Jean and I are the CAFOD focal points for Christ The King. We try to promote CAFOD’s role within the parish, and an important part of this is providing information that may be useful or helpful to any who wish to find out about CAFOD’s work. We will use this spot on the parish web-site to say a bit more about events or campaigns, or meetings that we have attended, and try to give a picture that’s fuller than can be put in the bulletin or pinned to the noticeboard. We hope you find it interesting and, maybe, useful. We’ll update it weekly or fortnightly and would welcome any thoughts or questions you may have in response – our number is 419439. Mark Wallis 

We recently ‘attended’ an on-line mass from Southwark cathedral to celebrate the 60th anniversary of CAFOD’s founding. Christine Allen, CAFOD’s current leader, spoke of its history and achievements and thanked all those who have worked tirelessly over the years to support its work, particularly the women whose initiative in 1960 led to its establishment.

CAFOD was born when a team led by Jacquie Stuyt, and including Evelyn White, Nora Warmington and Elspeth Orchard, came together with others from the National Board of Catholic Women, the Catholic Women's League and the Union of Catholic Mothers to organise the first Family Fast Day in 1960. Due to the number of collections taking place across the dioceses, two years later, the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales registered CAFOD as an official charity.

Jacquie and the other volunteers were responding to an appeal from the people of the Caribbean island of Dominica where children were starving to help raise funds for a mother-and-baby clinic.

On Friday 11 March 1960 the group of Catholic women asked everyone in the family to make an act of self-denial. They asked children to give up their sweets and for their parents to make just one main meal for the family – the cheapest possible – and give the money they saved to feed people who were hungry. This remains at the heart of CAFOD Family Fast Days today.

CAFOD Family Fast Day has always been as much about prayer as about giving to help those living in poverty. Elspeth Orchard, one of the first Fast Day organisers explained: “We were very keen that we should do it not just as a giving thing, but as a praying thing. We should really make an effort to remember people, not just by giving them food, but by doing what we could do to support them.

Of course, it’s a shame that after 60 years, the work of CAFOD and its sister agencies is still necessary. Let us pray that there will come a time when it is not.