A Belgian nun, a pampered poodle and you: CAFOD marks 50 years of Lent Fast Day
CAFOD is calling on its supporters to turn biscuits into bicycles and wine into water, to mark the 50th anniversary of its annual fundraising initiative, Lent Fast Day.
Over the last 50 years more than £65 million has been raised by ordinary people at Lent Fast Day, which has transformed the lives of thousands of people living in extreme poverty throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America.
50This year, the Catholic agency is using the occasion to show people how they can truly make a difference with a re-launch of Lent Fast Day under the theme Give it up! And asking its supporters to join them in making this a celebration of what has been achieved and what continues to be achieved in tackling poverty worldwide.
Simon Giarchi CAFOD’s Diocesan manager for the Plymouth Diocese said: “Firstly a huge thank you to our supporters, young and old, new or long-term. Without their compassion and generosity hundreds of thousands of people would be worse off. CAFOD wouldn’t be able to provide food or clean water, small business loans, healthcare and education, or speak out and change the systems that cause these injustices. This money has saved lives and changed lives.
“Thanks to the prophetic vision and action of Catholic Women, over the past 50 years Lent Fast Day has offered an opportunity for Catholics to put their faith into action by making a personal sacrifice, as well as making a donation to help some of the world’s poorest people. This Lent we’re encouraging our supporters to Give it up! Instead of indulging in their favourite treat, to give it up throughout Lent so the money saved can transform the lives of someone who is less fortunate through no fault of their own. We’re asking the question – could you turn biscuits into bicycles this Lent? Bicycles are vital for community health workers to reach patients in the most rural areas.”
Lent Fast Day was started in 1960 by a small group of Catholic women from the National Board of Catholic Women (NBCW), Catholic Women’s League (CWL) and Union of Catholic Mothers (UCM).They were motivated to help mothers and babies dying of starvation in Dominica, a project inspired by Belgian nun Sister Mary Alicia. This amazing group were so moved by the plight of others, their fundraising effort was not a one-off event. Supported by the now deceased Cardinal Godfrey, who argued in a pastoral letter that the money spent on pampered poodles would be best spent helping ‘our hungry brethren’, two years later the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales agreed that CAFOD would be their official development agency. Without Fast Days, CAFOD would not exist today
Sheila Watkins, Regional Representative for CWL in the Plymouth Diocese said: “Unfortunately, the places and the reasons for poverty may have changed but there is still no reason why anyone in the world should go to sleep at night hungry. Let’s continue the legacy that has been started – we want to remind people, our families and friends, that whilst so much has been achieved, we can’t stop, the need is great and it really remains crucial that we try and raise as much as we possibly can.“
Join Bishop Christopher, the CAFOD Plymouth team, representatives from Plymouth schools, and members of the CWL and the UCM at the special Mass celebrating the 50th anniversary of Fast Day at Plymouth Cathedral 12 noon.
For more information please contact the CAFOD Plymouth team on 01752 551 679