A Mass to Celebrate 50 Years of CAFOD took place at Sts Peter & Paul Crosby on the 2nd March.  The Celebrant was Fr John Furnival who was assisted by Fr John Cullen.  The CAFOD Speaker was Volunteer Pierre Ngendakuma and here is what he had to say.

Thank you Fr John and to you all for the opportunity to speak with you briefly this evening about the work of CAFOD, the aid and development agency of our Catholic Community in England and Wales.

My name is Pierre Ngendakumana. I was born in Africa in a country called Burundi. This evening I’m here as a volunteer of CAFOD.

For the last fifty years, the Catholic community here in St Peter and Paul and throughout Englandand Waleshas supported CAFOD through prayer, by taking part in campaigns and by giving generously even when times were tough.

For all of this thank you. This “thank you” is coming from someone who owes most of his upbringing, his education from the early age to the work of many organisations including CAFOD and your generosity. So it is not just a CAFOD’s thanks but my own thanks as well coming from my heart.

Your support over fifty years has helped reduce the number of children dying each year before the age of five, and enabled more children to attend primary school throughout the world. However, as well as being grateful for these achievements we must remember the reality of the world in which we live.

Just one example: Water. One in eight people in the world still does not have access to clean water, and every twenty seconds a child dies from dirty water. As you can understand I’m one of the lucky ones thanks to your support through CAFOD.

The symbolism of water is used in many religions and traditions. It is believed to be the substance that all things were made from and the Bible seems to agree.

We do know how we feel when we’re thirsty. Well that feeling which is temporary if you live in countries likeEnglandand and Wales, can last days, weeks and months if you live in some of the poorest countries. In those countries water is just a dream and when it becomes a reality rather than saving lives, it kills them because it is dirty.

In this time of Lent there is a widespread Christian tradition to give up things as a physical reminder of our preparation to Easter, inspired by the Gospel account of Jesus temptation in the desert.

I’m here to thank you for the sacrifice you made for the last fifty years by: going without something on Fast Days (a meal, a treat…) in order to support others. In doing so you have saved lives of those who are forced to live without the basic necessities of every day life.

This Lent, the generosity of the Catholic community is being recognised by theUK government. Under their UK Aid Match Scheme, they will match pound for pound every donation given to CAFOD. So for every pound you’re able to give, CAFOD will receive an extra pound to help thousands more people in the poorest communities in the global south, to live sustainably and with dignity by having access to essential services and resources.

Once more thank you for your ongoing support of CAFOD’ s work.

Many thanks to the Music Group and Deacon Ernest Diggory for helping too and not forgetting those who provided the refresments !

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