Nearly 2,500 supporters packed Westminster Cathedral for a mass of celebration for CAFOD’s 50th Anniversary.
Supporters from the Archdiocese of Liverpool joined others from dioceses all over England and Wales on Saturday 28th January to give thanks for 50 years of standing in solidarity with the poor, and to pray for the continued commitment to work toward ending poverty and injustice.
The mass was celebrated by Archbishop Vincent Nichols, with the homily given by Bishop John Arnold. Bishop John spoke warmly of the work CAFOD has accomplished throughout the world, drawing on his experiences as a CAFOD trustee and his firsthand accounts of seeing CAFOD’s partners in action.
Symbols of CAFOD’s commitment to the greater world were present throughout the mass. The mass began with a procession of images depicting a significant person from each decade of CAFOD’s history, including Davi Yanomami of the Yanomami tribe in Brazil, and Cardinal David Hume. During the offertory, a number of gifts symbolising CAFOD’s work were brought up to the sanctuary, including a Romero Crucifix hand-painted by one of CAFOD’s partners in El Salvador. Following communion
It was an emotional day for many supporters directly affected by CAFOD’s work. Margaret Mwaniki, a CAFOD trustee and partner from Kenya, spoke to the congregation of her experience working with CAFOD in Kenya, as well as a strong call for support for CAFOD’s latest campaign, Thirst for Change. For Ellen Teague, a former CAFOD employee, the mass “felt like a family reunion,” reuniting her with old colleagues and new friends who shared in this common cause of “undertaking jubliean tasks of social justice.”
From Chris Bain CAFOD’s Director “ I am happy and honoured to welcome so many of you to Westminster Cathedral to join us in marking the beginning of CAFOD’s 50th anniversary year. Throughout the past half –century CAFOD and its partners have worked to end extreme poverty and disadvantage, looking towards a just world which anticipates God’s kingdom on earth, where every person can flourish and live in dignity and peace.
None of this would have been possible without the loyal and dedicated support from Catholics in England and Wales, the outstanding work of our partners who are working directly with the world’s poorest communities, or the long-standing backing of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
Today, we come together in prayer, giving thanks to God for the grace which has enables us to achieve so much and to see God’s blessing on all that we do in the future.
Thank you for being with us here today and for the tremendous support you have given CAFOD throughout the last 50 years. I hope we can recommit ourselves to building a just, paceful and sustainable world.”