work at The Big Help Project last year and also signing up as a volunteer for CAFOD.

The 23-year-old said: “I was in awe of the amazing work The Big Help Project have been doing for the past 10 years and the wrap-around services they provide to ensure struggling families and individuals don’t go hungry, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am also very interested in international development and support the work CAFOD do to further this in overseas communities.”

Describing her three-week training regime as “intense”, Alex took on her marathon challenge on Thursday 18th February, completing it in just four hours and 19 minutes.

She said: “The marathon itself was a mixed bag of emotions; the first half felt incredible, like I was on cloud nine – no aches and I was consistent with my minute miles. However, from around 16 miles, the back of my legs really began to hurt, along with my knees.

“I got quite emotional. It was a mental as well as a physical battle but every time I felt like stopping or giving up, I thought about all the people that had taken the time to donate, the kind words I received from everyone, the support of my mum and boyfriend who ran part of the way with me, and the difference the money would make to those in need. So, I kept going.”

However, Alex’s challenge is far from over as she joins people across England and Wales in doing 10,000 steps a day as part of CAFOD’s Walk for Water challenge.

The money raised throughout the Lenten season will contribute to the work of overseas development charity, CAFOD, by helping communities access water, as well as providing appropriate tools and training to maintain this vital life source.

Wanting to raise awareness of issues surrounding water availability, Alex said: “I think access to water is something many people think is a problem of the past due to years’ worth of campaigns driving the same issue, but what we have to remember is that the world is a big place and not everyone is at that point yet.”

Alexandra Molton completed her first marathon to raise money for CAFOD and The Big Help Project.

So far, Alex has raised an incredible £1,059.50 for the two charities and with weeks still left of her challenge, she is hoping to raise even more to support those most in need.

She said: “Running a marathon was hard, but spending hours every day walking miles for water and being deprived of food for you and your family is even harder, so please take the time to share and donate to my page, or even set up your own fundraiser!”

CAFOD’s local representative for the Southport area, Siobhan Farnell concludes:

“It is so inspiring to hear Alex’s story, CAFOD says a big thank you to her and the thousands of supporters who are embarking on their ‘Walk for Water’ challenge. This Lent they will be transforming lives.     

 “We will be working with local aid experts and communities to find the best solutions in each place where we work – whether it’s a well, piped system or rain harvesting.   

“Coordinating sanitation and hygiene training will also be a part of this work, as well as setting up local water committees, allowing communities to take ownership and keep the water flowing.       

“Our years of knowledge and the experience of local aid workers tell us, that when families have availability to clean, safe water, people’s lives can be transformed.”      

Click here for further information about Alex’s marathon or to donate online.

Upcoming Online Events

We would like to invite you to some wonderful online events!

On Saturday the 13th of March, 11am-12pm you’re invited to the Archbishop Oscar Romero Anniversary National Ecumenical Service. This will be live-streamed from St Martin-in-the-Fields to mark the 41st anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero.

Click here to enter the livestream.

Tuesday, 16 March 11am-12pm. Secondly, we’d like to invite you to hear about the difference you have made in Uganda. On Harvest Family Fast Day 2019, you heard about Fabiano in Uganda and raised money to help people without clean water around the world. Join this discussion, live from Uganda, with our local experts at Caritas Moroto and CAFOD’s Mark Kipkirui Baiywoh to hear about the amazing difference your help has made to the lives of local people.

Click here to book your place.

Tuesday 16th March 7pm. Finally, there is a talk on Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ letter on Our Common Home. Dr Peter Coughlan will be joining the Sacred Heart Parish in Wimbledon to talk about the main themes of this hugely significant encyclical. He will explore both the origins of Pope Francis’ ‘ecological conversion’ and the significance of Laudato Si’as we approach the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow. Peter has recently given seminars at the Margaret Beaufort Institute in Cambridge and previously lectured at Heythrop College, University of London. The talk is organised by the Newman Circle and the Environment Group in the parish.

Email sarah.tobin@btconnect.com for the link for this meeting.

And a reminder that on Fridays throughout Lent we are walking through the Stations of the Cross online in a prayerful journey of transformation in solidarity with people living in poverty around the world.

Join us at 11am as we meditate on Christ’s journey to the cross, following themes of justice, poverty, mercy, friendship and hope.

Click here to register for the series.

Why I’m Walking for Water

Have you ever had to turn off your water supply – even just for an hour? We’ve all been there. Minor panic sets in as you whizz around the kitchen filling up kettles, pans, and glasses to see you through the coming hours and the whole household dashes to the toilet for one last emergency visit before it’s too late.

Now, imagine that for a whole day and this time, it’s not just your house but your entire street or town. What if the whole of the UK woke up one morning to find it had no water?

Social media would collapse under the sheer volume of complaints, local and national press would whip up a frenzy, and the water shortage “crisis” of 2021 would be talked of and remembered for years to come.

This is just one of the thoughts in my head as I walk my 10,000 steps a day – on behalf of my parish Our Lady of the Annunciation and St Bernadette’s – as part of CAFOD’s Walk for Water challenge.

Our Lady of the Annunciation, St Marie’s

Even as it occurred to me, the idea sounded ridiculous because we know we live safe in the knowledge that this just wouldn’t be allowed to happen. To us.

But this does happen. This happens to more than 780 million people – that’s over 12 times the UK population – each and every day.

As I walk through my home town, the world starts to wake up. People are beginning their commute, or nipping into a cafe for a takeaway coffee but as I walk, my mind still battles with this colossal number.

It’s easy to see numbers as what they are: a statistic or a figure. But what hits home the most is when you drill down and find out more about just one of these 780 million people. Then you begin to understand the scale of the human tragedy we’re witness to.

I remember hearing Abdella’s story for the very first time. The striking videos and imagery are undoubtedly humbling but for me, the most heart-breaking thing was listening to his own words: “When I plan or think of other things, sometimes I hate the situation I am living in because of the lack of water.”

At just 23 years old, Abdella should be at that stage in his life that’s full of hopes, dreams, and ambitions.

I walk on and think back to when I was that age, when I graduated from university aged 21; eager and impatient to begin the life I was going to forge for myself. I got a job, got a flat, got a masters; I started planning my career, and before long got engaged. Everything was exciting, everything was possible, and nothing could come quickly enough.

So to remember that feeling of this wonderful life just beginning and to compare it to the bleak challenges faced by Abdella, I’m filled with guilt.

Thankfully, the work of CAFOD is making a real difference and is transforming lives and communities around the world, enabling people like Abdella to flourish in a new life of opportunity.

It’s so encouraging to see just how many people are championing this cause, heading out in all weather to take part in their own Walk for Water challenges.

I signed up after first hearing Abdella’s story. Luckily, I quite like walking anyway so I decided to raise the stakes a little by including something I definitely do NOT like: early mornings. 

As such, I’ve decided to complete all of my 10,000 steps before 9am each morning, which means getting up and out of the house at a time I only ever usually see if I’m going on holiday.

Despite this very serious allergy – and the occasional bit of soggy weather – I’m so far surviving!

Granted, I’ve not left the house at the time I was supposed to once yet – resulting in a panicked, Kermit-the-Frog-like run on several occasions – and there’s always the terrifying bladder control question to contend with! However, taking this time to witness the world alone and seeing promises of spring around every corner does make me realise just how lucky we are.

So, as my shrieking alarm blasts me into action, sending me stumbling around and getting dressed in the dark – because no-one needs any form of light at that time in the morning – I offer a thought for Abdella and pray that our collective efforts make a real difference and that our more fortunate corner of the planet will one day complete our journey to a fairer, more equal world for all.

Have you signed up yet?

By walking, dancing, hopping, or skipping 10,000 steps for 40 days, you can help to provide fresh and clean water, shelter and food for vulnerable families overseas!

Walk for Water is the only Lent challenge you need: 10,000 steps a day – done your way. Every day. For 40 days. Could you use your exercise or outdoor time to join Abdella in solidarity and make a profound difference across the world? Go the distance this Lent and help to end water poverty. 

You don’t have to get tied in a knot about how to do it: whether you hop it, skip it, slide it, run it, jump it, dance it, stamp it, stomp it. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just as long as you put your heart and soul into it! Sign up now, raise money and do something different to fight water poverty this Lent 

Sign up now, raise money and do something different to fight water poverty this Lent

Or join us for our Big Walk for Water on Saturday 20 February at 2 pm, walking alongside Abdella as part of our nationwide virtual event. Could you encourage others to walk too? Your friends, parishioners or family? Click the above link or get in touch with us for more details.