In the exhortation Evangelii Gaudium Pope Francis asks us to consider deeply what is meant by evangelisation and how the joy of the Gospel can be transmitted to today’s world, not just by priests, but by lay people who are as he says ‘the vast majority of the people of God’. The Pope challenges us to join together prayer and action, and to rethink our priorities as a society, focusing our attention on the poorest and most excluded.
If we believe in the basics of Christianity as exemplified in the life of Jesus Christ we can’t help realising that there’s more to it than turning up at Church on a Sunday morning and joining in the celebration of the Mass. We need to be able show our faith, by doing what we can to be ‘good citizens’ in our relationships with people we meet and, if we have time after fulfilling our family responsibilities, to be prepared to support or work for one of the numerous charities which exist to help the poor, the sick and those in any sort of need, in our own country or abroad.
CAFOD, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, is very keen to take the Pope’s words to heart. In Sierra Leone, a small African country, which has had a period of 11 years of civil war and exploitation, CAFOD has helped a family to grow rice and maize on land which was left over from earlier diamond mining operations. This has enabled 14 year old Mohammed to help feed his family through the ‘hungry season’ – six months of the year in which nothing grows and food is extremely scarce. The family will sell the surplus crop to pay for Mohammed’s siblings’ school fees. Mohammed’s dream is to save enough money so that he can go back to school next year and finish his education.
In the Lent Appeal CAFOD will be asking us to DIG DEEP: into ourselves, into the roots of our faith, and finally into our pockets this Fast Day to help the thousands of poor, hungry and threatened people on “this earth which is our common home and where all of us are brothers and sisters” (Pope Francis).
Dr Malcolm McDonald, CAFOD volunteer, parishioner of Our Lady of Beauchief and St Thomas of Canterbury Parish
CAFOD Dig Deep Ideas for Lent
Pray and reflect
Pray in solidarity with our brothers and sisters throughout the world and dig deep. This doesn’t mean just digging deep into our pockets, it means digging deep inside of ourselves and our faith.
Give as part of your parish’s Lent Fast Day collection, online or in response to a direct mail appeal. The CAFOD Fast Day envelopes also offer the opportunity to give a regular gift to provide food for today, and seeds, tools and livestock for tomorrow, so everyone can share God’s abundance.
Dig deep into the soil in community and school activities. It’s the time of year for planting and sowing. As a community action and symbol of solidarity, you could plant seeds in your back garden, allotment or parish garden.
Notice what you’re putting on your plate and make positive choices – to buy Fairtrade, cut waste and eat sustainably – to help ensure that everyone around the world has enough to eat too.