Michael Fay – R.I.P. – Saying Farewell to our Key Volunteer & friend

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Michael Fay R.I.P.

As many of you will have heard, our beloved friend and key volunteer for over 20 years, Michael Fay, sadly passed away recently.

Unearth Justice Torbay Deanery Action 2007

Unearth Justice Torbay Deanery Action 2007

Michael volunteered for CAFOD for almost a quarter of a century, and served as CAFOD Parish contact, a member of the CAFOD Diocesan Team and as CAFOD Deanery Coordinator for Torbay. In all things he approached his volunteering with seriousness, yet with humour and a gentle warmth for all he came across. He was a tireless advocate for justice and stood in solidarity alongside our poorer sisters and brothers, and his passion and commitment to live out the Gospel inspired a great many people here in the Diocese of Plymouth and indeed transformed the lives of thousands around the world.

Michael Speaking for CAFOD 2012

As well as his key roles for CAFOD Southwest/CAFOD Plymouth, Michael also worked as Diocesan Communications Officer for the Diocese of Plymouth and was an active member of the Cursillo movement and also represented CAFOD and the Catholic Community with Churches Together in Paignton.

Many of us who were his friends, and who worked closely with Michael are heartbroken from his sudden loss, and will remember him in our prayers and forever hold in our hearts; but we can rest assured we have a very powerful advocate with the Lord for our faith-filled work for social justice.

Please join us in praying for Michael and perhaps join us at his funeral, which will take place on Friday 15th September at 10am at his parish church:

Sacred Heart Church 24 Cecil Road Paignton TQ3 2SH

Eternal rest give unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine on him, may he rest in peace.

CAFOD Team 008

CAFOD & the CAFOD team in Paignton

Priory Colourful Fundraising Fun Run

We are delighted to share an update from one of our fantastic schools, Priory in Torquay. We are sure you will agree it is such a fantastic story that will not only have a huge amount of impact though its support for CAFOD’s programmes and partners, but it would have also had a huge impact on individual pupils providing them colourful memories.

Blast of colour at the end of 1/2 Fun Run

The school writes:

After the success of last year’s Fun Run, Priory School took part in a ‘Charity Colour Run Half Marathon’ to raise funds for CAFOD. Training took place after school on Tuesdays between April and July. The children involved had to attend all sessions in order to have completed the required distance by the final session. Some of our training took place off site in the surrounding area. The final ‘thirteenth’ mile was concluded on July 11th 2017 taking place on Priory’s school field. Upon completion of the thirteenth mile, a ‘Colour Paint Throw’ took place which was quite a big, bright and colour crazy event. Children were also presented with a medal as a reward for their amazing achievement.

We are very proud of our pupils and delighted to have raised £175.00.

Blast of colour at the end of 1/2 Fun Run - Priory School Torquay.

Pupil testimonies:

I enjoyed the whole thing, especially those excitable moments when I got my dazzling golden medal and when I tipped baby blue powder paint over my head and white shirt, (which is now yellow, blue and purple.) When I needed help the amazing teachers – including my mum – were always there with compliments and support. And one of the best things was that my friends were there; Petta and Zoe.

Katie – Class 5

The half marathon was lots of work. It was tiring. It was good exercise.  On our last run we had some paint, it was messy but lots of fun and a hard job.  I think it is a great sport.

Brogan – Class 2

A huge congratulations and thanks from all of us at CAFOD to the amazing pupils and staff at Priory Catholic Primary School and their wonderful supportive parents.

 

Step into the GAP: James finishes his CAFOD Gap year placement at St Mary’s Catholic Academy in Blackpool

James Ronan 24, has written a reflective piece about finishing Step into the Gap, sharing stories of Cambodia, his highlights and what his hopes are for a future career.

So the time has come to say goodbye to Blackpool and St Mary’s Catholic Academy. It has been incredible year, moving all the way up from Devon to live in Blackpool to volunteer for CAFOD. It has probably been the biggest step in my life so far. Literally Stepping into the Gap in Blackpool: moving to a new area, not knowing anybody and starting a new life for a year. It has all worked out and I have had so many amazing experiences, made new friends and have met so many inspiring people, most notably in Cambodia with my fellow CAFOD gappers.

It has been great to play my small part in being able to share CAFOD’s work this year working in the Diocese of Lancaster and living within the parish at St John Vianney Presbytery. Working at St Mary’s as part of the chaplaincy team has been an absolute joy and I will have very fond memories of the team and the work we have achieved this year. My highlights include co-organising the 6th form Climate debate for CAFOD’s Speak Up campaign with guest MPs Paul Maynard and Gordon Marsden in October 2016. Leading sessions with Year 7s during form time about the Refugee crisis and the Lampedusa cross, and presenting assemblies to all college forms with the chaplaincy team on Justice January and CAFOD’s renewable energy campaign Power to Be.

Find out more about the Power to Be campaign

The Cambodia visit in January was so inspiring and affirming for me of CAFOD’s work overseas. Previously in Devon I had helped fundraise a lot for CAFOD (over £7,000) never really knowing the impact such fundraising was having. Seeing first-hand the difference my parish fundraising had made over the years as well as all the collective impact of the Catholic communities’ support in England and Wales on the other side of the world in Cambodia was elevating.

Photo 1 CAFOD Gappers with Singha

The CAFOD gappers alongside their interpreter for their first week, Singha former director of CAFOD Partner Village Support Group.

It’s an experience I will never forget. I have very fond memories of the Cambodian people we visited during our time in Battambang and Siem Reap who were so welcoming and CAFOD’s partners Village Support Group and Srer Khmer who we spent time with. On my return to the UK, the last few months of my placement have been about sharing CAFOD campaigns, fundraising and sharing the inspirational stories of the people I met and spent time with in Cambodia. In May I visited the CAFOD Plymouth Schools Volunteers to share about my Cambodia experiences and I also shared with parishioners after Mass at my old parish church in Tavistock.

Volunteer for CAFOD

As well as sharing my CAFOD Step into the Gap experiences this year with students, parishioners and CAFOD volunteers, I have also been able to share my gap year work with British and American Actors. In May I managed to share about my CAFOD gap year work with actress Hannah Spearritt (S Club 7) and actor Andrew-Lee Potts (from ITVs Primeval) at a comic convention in Huddersfield. In June I also shared with British actor Paul Blackthorne (TV show Arrow) and American actress Danielle Panabaker (TV show The Flash) at a convention in Blackpool. It has been a fantastic year of sharing CAFOD’s work with others, the important stories of the Cambodian people I met and my work as a CAFOD Gapper working at St Mary’s Catholic Academy in Blackpool.

More recently from the 7th to the 9th of July in Oxford the CAFOD gappers had a final weekend get together, for our final evaluation and celebration. The weekend was fantastic. Myself and the other gappers went out for a meal on the Friday evening which was an opportunity to catch up about our CAFOD work and the things we had been doing. On the Saturday we were joined by CAFOD staff Catherine Jones and Lucy Jardine who run the Step into the Gap programme as well as Sister Ann who is a part of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus who are one of the partners of the Step into the Gap programme.

Photo 2 Footprints of CAFOD Sharing

Prayers and representations of the CAFOD gappers sharing across the year.

We began the Saturday morning with prayer and reflection, writing on cut-out hands the people who have made a difference to our lives this year. We also used cut-out footprints to represent the people we had shared CAFOD’s work with this year, thinking about the impact of our CAFOD sharing. On the Saturday evening we all went out for a final meal with Catherine, Lucy and Sister Ann to celebrate our accomplishments this year completing the Step into the GAP programme.

There are so many people I would like to ‘Thank’ this year so I will only mention a few. I would like to ‘Thank’ everyone at St Mary’s and the parish of St John Vianney as well as everyone involved with the Step into the Gap programme, especially Bishop Michael Campbell and CAFOD staff Catherine Jones, Lucy Jardine and Patrick Gardner. I would like to say a big ‘Thank You’ to Fr Peter Sharrock and Sister Ann for their support this year in Blackpool and I would also like to ‘Thank’ this year’s CAFOD Gappers: Rod, Charlotte, Sophie, Bridgid, Lizzie, Sophie and Hannah for making this year so memorable and amazing.

Photo 3 Gappers Together

The CAFOD gappers for 2016-2017 in Oxford for their last time together.

In terms of my future I am moving down to Somerset for the time being. I have gained so many skills and have had so many new experiences this year that I hope to be able to use these to eventually develop a career in a Catholic Diocese somewhere or to work for a charity in the development sector. I hope to be able to continue to put my Catholic faith into action building on everything I have achieved so far and I am excited about what the future holds for me.

                          Find out more about Step into the Gap