Parishioners in Shrewsbury share Brazilian families’ joy after campaign success

Thanks to the support of parishioners from across the Diocese of Shrewsbury who were amongst the 4,000 people to support a CAFOD petition, over 1,000 people in São Paulo will spend this Christmas safe in the knowledge that they no longer face eviction from their home.

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#FicaMauá – Let them stay

In September 2017, CAFOD launched a campaign to halt the eviction of around 1,000 people living in the abandoned hotel in the centre of São Paulo, Brazil.

The Mauá Building in the centre of São Paulo stood empty for 17 years until 2007, when 237 working families moved in.  They lovingly renovated the building and for the last ten years have called it home.  The building has been home to a thriving community, providing a social use and revitalising an otherwise derelict area in the city centre.

Ever since they moved in, the families have been trying to win the legal rights to their home, which Brazilian law allows, asking that the authorities acquire the building and convert it into social housing for low-income families.

In a landmark case, after ongoing campaigning by the families, public authorities have agreed to purchase the building for around £4.6 million (20 million reais), allowing for it to be converted into social housing.

Your actions helped to bring about change

It is thanks to your support that the fear and uncertainty of losing their homes is no longer a reality for the families living in the Mauá community.

Neti de Araújo’s, a leader in the Mauá community, said:  “I want to thank each and every one of you for your support. I am very happy knowing there are people like you, our friends and companions.

“After so much struggle and sacrifice, ten years of ups and downs, it is finally feasible; we have persuaded the owners of the need for families to live here. The struggle will continue! Thank you!”

CAFOD’s representative in Shrewsbury, Bridget Fenwick, added: “The way that parishioners from Shrewsbury have rallied together to prevent this injustice, where over 1,000 people were threatened with being left on the streets this Christmas, has been astounding.

“We are so thankful that so many people in the diocese have acted: spreading the word, signing the petition and even standing in solidarity with the community by photographing themselves with a #ficamaua sign.

“Your prayers and messages of solidarity have given the families strength and hope at this difficult time.”

The fight continues

CAFOD will continue to support stand in solidarity and pray for the families in their struggle for a safe and permanent home.

Find out more about how you can directly support families in Brazil  


Bridgnorth church on quest to livesimply

A local MP has shown his support to a Bridgnorth church who took a pledge to live simply and in solidarity with the poor, in an award scheme led by the development charity CAFOD.

Bill Cash MP

Les Winwood and Christian Lea, Shropshire County Councillors, Fr. Iain Griffiths, Parish Priest, Bill Cash MP for Stafford and Bridget Cash his wife

Bill Cash MP joined his fellow parishioners from St John the Evangelist’s church, Bridgnorth, for Mass and a ceremony unveiling their new meditation garden, just one of many actions the group have taken as they work towards receiving their livesimply award.

The livesimply award is given to communities who can show they have been living simply, in solidarity with people in poverty and sustainably with creation.

The group have been busy since their project was introduced to the parish in March: litter picking the cemetery, hosting a knit and natter group, organising a teddy bears nature walk for toddlers and coming together to design and build a meditation garden for the community to enjoy.

At the launch of the garden, and to celebrate the end of the Season of Creation, well-behaved animals were invited and at least ten dogs joined their owners to come to the ceremony.

Mary Gilbert, one parishioner involved in the project, said: “We aren’t just doing this to tick off the actions; it’s really exciting to make a difference and see a wide range of people getting involved as we get the ball rolling.

Pets and parishioners

Parishioners with their pets!

“Everyone has truly come together, and it’s been a real community effort. It was great that so many people, including Bill Cash MP, the local deputy mayor and councillors, came along to support our efforts.”

Bill Cash, MP for Stone, said: “It was good to be able to spend the evening with such an inspiring group of people, and to see the actions those at St John the Evangelist’s church have been taking in their efforts to achieve the livesimply award.

“It is a real community effort and I wish them all the best with their endeavours.”

Bridget Fenwick, CAFOD’s local representative in Bridgnorth, added: “It was great to attend the mass and see the progress the parish have made towards receiving their livesimply award.

“The way the local community and the St John’s church have come together to make this happen is commendable, and I wish them all the best as they continue on their journey to become a livesimply parish!”

Find out more about the livesimply award


Shrewsbury Memorial Mass

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This November, the month of remembrance, CAFOD are once again holding Memorial Masses across the country to remember friends who have been at the heart of our work, but are no longer with us.

Our Mass in Shrewsbury is being held on Saturday 4 November at 12pm at  Our Lady Star of the Sea & St Bernard, 2a Enfield Road, Ellesmere Port, CH65 8BY.

Everybody is welcome to join us on the day, where there will be a Book of Remembrance to honour the people we have lost this year.

These Masses are our opportunity to stop and say thank you for the incredible impact our supporters have made. Without them we would not be able to reach those most in need.

Add your loved ones name to the Book of Remembrance.