Us in support of CAFOD
Justice & Peace activities in the parish of St Francis of Assisi in South Ascot UK


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And to celebrate 50 Years of CAFOD,
our unique CAFOD Romero Cross

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Bracknell & Ascot News December 2012

Over the 50 years since the founding of CAFOD
the parish, schools and
individuals have a fine record of support for the highly-regarded Catholic Agency for Overseas Development - the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England & Wales.

CAFOD is part of the 160+ agencies in the Caritas International network of Catholic aid agencies around the world, and itself helps in around 50 countries - providing emergency relief, long-term development, education and advocacy on social justice.

CAFOD is also one of the 13 UK agencies forming the Disasters Emergency Appeal.

As well as giving to the twice-yearly Lenten and Harvest Fast Days and disasters appeals, many parishioners also make regular donations. 

Popular too are legacies, World Gifts at Christmas, and Candlelight Funds in memory of a loved one.

Many special fundraising events also take place across the country.

Our Parish Contact is CAFOD Portsmouth Volunteer Hugh Gibbons - available on 01344 451847 or

The CAFOD Portsmouth Office is in Aldershot. The team of Lynda Mussell and Laura Bigoni support many activities across the diocese, and have a blog with news of activities in many parishes and schools.












St Francis Parish contributed uniquely
to the Thirst for Change Campaign -
see below for how we helped

CAFOD Romero Cross
celebrating 50 years of our support


St Francis Signing Up - and Singing Out - for Social Justice

  Parishioners have taken part in many of the peaceful rallies for social justice in which CAFOD has played a leading role. But they've also supported campaigns without travel! 

For example, in October 2011, the parish had a mass signing and sent over 100 postcards off to Chancellor George Osborne as a contribution to CAFOD's Don't Drop the Ball on Climate Change campaign. Over 10,000 were handed in to him at 11 Downing Street (right).

Members of the CAFOD team at Romero House in London are seen below modelling the next campaign - Thirst for Change.

At the end of March, Hugh spoke at both Masses to thank everyone for their many years of support for CAFOD. He then briefed them on the background and the aims of Thirst for Change. Everyone was given Campaign cards to sign and return.

Much to most the 500+ massgoers' surprise, Hugh then invited them to face towards  Westminster (ie straight ahead) and send an unusual collective message in support - repeatedly singing We Thirst For Change to the tune of the chimes of Big Ben!

They also waved campaign cards - part of the 50,000 actions notified to Downing Street.

They weren't quite the world's first to sing out. A few days earlier, Hugh conducted the 200+ pupils at St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Primary School in Bracknell (below). He introduced them to the Water Arm - holding an imaginary glass high, finding that the curve of the arm was ideal to put round shoulders of others in caring and hope.
Parishioners at St Francis did the same before holding up campaign cards as the choir led the way with BingBongBingBong for everyone to sing We Thirst For Change.

Hugh has since written to David Cameron pointing out that these events have been good news for any leader - that so many people in the UK do care about those in need around the world.  When the reply arrives, it'll be published here.

The story had national interest.  Here it is written up in the Catholic Herald in April 2012


The Thirst for Change campaign
asks the Prime Minister to call on world leaders at the G8 Summit to end water poverty by:

  • Making concrete political and financial commitments to ensure the Millennium Development Goal for water and sanitation is met by 2015

  • Endorsing the international Sanitation and Water for All initiative, to turn these promises into reality

  • Giving priority and sanitation to ensure real progress is made under your G8 presidency in 2013


  And over 60,000 messages were sent to the Prime Minister  





Click here for the CAFOD video
of the morning's activities, including
the hand-in at No10 to Andrew Mitchell,
International Development Secretary,

On 15 May, over 60,000 campaign cards, water droplets, petitions and a list of actions in parishes and schools across England & Wales were taken to 10 Downing Street. International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell came out of a Cabinet meeting to receive them. Thanking everyone who had taken part, Director of CAFOD Chris Bain said that these were important support for the Prime Minister to carry to the other leaders of the G8.

The photos show thousands of the droplets displayed outside Westminster Cathedral.  Hugh Gibbons was there as a ribboneer.  You can get more on his viewpoint at the CAFOD Portsmouth blog





  And here are some of the writings on water droplets by children and grown-ups at St Francis
  • I think everyone should have water because it would keep everyone healthy and happy like me!  Everyone deserves a chance to have an education, but some people can't have an education because they are queuing for water. Ashley.
  • I know what it is to be without water and know how precious it is. Victor.
  • Water for cooking. Emma
  • Love kindness. Help Africa and all countries. Max.
  • People should get clear water.  Elizabeth
  • Everyone should have clean water. Matthew.
  • Safe. Happiness. Chance. Donate. Care for those in danger like Ester or an of the help-less people.  Joseph
  • Toilets!  Conor.
  • May I never take water for granted. Norman.
  • Clean water to drink.  And to go to the toilet, cooking and a bath. Madeleine.
  • To stay alive and love our God.
  • Having lived and worked in Africa, the need for good water supplies is an obvious necessity for all.
  • I think clean water is great because it helps you keep healthy, and they shouldn't wait around 8 hours to get some water. Mikaela.
  • Give water a chance. Theresa
  • Make people happy by giving water. Jan.
  • Clean water should be given to people. Sean.
  • I think water is important because if there is no water we would all die. Matas.
  • I think clean water is good because it keeps you healthy and they shouldn't have to wait around 8 hours to get some water. Victoria.
  • It is important because you could get sick if you drink dirty water. Samuel.
  • Give water.  Peter.
  • Water for growing flowers, carrots and vegetables.  Atuya.
  • Always have water.  Brian.
  • Everyone should have water to drink. Maddie.
  • Clean water for washing. Sophia.
  • Drink, loo, washing. Kieran.
  • Everyone needs water to wash up, wash in, drink, watering plants, hands and going to the loo. Please help! Grace.
  • Everyone needs water. Malcolm
  • Water for washing babies bums!
  • Why walk for water? Archie.
  • Everyone needs clean water because it is healthy! Jodie.
  • Water is essential for all, not just the rich.  It is up to us to stand up and speak for all those voices who cannot be heard.
  • Water is for everyone, so you can drink and live. Nikita.
  • If Esther and the rest of her village don't have water they won't survive, and they can't work or get an education if they are in a queue.  Lottie.

Some of the St Francis droplets


And to celebrate 50 Years of CAFOD,
our unique CAFOD Romero Cross

Click here for the full story