Meet the volunteer - Andrew
Andrew retired from working with CAFOD in 2008, but says you never really retire from CAFOD and is now busy supporting us as a parish volunteer, MP Correspondent and climate campaigner – his parish is even working towards the LiveSimply award.
What first attracted you to CAFOD?
As a Catholic, I had become aware of CAFOD through Fast Day appeals at church. Having talked with friends and fellow parishioners, I came to appreciate how well respected and trusted a charity it was, so I started to donate.
For many years, this was all I did, but the more I got to know about CAFOD’s work and the more I learned about Catholic Social Teaching the more committed I became. For me, supporting CAFOD is a tangible way for me to try to put my faith into action.
Tell us about what you’re doing for CAFOD now
Most of what I can do for CAFOD today is through our local justice and peace group. The group started last year in St Gregory’s Parish and it now has members from four of the ten parishes in the Chorley pastoral area. Our hope over this next year is to extend membership across all the parishes in the pastoral area.
Since its inception, the group has supported a number of CAFOD projects and we held our first Creation Mass last October. St Gregory’s parish itself has agreed to apply for a LiveSimply award and plans are currently being finalised.
I also continue to act as an MP Correspondent. Our local MP for Chorley is Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who is now the Speaker of the House of Commons. Although this means that he cannot speak in debates or vote on issues, he does have considerable influence throughout Whitehall and has asked to be kept informed about CAFOD’s concerns and campaigns.
The other key area in which I get involved whenever and wherever I can is in promoting awareness of climate change and supporting campaigns and demos for action. Being a physicist by profession, and having made a study of climate change, I am desperately concerned about the existential threat which this poses to humanity. This isn’t just a matter of survival, it is a matter of justice: the people who have done the least to cause the problem are amongst the first and the worst to suffer. If the opportunity arises, I would like to get even more involved with CAFOD’s work on climate change, and I am hoping that I might be able to go to COP26 in 2021.
If you were to meet someone who has been supported by a CAFOD project, what would you ask them?
Whether talking to someone who has been supported by a CAFOD project or to a CAFOD aid worker, I would be inclined to ask the same question: “What can you tell me from your own experience that would help to encourage other people in England and Wales to support CAFOD?”
Why is what you’re doing today important?
I think the importance of anything we can do locally is twofold. Clearly, whatever can be done to boost fundraising enables CAFOD to provide more help and support to people in the developing world. In addition, every fundraising, campaigning, education or spirituality initiative raises awareness of what CAFOD does and gives witness to the faith which drives it. This is of particular importance, I think, to attract and encourage younger people to become actively involved.