“…A community needs a soul if it is to become a true home for human beings. You, the people must give it this soul.”
John Paul II
When we think of development we primarily think of economic progress, but we must also need to strive towards authentic development – allowing the individual to grow into the person God intended them to be……
Annabel Shilson – Thomas reflects on the Bible story of The rich man and Lazarus and the importance of this to us today. This parable calls us to look at our own lifestyles and the way we treat others…..
Valuing the sanctity of life as a Christian is to live life to the full with the central commitment of loving faith……
Gerry Proctor reflects on a visit he recently took to India and the generosity that was shown to him there. He explains that we must share the burden of the developing world extending the same generosity…….
Speaking for the indigenous people of Guyana, Paul Martin, a member of the Jesuit Society reflects on his work and the challenges faced at times…….
Deacon Pat Taylor reflects on the reading of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 12 and the call to parish members to use their gifts to reach others. Deacon Taylor also emphasises that more responsibility should be given to lay people to reach the public, helping the elderly, sick and young……
The power of community for those going through struggles and dealing with life’s hard lessons is felt strongly in this prayer.
This short prayer encourages us to life a full life, building the community and caring for the earth, delighting in diversity.
COMMUNITY AND PARTICIPATION STORIES:
1. Football, Prayer and McNuggets
A Companions Programme was put in place linking pupils in Britain with their counterparts in Harare, Zimbabwe. Teacher Eileen Groenen from Donhead Lodge, Wimbledon, talks enthusiastically on the success of the programme and what this meant for the pupils……
2. STREETfaith – Helping the Homeless
For years churches and councils have been working with homeless people, sometimes at cross purposes. STREETfaith is an organisation that has been starting to bridge the gap between churches and councils, encouraging them to work together…….
3. A quiet-ish revolution
In a small village in Cambodia a great change is taking place. The stereotypes and patriarchal structures of society are being shattered and the women are being empowered. A Cafod partner goes to this small Cambodian village to see the results of this revolution first hand…..
4. Bringing life to film
The people of Sierra Leone have experienced great troubles in the last century and particularly in recent conflict. Yet things are starting to look up for this West-African country as a peaceful election signals a new hope for stability. A new initiative has been started to make the people’s voice heard, which uses short digital films created by local people to express their opinions and needs.
5. Talowadag, hope for people with HIV
“If you tell me my wife’s HIV positive, I’ll kill her …” Unfortunately this is a prime example of the sort of attitude facing those with HIV in developing countries. Talowadag, an organisation in Somaliland works to support and treat HIV sufferers and it also works towards changing attitudes and removing the stigmas attached to HIV……
6. Thembinkosi Foundation
Thembinkosi means ‘Trust in God’ in Ndebele (The Ndebele tribe of South African) and can lead to amazing things. One man and his family were inspired by this and created the Thembinkosi Foundation. This has been involved in the creation of a self sustaining school in Zambia to teach a community how to farm effectively in an environmentally friendly way……
7. Street Pastors, helping the community
Street Pastors work in various cities across the UK to provide a hand to those who may be at risk late at night. Street Pastors in Southwark tell of an encounter with a man at risk from gang violence and how their help ensured his safe return home instead of what could have been a nasty encounter……..
8. St Mary’s Horsforth Youth SVP group
Young adults from the parish of St Mary’s in Horsforth, near Leeds, have formed an SVP group and have been working to help their local community. After founding the Catholic youth group under their own initiative, the members have been fundraising for a range of important projects and have been enjoying themselves at the same time……
9. Community building beyond the prison wall
Faith based initiatives are helping prisoners to get back into society and away from reoffending. Feltham Community Chaplaincy Trust (FCCT) is made up of volunteers who mentor former prisoners having a positive effect on all of those involved.
10. Oscar Romero
Priest Oscar Romero was originally thought to be a shy man but he spoke out vehemently for the people of El Salvador, and was killed as a result of his protest…….
11. Cardinal Hume
Cardinal Hume is remembered for uniting the church to a state of harmony which had not previously been seen for 400 years. His talent of keeping the peace and promoting harmony was shown through the friendships he formed across denominations; believing the love of God was central to solving conflicts between individuals.
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