The talk, entitled “Poverty or Simplicity?  Survival or development?” was hosted by Bishop John Arnold, who visited the Central American countries of Nicaragua and El Salvador in November, 2016.

  El Salvador was badly affected by a civil war which lasted over a decade from 1980 until 1992.

Bishop John Arnold

Bishop John, who is chair of the Catholic aid agency CAFOD, shared his thoughts from his ten-day trip to Central America, where he saw for himself some of the important work the charity does with communities in Nicaragua and El Salvador.

  He said, “Many young men in El Salvador were pressed into the army.  The area has suffered in recent years by the increasing control of gangs.”

  Bishop John continued, “For some years I have had meetings in one of the conference rooms at CAFOD’s Romero House where there is a lovely picture on the wall of a beautiful and smiling family – presumably from Central America.  On the trip I met them!  We stopped to talk to a driver who had come to give directions and I thought ‘I recognise you!’  I asked and it was confirmed that he, Fidel Ramos, and his family were in the photograph in London.”

Fidel Ramos with his family


  CAFOD supporter, Clare Gardner, was at the talk and felt inspired by the stories which were shared by Bishop John.  She said, “Bishop John brought to life the work that CAFOD is doing in Central America.  It was a privilege to hear from someone who has seen it first hand and I’m sure everyone who attended went away reinvigorated in their commitment to CAFOD.”

  The talk was part of CAFOD’s Connect2 scheme which links communities in England and Wales with people in Brazil, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Cambodia and Peru.

  Connect2 is built on CAFOD’s values of solidarity and partnership, where parishes in the UK are able to stand alongside communities overseas to fight against poverty and injustice.  For more information, visit cafod.org.uk/connect2.