CAFOD celebrates its female founders on its 60th Anniversary.

June 15, 2022

The National Board of Catholic Women (NBCW), Catholic Women's League and the Union of Catholic Mothers (UCM) were all represented at CAFOD's 60th anniversary Mass which took place on Friday 10 June at St George's Cathedral, Southwark.

The original founders of CAFOD were Catholic women whose project in Dominica so impressed the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, that they formed the new agency around it in 1962. CAFOD has been the official aid agency for the Catholic Church in England and Wales since that time.

CAFOD's first female director, Christine Allen, paid tribute to its founders and said: "they would be proud of what CAFOD has become." CAFOD, "mobilises the Catholic constituency on such issues as land, slavery, debt, water and food" said Christine; "it brings Catholic Social Teaching to bear on the issues of the day and is part of a living, vibrant community."

Christine Allen gave thanks for global partner organisations and for CAFOD volunteers, supporters and staff past and present in the England and Wales. Many recalled CAFOD's 50th year celebration in Westminster Cathedral, and some the 25th anniversary which saw CAFOD takeover the Royal Festival Hall for a day and the diminutive Dom Helder Camara from Brazil, who is currently on the path to sainthood, was a keynote speaker.

In his homily at the Southwark Mass Bishop Tom said he was "happy to be here to commemorate CAFOD's work." Yet he also noted that "the work of CAFOD never seems to cease, with one crisis after another." CAFOD, he felt, offers hope and "shows what can be done."

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 Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales registered CAFOD as an official charity.

You can find out more about CAFOD's history here.

© Independant Catholic News