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

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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.

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CAFOD & the CAFOD team in Paignton

Step into the GAP: Sharing stories of Cambodia in Blackpool, Devon and Somerset

James Ronan, who visited Cambodia on CAFOD’s Step into the Gap, talks about how he has been sharing his experiences of seeing CAFOD’s work in Cambodia.

Since returning from Cambodia I have had the privilege of being able to share the important stories of the people we spent time with on the visit overseas. I have been giving talks and sharing my experiences of CAFOD’s work with students, staff and parishioners in my placement at St Mary’s Catholic Academy and the parish of St John Vianney in Blackpool and across the country. It has been an amazing opportunity sharing the monumental work achieved in Cambodia in such a short space of time only made possible through the Catholic communities support here in England and Wales through CAFOD.

Both myself and fellow gapper Hannah (who went to Ethiopia) had the opportunity to share on the 4th April about our overseas visits at a parish evening at St John Vianney, which was attended by nineteen people. I shared the stories of the Cambodian communities we met in Ou Breus village and how through CAFOD and its partners support the community now has better access to clean safe drinking water through the development of a water pump. For the presentation evening for parishioners I cooked a Cambodian dessert called Kuay Kamuan (Bananas cooked in Coconut milk) and Hannah cooked Ethiopian spinach which went down really well.

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James shares Step into the Gap Cambodia visit with parishioners at an evening at St John Vianney’s in Blackpool.

Most recently I travelled back down to Devon where I am originally from to share the Step into the Gap experience with CAFOD Plymouth School Volunteers at their training day in Honiton. It was great to catch up with CAFOD staff members Simon Giarchi and David Brinn about my work and be able to talk to school volunteers about seeing CAFOD’s work first hand and how through not only parishes but schools engaging in CAFOD fundraising, change has been achieved.

A few days after my visit in Honiton I gave a presentation on Sunday after Mass at Our Lady of the Assumption & St Mary Magdalene in Tavistock (my old parish church) which was attended by over sixty parishioners. Again this presentation was really well received and raised over £100 for CAFOD in donations.  It was nice to go back to the parish where previously I had so much CAFOD input (was previously the CAFOD parish contact and a volunteer for CAFOD Plymouth in my time as a parishioner).

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James at the CAFOD Plymouth schools volunteers training day sharing about the Step into the Gap Cambodia visit.

The week after I travelled over to Somerset where I was warmly welcomed by the parish of St Thomas More in Bradford on Avon to share the stories of the Cambodian people I met and to kick start the parish in getting involved in CAFOD’s work.

On Sunday the 21st of May I attended Mass at the parish and was warmly welcomed by the whole congregation. I shared a little about my placement at St Mary’s, my gap year experience and the importance of CAFOD’s work in Cambodia. I then invited parishioners to listen to my talk after Mass which was in the Hub next door, it was great to see such enthusiasm from the parish about getting involved in CAFOD’s work. Around twenty parishioners attended the presentation after Mass where there was tea, coffee and cake with all donations going towards CAFOD’s work overseas. In total the parish raised £200 for CAFOD from my sharing of CAFOD’s work in Cambodia which was a fantastic achievement and it is hoped now that the parish will go on to fund-raise and get more involved in CAFOD’s work.

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James sharing with parishioners of St Thomas More. 

It has been great to share the first hand experiences of CAFOD’s and its partners with others and the important stories of the Cambodian people I met and spent time with in Cambodia. I am really looking forward to the last few months in my placement in Blackpool working at St Mary’s getting students involved in CAFOD’s work.

Hundreds walk in solidarity as Lampedusa Cross is delivered to Plymouth shores by Royal Navy

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Bishop Mark O’Toole with CofE Arch-Deacon Ian Chandler, representatives from the Royal Navy and Oliver Colevile MP with the Lampedusa Cross on the Mayflower Steps

Marking the end of the Year of Mercy, hundreds from across the Diocese of Plymouth gathered in Plymouth city centre, travelling from as far away as Wool in Dorset and Truro in Cornwall, to take part in a Walk of Witness in solidarity with refugees. The Walk was led by Bishop Mark O’Toole, who walked alongside the diocesan Lampedusa Cross – a cross hand carved from the wreckage of refugee boats, the group walked to Plymouth Roman Catholic Cathedral, where a multi-faith service will took place.

Write a message of hope to refugees

As part of a campaign led by CAFOD and our partners CSAN and the Jesuit Refugee Service, each Catholic cathedral in England and Wales has been gifted a cross and invited to display it. The Lampedusa Crosses have become an international symbol of remembrance, hope and solidarity with refugees.

The Presentation of the Lampedusa Cross

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Royal Navy launch delivering the Lampedusa Cross to Bishop Mark and faith leaders at the Mayflower Steps

At the start of the day, representatives from the Royal Navy, who have been involved in European led rescue operations in the Mediterranean, symbolically delivered the Lampedusa cross by boat to Catholic Bishop of Plymouth, Mark O’Toole and Anglican Archdeacon of Plymouth, Ian Chandler and other faith leaders, landing at The Mayflower Steps.

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Bishop Mark at Walk of Witness

Bishop Mark O’Toole said:  “Lampedusa is the place where, within his first months, Pope Francis went and he asked the question from the beginning of the Bible, ‘Where is your brother?’ reminding all of us that these people are our brothers and sisters.

 

“We share a common humanity and whilst there are great challenges in our immigration policy which we’re all very sensitive of, nevertheless particularly for families and for children, we must have a great compassion and empathy for them. It’s been good for our country that we’ve been able to welcome some of those that are most endangered at this time.”

Standing together to show solidarity

CAFOD organised the event alongside the Catholic Diocese of Plymouth, the Anglican Diocese of Exeter, Justice and Peace Plymouth, and local charity Transforming Plymouth Together.

Co-organiser of the event, CAFOD’s Coordinator for the Diocese of Plymouth, Simon Giarchi, said:

“It was inspirational to see people from across the diocese come together to represent their communities and show solidarity with their brothers and sisters who are seeking sanctuary. On the day, we received hundreds of messages of hope for refugees from across the diocese, that were then blessed at the interfaith service.

“We had nothing but positive feedback from the public and it was very affirming experience for everyone. I would like to thank everyone who came and helped organise this fantastic event.”

People in the South West and around the country have been invited to share their messages with refugees; CAFOD have now received over 24,000 messages!

Write a message of hope to refugees