Nearly 50 of our fantastic volunteers and supporters from the Diocese of Plymouth were overjoyed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of CAFOD at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 28th January. Representatives from the Catholic Women’s League, the Union of Catholic Mothers and Catenians joined thousands of fellow supporters to celebrate a Mass celebrated by over 25 Bishops and many clergy from across the country, including our own Canon John Deeny. CAFOD’s London Headquarters had also opened its doors that morning with an exhibition featuring stories, pictures and quotes from CAFOD’s history, providing an opportunity to learn more about the work that has been completed over the years and that which is yet to come.
During the Cathedral service, led by Archbishop Vincent Nichols, pictures of some of the inspirational people that have played a part in CAFOD’s history were carried through the Cathedral, but as well as being about gratitude and celebration, the service also gave voice to those we work with in the global south; Margaret Mwaniki, a CAFOD Board member had made the journey from Kenya to come for the full day’s celebrations. She said, “CAFOD stood by us during and after our darkest hours in the 2007 post-election violence. The organisation has supported over half a million people affected by the East Africa food crisis. Coming to England, I have enjoyed the luxury of clean tap water and also having a shower without having to fetch a jerry-can of water and starting a fire. May this campaign bring hope to the thirsty millions across the world.”
“What a wonderful celebration we had at Westminster,” says Teresa Bailey, one of our parish contacts from Our Lady of the Assumption in Torquay. “The Mass was really joyous and uplifting. I felt really honoured to be a part of CAFOD, because we all make a difference in our own small way.” Heather Stone from St. Catherine’s in Wimborne agrees, “I thoroughly enjoyed the Mass in Westminster Cathedral, it was a wonderful occasion and I felt privileged to be there.”
After Mass, a reception was held in Westminster Cathedral Hall, for fellow supporters, volunteers and key CAFOD contacts. Chris Bain, Director of CAFOD said, “The day reaffirmed for me and I hope for the entire CAFOD community, that we are part of an organisation that lives out Gospel values every day as we reach out to the poorest people wherever they may be, alleviating suffering and tackling injustice wherever we encounter it.”