St Alban’s School write messages of hope

Cecilia Davison from St Alban’s in Macclesfield writes about the wonderful opportunity she had to take the Lampedusa Cross in to the Parish Primary School.

As a member of St Alban’s (Macclesfield) Justice & Peace Group, on Monday 4 July I children-holding-crosshad the privilege of taking the Lampedusa Cross to St Alban’s Primary School during the week one of such crosses was staying at our Parish.

I was given the opportunity of leading Morning Assembly, and aided by a short presentation we had a very lively, interactive, and moving discussion about the plight of the refugees.

Prayers and messages of hope were mentioned as ways of showing compassion and support for all displaced people, and on leaving assembly the children were allowed to gently touch the cross from Lampedusa to show their sorrow and respect.

After the other children left, the G.I.F.T. team had the opportunity to hold the cross and to listen to more stories about fleeing families.

assemblyWith the full support of Mrs Teresa Cooke, St Alban’s Headteacher, the G.I.F.T. team took the responsibility over the following weeks, for encouraging other children to:

  • write messages of hope and
  • participate in prayers organised by the team.

G.I.F.T. stands for Growing In Faith Together, a Chaplaincy type of initiative, which Shrewsbury Diocese has recently launched in 5 of its schools (4 Primary – St Alban’s; St Bernadette; St Mary’s; St Paul’s, and 1 Secondary All Hallows). It is aimed at children who have already received their First Communion, and at present at St Alban’s there are 5 Year 5 and 1 Year 6 girls making up the team led by Mrs Mónika Zorengi. They meet for 20 min every Friday lunchtime.

With the cooperation of teachers (Mrs Rhodes from Year 6 in particular), the team not only wrote messages themselves, but invited friends to do so. In total the G.I.F.T. team, gathered 40 cards, which they were very happy to pass onto to me on Monday 24 October, when I was invited back to the school.

In October they also organised occasions of prayer for the refugees. As October is the month of the Rosary, they prayed the whole rosary over three lunchtimes. They chose rosary-of-lightsto meditate on the Mysteries of Light, and they would switch on a candle every time they prayed either ‘Our Father’, ‘Hail Mary’ or ‘Glory be…’. As they were in the playground ‘building’ the rosary as they prayed everyone who wanted to join them was made welcome and at times they had more than 20 children praying together. It was at such times that some children also wrote their messages of hope.

One more idea from one of the girls in the G.I.F.T. team was to use the picture of the Lampedusa Cross to finish their rosary, as a reminder that their prayers were being offered up for the refugees.

It was simply wonderful for me to have had this opportunity. Thank you to all, especially Keith Taylor, and Bridget Fenwick for this!

Volunteering with CAFOD Shrewsbury

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Could you help us with any of these voluntary roles in your local worshipping community?

Parish Organiser

Parish Volunteer Team Member

Speaker

MP Correspondent

Campaigns Coordinator

Education Volunteer

Office Volunteer

Media Volunteer

Parish Organiser

The role of our Parish Organisers is vital. You would be our CAFOD ambassador at your parish, thanking everyone for their support and helping us demonstrate the life-changing work they are making possible all over the world. Your first task would be to find others to help you form a small team. We also know that parishes with volunteer teams feel far more supported and encouraged in their work for CAFOD.

The main focus of the role is around our twice yearly Fast Days (Lent and Harvest). At this time of year, we will contact you to ask you to carry out a number of tasks such as checking that the envelopes have arrived at the presbytery, arranging for these to be given out, ensuring a note is in the newsletter, putting up a poster and organising a short talk after each Mass. This really makes all the difference and this is why recruiting a small team to help you is best.

We would also contact our Parish Organisers in the event of a global emergency to keep you informed and to ask for your help at this time.

We especially value your presence at our twice yearly Supporters’ Meetings where we arrange for speakers from Head Office to talk about their hands on experience working overseas so your knowledge of our work is always growing and you are equipped to answer any questions about CAFOD in your local area. As our Parish Organiser we’d also need you to keep in touch with us – by email or phone to let us know what’s happening – especially around Fast Days – but we’ll be glad to hear from you at any time of the year.

If you feel you could help, please get in touch on 01244 677594 or shrewsbury@cafod.org.uk

Parish Team Member

Could you help a Parish Coordinator at your local church? We really need more people who are prepared to help out and form a small team. Ideally we’re looking for one or even two volunteers per Mass. This would be enormously helpful to your Parish Organiser (see above) who remains in contact with us here locally. Tasks could include assisting the Organiser with a number of things such as putting up a poster perhaps in each worshipping community, making sure our notices are in the newsletter, thanking people in person for their support, perhaps even speaking – whatever you are able to do to help raise awareness of CAFOD’s work. Your role is incredibly valuable. Parishes with small teams of people to support and encourage one another are real forces for change!

As a parish team member you would receive our monthly e-newsletters and are actively encouraged to keep in touch by, for example, attending our bi-annual Supporter Meetings. Please contact us on 01244 677594 or shrewsbury@cafod.org.uk  if you feel you could help. We really need more parish team members EVERYWHERE so all offers of assistance will be welcomed!

Speaker

Could you give a talk at Mass about CAFOD’s work in your local community? If so – please do get in touch! We’d love to hear from you. We aim to have a short 2 minute talk after every Mass twice a year in each worshipping community around Fast Days to thank communities for their valued support and demonstrate just how much of an impact this is having around the world. The talks are pre-prepared and would be sent to you in advance. We would also actively encourage you to attend our Supporter Meeting – which would take place just before a Fast Day and normally includes a speaker who has hands on experience of our work in the particular country we are focussing on that year. We also go through the resources available that will help you prepare.

But as a speaker – you may be moved to make a short appeal at other times of the year – at a time of a global emergency for example or about a campaign that you feel passionately about.

If you feel you could help, please get in touch on 01244 677594 or shrewsbury@cafod.org.uk

MP Correspondent

Join us and help create a better future for all by becoming an MP correspondent with CAFOD. This is a really important role as through letters and meetings with MPs, CAFOD supporters have already changed government policy. In the past few years alone, volunteers have helped secure tough laws to cut carbon emissions and tackle climate change.

Three times a year, you would be asked to send your MP a letter or email on an important global justice issue. You would be given a thorough briefing and then asked to contact your MP. Some MP correspondents also meet with their MPs at their local MP surgeries too.   Sign up today here.

Campaigns Coordinator

Are you passionate about global justice?

We are looking for a Volunteer Campaign Co-ordinator to assist us in raising the profile of campaigning across the diocese using networks, media opportunities and face to face events to encourage more members of the Catholic community to lobby policy makers and local MPs, through card signing, letter writing and social media communications. The time commitment will vary depending on the time of the year and the role can be carried out from home. Expenses reimbursed, training and support provided.

For more information including a role description contact us on 01244 677594  or shrewsbury@cafod.org.uk if you are interested.

Education Volunteer

The role of a School or Education Volunteer is really varied and rewarding.  Visits are organised around your availability and you can choose whether you work in a primary or secondary school (or both).   We try to link each Education Volunteer to at least one school and we generally ask you to make contact with that school at least once a term (so at least three times a year).  You may be asked to deliver an assembly or a longer classroom based session. The range of topics again can vary – from speaking generally on global injustice to talking about a particular theme such as health, food, Fairtrade, or water etc.

We have lots of resources to help and we offer full training.  Volunteers are not expected to be an expert or have a teaching background but what is essential is an ability to communicate with young people. The training for this position is normally 2 days in length and may be held at CAFOD Head Office in Romero House, London. Safeguarding training is included and the role requires an Enhanced CRB check with the Shrewsbury diocese.  We also take up references.

For more information on this role please contact us on 01244 677594 or shrewsbury@cafod.org.uk if you are interested.

Office Volunteer

Could you help us at our volunteer centre here in Chester?  Ideally, you would be handy with a computer and able to use Excel and Word. You would be tasked with keeping our supporters data up to date, by updating our database with relevant changes and you’d help us log all the activities carried out by volunteers across the diocese.  You may be also be involved with preparing packs or materials for events or answering enquiries.  All help gratefully received. For more information, please contact us on 01244677594 or shrewsbury@cafod.org.uk

Media Volunteer

We’re looking for someone who could help us raise awareness of CAFOD’s work within this diocese both in newspapers, radio, in the diocesan press and our own blog and social media accounts.

You would need to be able to write short articles on volunteers’ events (e.g. skydives, Lenten lunches, Golf days etc) for a variety of audiences. You’d also need to be able to contact volunteers to find out what’s going on and get good quotes for press releases. We have a LOT of events so we’d need someone who can work quickly and accurately. If this sounds interesting to you – please contact us on 01244 677594 or shrewsbury@cafod.org.uk