Laudato Sí

Pope Francis has written a letter to every person on this planet, asking all of us to protect the earth, our common home. In Laudato Sí Pope Francis discuses the damage being inflicted on the earth by humans and urges everyone to make changes to their lifestyle to protect the planet.

For younger children

As they grow older

Forgiveness starts at home

Jesus says “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift” Matthew 5: 23-24. Therefore if we are going to live our lives as Christians working to solve problems of injustice and war we must begin with reconciling our tensions at home. Furthermore, families are transformative. Pope John Paul said “As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live”. A family working for peace, starting with forgiveness in the world is a great a testimony to peace when coupled with working for peace in the world. 

  • Pens
  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Candle

useful websites

Pax Chrisit

 

For younger children

Together look at the Our Father (Link to the prayer here). Take the line “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” Write this out on a large piece of paper (Get creative - old cereal boxes/ pizza boxes/ any boxed food containers make great posters). Discuss with your child what it means the more we forgive the more we are able to be forgiven by God. Try and talk about what in your family needs forgiveness and how (although it is hard) we can think of situation where we need to forgive others – maybe at school, in the family or with a friend. Light a candle and pray the words on your poster together. Try and return to this poster and pray together every other week.   

As they get older

There are so many amazing examples of peace makers and those who give their lives to peace efforts. Reading the story of a life of a peace activist can be a fun way of letting your family learn more about a peace and the importance of forgiveness.

Examples of people working for peace: Pat Gaffney of Pax Christi, Sophie Shol, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa (her story of the children in Albani with the cease fire is a particularly interesting one). A quick google search of any of these people gives you stories of their works for peace. What three pictures would you use to explain their stories? 

See if your family can design (using only paper and pen) and then pitch to each other your perfect peace making App! What features would it have? How does it help you to forgive others? How does it encourage you to forgive?   

'Justice up' your home!

“Proclaim the good news to all creation!” (Mark 16:15) To all creation? Yes, but sometimes we need to remind ourselves first. The idea of this activity is to share challenging and encouraging messages amongst our families. And by taking time to choose which quotes to display and considering different ways in which they might present them, your family will explore the messages and give them time to sink in.  

Copyright Carissa Rogers 

Copyright Carissa Rogers 

‘‘Justice up’ your home!’  is a simple activity – and it can take as long as you wish. The big idea is to decorate your home with justice and peace quotes and images to inspire and encourage all who see them.

Most activity pages of this website should have a justice and peace quote displayed on it – you could start with choosing your favourites of these and thinking about how you might display them in your home.

Be as creative as you like! You might start with decorating your fridge, bathroom door or bedroom. How about justice and peace-themed bunting for a family BBQ or party?

For younger children

Choose simple, easy to understand quotes such as ‘Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9) or “You are my disciples if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

Talk with your child about what the quote you chose means and how they might show this on a poster – then make sure to show your works of art off to all your family and friends!

You might also consider ordering posters from CAFOD or other organisations.

As they grow older

Look in the bible for relevant quotes, for example where Jesus shows concern and care for those who are poor and vulnerable.

Ask them to get creative in how they display the quote. They might like to make justice and peace-themed greeting cards to send to relatives and neighbours (or even your MP).

Another fun idea is to use these quotes as a hunt around the house or to place them inside cupboards as an inspiring surprise! 

Clothe yourself with compassion

“Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).

Living these qualities means our words and actions must be full of love: for ourselves, for God and for others. Sometimes we forget that where and how we decide to spend our money impacts on others. When we look deeper, we may find that our choices do not show love. This simple activity challenges us to explore alternatives to buying cheap clothing from big shops. 

  • The internet
  • Clothes from your wardrobe

Useful websites
Labour behind the label
 

Where do our clothes come from?

This action considers how we might help young people to think about where their clothes come from.

Copyright CC0 Public Domain

Copyright CC0 Public Domain

Aged 5+:

Look together at the label on one of your items of clothing. Where was it made? Find the country on a map.

Draw a picture of all the people who might have been involved in making that piece of clothing and getting it to the shops.

Talk about how much the item of clothing cost and how this must be shared with everyone involved in the process.

As they grow older:

Watch this BBC video on what we can do as a consumer.

Discuss alternatives to buying new clothes from big shops.

-          Fair trade
-          Buying from charity shops
-          Swapping clothes with friends and family

Organise an event to encourage one of these approaches (e.g. a clothes swapping event or a charity-shop-clothes-only fashion show).

Consider writing a letter to a big shop (and the local newspaper?) explaining why you did what you did.

Find out more about campaigning from 'Labour behind the label' here.

Praying with Newspapers

As Christians we are called to listen to God in multiple ways. For example, we can hear His message to us in scripture, at church, in nature, in each other and by “reading the signs of the times”.

This activity is what it says it is! Using newspapers is a great way of looking at the world, drawing out current justice issues for your family to pray about.

  • Newspapers
  • Candle
  • Reflective music

Begin with the sign of the 

Using two members of your family as a call and response

Newspapers and prayer?
                                         God in the world!

If there’s hunger?
                                         Pray for food and water

Where there is bloodshed?
                                        Pray for peace

Story about politicians?     
                                        Pray for our leaders

Some good news?
                                        Thank the Lord

Oppression and injustice?
                                        Invite in God’s spirit

Now spend some time in silence praying as a family with newspapers. Read, find an article, cut or rip it out, pray about it, then place it by a candle. Bring these stories to God and let God bring these stories into your hearts. Look at what you each chose and consider asking your family to explain why they picked particular 

Close with this prayer using two family members to read the below. Alternatively write your own prayer as a family.

Loving Father, thank you for being active in our world.

Loving Father, thank you for sharing in our concerns.

Loving Father, thank you for the opportunities you give us to serve you through serving others. 

Loving Father, thank you for opening our eyes to all your children’s needs.

For younger children

With younger children, instead of newspaper articles try using pictures.

The BBC and others publish news pictures that reflect the daily news.

As they get older

Why not chose some articles to discuss after prayer? Draw out together the injustices you find in the articles. Invite each family member to pray aloud for each of these issues.

Reflecting on the day

This activity uses a traditional prayer called the examen. The word ‘examen’ is a Spanish word meaning ‘examine’. It is an Ignatian style prayer (following St Ignatius), helpful for you and your family to reflect back over your day, noticing where God was at work. Technically it is an ‘examination of conscience’. This might sound daunting, but it is actually a simple and prayerful way to find God’s love, justice and peace in the world.

  • Pen
  • Paper
  • A room/garden big enough for you all to stand in your own space 

Useful websites
Loyola Press Jesuit examen guide

Begin in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit…

Place your hand over your heart and think of someone today that showed you or another person love. Say thank you to God for his love and the love this person showed.

Place your hand over your lips and thank God for the words you have heard today. Has anyone said something that inspires or encourages you? Has anyone gone out of their way to speak up for the good of others, for peace or against injustice? Give examples if appropriate - this is often very helpful in prayer

Place your hand on your feet and ask God to help you step forward as the best person you can be. Notice where you could love more and make better use of the words you say to do good. Thank God for promising to always walk with you.

Finishing prayer:

Loving Father, thank you for this beautiful day and the ways you use me to work for what is good, right and just. Help me to love you and all your children more each day. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord, Amen. 

As they get older:

Older children might prefer to write their examen in a diary form. Try and do the examen at the end of the week, noticing issues that need to be prayed for and actions you feel challenged to take.

The good Samaritan

These scripture based activities contain a passage from the Bible for families to read and explore together. However, don’t feel limited by what’s here! There are so many other passages you could use, including choosing from the readings of the day or the readings from the Sunday mass.

One way of exploring scripture as a family is reading the passage together before a meal and then discussing it while eating. 

Luke 10:25-37


"On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher, he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

The priest and the Levite (also a kind of priest) should have stopped, but didn’t. They probably had ‘good’ reasons – maybe they wanted to avoid becoming ‘unclean’ before going to the temple in Jerusalem. Samaritans were hated by many Jews, so Jesus’ audience would have been shocked that he stopped. This is a very surprising story. Imagine being part of the crowd listening!

  • Who might be the priest, Levite and Samaritan if Jesus’ story was happening today?
     
  • Jesus tells us to “Go and do likewise”. How might we do this as families?

Washing of the disciples feet

These scripture based activities contain a passage from the Bible for families to read and explore together. However, don’t feel limited by what’s here! There are so many other passages you could use, including choosing from the readings of the day or the readings from the Sunday mass.

One way of exploring scripture as a family is reading the passage together before a meal and then discussing it while eating. 

John 13:4-5, 13:12-15

'so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
...
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set and example that you should do as I have done for you"'.

This is a wonderful example of Jesus turning the world upside down! The one with the most importance makes himself the servant of everybody else, showing his love for them and setting them a challenge. 

  • How do you think Jesus might have felt while we was washing feet?
  • How would you have felt?
  • Washing feet was an appropriate action for Jesus’ time. What could we do today, and who for? (both inside and outside of the family!)

Whatever you do...

These scripture based activities contain a passage from the Bible for families to read and explore together. However, don’t feel limited by what’s here! There are so many other passages you could use, including choosing from the readings of the day or the readings from the Sunday mass.

One way of exploring scripture as a family is reading the passage together before a meal and then discussing it while eating. 

Matthew  24:34-40

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

If we are the family of God, we will live out these works of mercy; because God loves us we respond in love. And amazingly, when we serve others with love, we are loving and honouring Jesus.

  • What opportunities can our family create to serve others with love?
  • Who do we know who needs feeding, visiting or inviting in?
  • Do we see Jesus in others? How can we do more of this? 

3 things the Lord asks

These scripture based activities contain a passage from the Bible for families to read and explore together. However, don’t feel limited by what’s here! There are so many other passages you could use, including choosing from the readings of the day or the readings from the Sunday mass.

One way of exploring scripture as a family is reading the passage together before a meal and then discussing it while eating. 

Micah 6:8 

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.”

Three things for us to do. The first two are about how we act towards others: fairly and compassionately. The third is about our relationship with God, walking alongside him. It brings to mind the quote from St Francis de Sales:
“Be like little children who with one hand hold fast to their father while with the other they gather strawberries or blackberries from the hedges”.

  • Unwrap each of the 3 challenges – What do they mean for your family?
     
  • What have you done (as individuals and as a family) that fits these challenges?
    How might you celebrate these?
     
  • What more could you do? 

Justice Psalm

These scripture based activities contain a passage from the Bible for families to read and explore together. However, don’t feel limited by what’s here! There are so many other passages you could use, including choosing from the readings of the day or the readings from the Sunday mass.

One way of exploring scripture as a family is reading the passage together before a meal and then discussing it while eating. 

Paraphrase of psalm 72
(by Fr David O'Malley SDB)

Lord, bring your justice into our world
And your wisdom to those who rule
Let this wisdom endure for generations
And fall like rain on parched ground.

Let peace and justice blossom like flowers
And stay fresh until the moon fails
Let God’s wisdom soak the whole earth
From sea to sea through every land.

Cynicism and self interest will vanish
Vengeance will evaporate into thin air
All earth’s rulers will give way
Before the light of God’s wisdom. 

God will rescue the poor from oppression
Protecting them from tyranny and torture
The harvest will be endless
with food for everyone on earth.

This psalm contains so many beautiful images. It can be used to open up deep concepts such as ‘cynicism’, ‘self interest’ and ‘oppression’, perhaps through considering situations in the world today.

  • The first verse is all about wisdom. How do we develop our gift of wisdom? For your family, who are “those who rule”?
  • “Let peace and justice blossom like flowers”! What do flowers need to grow? What do peace and justice need to grow?

Praying with Maps

Ours is a global faith; “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). From the very beginnings the Christian community has been international. At Pentecost, for example, the Holy Spirit came to the disciples and they went out to preach: “a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken” (Acts 2:16).

Using a map (or a globe) and the internet in prayer can help your family to visualise the world. It can highlight global connections and the importance of being one family, God’s family.  

Copyright CC0 Public domain

Copyright CC0 Public domain

  • Globe
  • Map poster
  • Stickers or Post-it notes

Useful Websites 
Online Globe 

Amnesty International country profiles 

BBC country profiles 

BBC World news

 

Using BBC world news or similar, identify together justice issue affecting an area of the world. Perhaps consider global issues connected to climate change, peace or migration.

Using the map/globe and the internet, find out more about that country  (for example, language, flag, national bird/animal, interesting facts, climate, …). Finish by writing a prayer together for that country and its people.

Prayer example: Loving Father we bring before you (the area), we pray for the people of (name of place), and in particular (a certain justice issue that is prevalent in this area). 

For younger children

Use a simple map - posters can be picked up fairly cheaply online or in most pound shops. Pick an area of the world you would like to pray for and ask a family member to place a sticker on the map marking its people.

As they get older

Use a more detailed map and do more research about the country. What social justice issues are prominent? As a family write a prayer for this area. Consider making a specific time each month for family prayer for this area of the world.   

Freely Give

For Christians charity is the bare minimum. We are called to go beyond simple generosity: “Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:8). We are taught that “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7) and that “not to share one’s goods with the poor is to rob them and to deprive them of life. It is not our goods that we possess, but theirs” (St John Chrysostom).

 

Only what you (and your family) already have!

So, we’re supposed to give freely? For many of us this isn’t an easy thing. We learn early on that if we give something away, we don’t have it any more. And then, those powerful words: “It’s not fair!”. This action explores how we might help young people to become cheerful givers.

Copyright CCO Public domain 

Copyright CCO Public domain 

In the early years:

Christmas and birthdays often involve lots of new toys. This can provide the opportunity to give something away. Create a culture of giving by helping younger children to choose one of their toys to give away. Together you could take it to a charity shop so your child sees where it’s going and actually physically ‘gives it away'. 

Aged 5+:

As before, select a toy (or toys!) to give away, but now spend time thinking about which charity shop to donate to. This might involve looking at websites of the various charities and finding out about what they do. Even better, take the child to do research together, asking the volunteers/staff in the shop about what they do with the money raised. Pray for this charity and their work.

As they grow older:

Many children are given pocket money and/or a ‘budget’ for gifts they can choose at Christmas/birthdays. What if a percentage of this were to be donated to a charity? Together, as a family you could select a number of charities to research and then prayerfully discern which one you’ll donate to this term/year. By signing up to their email list you could receive updates about the work you’ve financially supported – and then continue to support them with prayer. 

 

Grace Dice

Prayer is at the heart of our Christian life and is one of our most powerful responses to injustice. St Paul says “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

Praying as a family before meals is a beautiful way of giving thanks for the gifts we have been given and asking God to help those who face injustice. 

resources.jpg
  • Cardboard (cereal boxes are perfect )
  • Pens, paint, tape
  • Dice template
  • 1 hour

activity.jpg

Start by printing a dice template and then paste or trace it onto cardboard.

Together as a family think about which justice issues you would like to pray about. You might choose current issues such as immigration, climate change and homelessness. On each side of your dice choose a different theme and write a prayer about it. 

Examples: 

Those without food – Loving Father, thank you for the food we are about to eat. May it give us the energy to help and serve those who go without. Amen

Loneliness – Loving God, we thank you for the gift of this food that we share together as a family. Let us remember those who are lonely and do not have anyone to share a meal with. May we always be loving to those who feel lonely. Amen  

Environment – Thank you Lord for our food. We remember those who do not have food due to natural disasters and the effects of climate change. Amen 

War – Bless our food and those who make it. We pray together for those families caught up in violence - may peace come to their homes. Amen

Solidarity – Loving God, thank you for the food we receive, may we use the food as energy to stand alongside our brothers and sisters in need.  Amen

For younger children

Draw pictures representing different themes on the dice. When using the dice for prayer, discuss the picture and then say a simple prayer together.

For older children

Watch the news or read a newspaper together. Write prayers focusing on current issues in the news that stand out to them.

Top tips

Take it in turns each day to roll the dice to focus your prayer on justice issues before you eat.

Ask each member of the family to write a prayer for the side of your dice on an issue they are passionate about.

Homemade grace dices make great gifts for Grandparents, Aunties and Uncles and are a great way of spreading the message of justice and peace! 

Attending a March

There is a long tradition of marching for justice! In scripture this includes marching round the walls of Jericho (Joshua 6), Moses leading the people to freedom from slavery, and even Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey (possibly purposely contrasting with the Roman authorities’ parades of horses and soldiers). It is a way we can put our hunger for righteousness into action, walking in solidarity with others, denouncing (protesting against) injustice and announcing (campaigning for) a better way. 

© CAFOD Twitter

© CAFOD Twitter

  • Food! Take snacks and drinks.
  • Sun cream and/or umbrellas - who knows what the weather will do?!
  • Placards, flags, banners,
  • Costumes,
  • Percussion instruments – make your own!

Useful Websites 
Transport for London 
Websites about the march – normally a march will have a main website to visit.
Websites of groups that are taking part in the march.

Taking part in a march can be a fantastic step in engagement with justice and peace – it can be uplifting and exciting to see that so many people care about an issue. But taking part in a march can also be stressful, tiring and off-putting.

To help you have a positive experience;

  • Do your research. Look up information on the organisers’ website and definitely check public transport on the day.
  •  Don’t feel you have to complete the whole march. Doing 20 minutes with the march then standing at the side, cheering, waving and seeing the range of participants might be a much more encouraging experience. It also means you don’t need to join the crowds at the end of the march queuing for public transport!
  • Think about the needs of your family in terms of food, drink and toilets. Wear appropriate clothing and shoes.
  • There is often a faith gathering or service before the march – these are great as they’ll help your family see the link between faith and action.
  • Go with a group and/or join a group of marchers that are like-minded.
  • Agree a rendezvous point, just in case you get spilt up.
  • Take a picture of your family and upload it to the website, post it on facebook and put it in your parish newsletter – your witness can inspire others.

The Beatitudes

These scripture based activities contain a passage from the Bible for families to read and explore together. However, don’t feel limited by what’s here! There are so many other passages you could use, including choosing from the readings of the day or the readings from the Sunday mass.

One way of exploring scripture as a family is reading the passage together before a meal and then discussing it while eating. 

Matthew
5:1-11

“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.
He said:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

The beatitudes are simple but challenging descriptions of what it is to be holy; the attitudes we should have in order to live life to the full! The call to be ‘peacemakers’ always stands out to me as it calls us to an action, not simply to be ‘peace-wishers’ or ‘peace-keepers’.

  • What images might you draw to represent each beatitude?
  • What beatitudes would you write aimed at children, teenagers, parents or grandparents? (e.g. Blessed are the mothers who…, Blessed are the sons that … ). Try to reflect principles of justice, charity, peacemaking and so on.

Calling for Action on Climate Change

God has given us an abundant world to tend and share. Yet all over the world we can see how we have failed to protect our planet.  

In communities where CAFOD partners works, many are suffering from more frequent and extreme floods, storms, or droughts, pushing the most vulnerable people further into poverty. Farming families are struggling with more unpredictable seasons, meaning crops fail and livestock die because of a lack of food and water. Pope Francis says if we think about the world we are leaving for future generations, “we look at things differently; we realize that the world is a gift which we have freely received and must share with others”. Out of love for our sisters and brothers worldwide, we are called to respond to climate change.

  • Access to the internet
  • Some sheets of paper to cut into heart shapes
  • Scissors and pens
  • You might like to buy some CAFOD campaigns stickers by visiting the CAFOD shop

Explain that you are going to make a difference to people who live in poverty by changing your life to take better care of our resources. Watch the age-appropriate video (see links) and discuss it together.

Copyright CAFOD

Copyright CAFOD

  • Think as a family how you could help look after the world
  • Write prayers and/or pledges of actions you will take on heart-shaped pieces of paper.
  • Display these hearts somewhere prominent in the house (fridges or bathroom mirrors are nice and visible.
  • Take a photo and email the photo, explaining what you did to cafod@cafod.org.uk and maybe even tell your parish, family and friends!
  •  If the owner of the house doesn’t mind, stick CAFOD ‘Turn me down’ or ‘Switch me off’ stickers on electrical items.

CAFOD’s ‘Lent Fast Day’ or ‘Harvest Fast Day’

Solidarity can be a difficult concept to understand. It is a determination to commit oneself to the good of others and in some way sharing in their concerns. Fasting can be an act of solidarity where we decide to ‘be alongside’ those who have no choice but to go hungry.

Fasting is a common practice among many religions and has been part of our faith for millennia. It is encouraged in Lent alongside prayer and almsgiving (giving to others – usually those in need). Fasting is an act of solidarity but also a good spiritual discipline. It isn’t the same as dieting which is done for health reasons.

Recently the church has asked people not so much to give something up for Lent, but to take something up – do something extra. This could be prayer, helping at a food bank or arranging events at church. Usually it is an act of service or love to benefit others.

resources.jpg

Ingredients for simple meal

Useful Websites: 
CAFOD
CAFOD Grace Wall

Copyright CAFOD

Copyright CAFOD

Explain to your family that today they are going to miss a meal/eat a more basic meal. They will do this to explore what it is like to go without – something many people across the world have to do. The money that is saved through fasting can be sent to CAFOD to help with their work to end hunger and help people who live in poverty to flourish.

If anyone has any medical conditions which means that missing a meal is not a good idea then please do not do it. For those who can’t miss a meal, it is always possible to have a simple or plain meal.

For younger children

We suggest you fast by having a simpler meal than usual, such as rice and beans. Discuss with your family how they would feel eating this regularly. You may want to say the Fast Day prayer as a grace before the meal. Alternatively you may wish to make a grace dice (link here). 

For older children

You may choose to miss a meal

  •  It is still good to gather the family together for an activity. This could be praying for people who have no food, writing a grace before meals or learning about a particular country. Normally each Fast Day has a focus on a particular country and family. You could spend time reading about that family and the issues they deal with.
     
  • You can then donate the money you save to CAFOD. You can do this through the CAFOD website or at your local Church.

 


When you see someone homeless

There are so many stories of Jesus going out of his way to talk to people others might have ignored, including beggars, prostitutes, lepers and tax collectors. In our busy lives it is so easy to walk past people begging on the street – but what message does this send to our families?

There are so many reasons that people become homeless – and in most cases it is a complex combination of causes, some the fault of individuals, but many rooted in society’s wider problems. Our place is not to judge; as Dorothy Day said, “The Gospel takes away our right forever, to discriminate between the deserving and the undeserving poor.” As Christians we try to follow Jesus’ example, recognising the dignity of all we meet – all are created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27).

Copyright Housing Justice

Copyright Housing Justice

The aim of the below activities is to create safe spaces for encounter between our families and those who are ‘on the street’. This allows our families to understand that these are just people like themselves, fellow children of God. This can then lead to action, both in terms of charity and justice: volunteering, donating and campaigning.

In London, with young people aged 11+:
Consider taking an ‘unseen tour’, a London walking tour led by homeless, formerly homeless, and vulnerably housed tour guides. For more information please see http://sockmobevents.org.uk/

Buying ‘The Big Issue’ or similar street papers:
Street papers such as ‘The Big Issue’ offer people the opportunity to earn money – providing the dignity of work. They also offer a great opportunity to have conversations with vendors, stopping and having a chat when buying a magazine.

Offering fruit, tea, coffee or a bottle of water:
Carrying a bag of fruit or other snacks with you allows you to not ignore someone who is begging; offering them a satsuma might start a conversation and at the very least encourages the recognition of that person. Remember – they might not want what you offer – and that’s ok!

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If you have more time:
Before a day out in the city, put together packs as a family that can be offered to anyone you see begging. These could be as simple as a plastic bag containing items such as a bottle of water, snack bars and information about local homeless projects. You could also consider including pictures or cards made by the family.

Following up:
When you’ve done one or more of the above, consider using the internet to find out more about the causes and consequences of homelessness. You will also find ways that you can help – volunteering, giving money, campaigning and donating to foodbanks.