I love the slogan for CAFOD’s Summer of Hope appeal; “Hope is contagious.”
For the last number of months, we have been protecting ourselves from the very contagious Covid-19 virus. As a nation, we have been keeping our distance from others, shielding, self-isolating, wiping every thing we touch with disinfectant and, in general, making huge sacrifices to not become infected with the virus. The reality is that it is a very contagious virus – worldwide there has been 9.2 million cases of infection and, in the UK alone, we have had 308,000 confirmed infections. And, as we only know too well, so many people have tragically died as a result of this virus.
There seems to be some light at the end of this tunnel. The Prime Minister is announcing more easing of restrictions as the weeks pass, giving us the indication that we have come through the worst of this virus. Undoubtedly, scientists are warning us that we cannot be too complacent; we are seeing evidence of a second wave in other countries at present. And with marches, protests, people swarming to beaches, this can make us somewhat nervous of what the future may hold.
Over the last number of months we needed to focus on our own families, our own communities and our own country. And rightly so. The only times that I found myself focusing on the world’s struggle with the virus was when I feared that it would impact on our own country’s infection rate. In other words, my concern about the rest of the world was mainly because of my concern for where I lived. The rest of the world was, at times, a statistic. Yes, I looked on with horror at the death toll in countries like Italy and Spain but my main thought was “Will it happen here?”
But CAFOD’s campaign is now asking us to see the bigger picture. As we begin to ease our restrictions, make the first attempts to get our economy back on track and to look ahead to the future, we realise again that the world’s poor “are always with us.” (Matthew 26:11).
Whereas we have managed to stem the tide for the NHS through our sacrifice, other countries aren’t so lucky. CAFOD’s website tells us that the impact of the coronavirus in countries with poor health systems is devastating. Added to this, families without enough to eat and without access to clean water, living with HIV or in cramped refugee camps, are very vulnerable to the virus.
And the role of Church and faith leaders is critical. CAFOD can deliver clear and accurate information via trusted faith and traditional leaders, and promote good hygiene practices, which are both key to keeping people safe. These leaders are so important in making sure life-saving messages are acted upon and also in breaking down the prejudice that can be shown to sufferers and survivors of a disease.
So what are CAFOD asking us to do? Basically, to have fun!! This summer, so many events that we may have taken part in or watched – sports days, summer fayre’s, music festivals, marathons, football competitions, summer camps – have been and will be cancelled. So CAFOD are asking us to recreate these events in our own unique way with family and friends. And while we are having all this fun, raise some money as we are doing it!
You could create your own family sports day, have your own version of Glastonbury in the back garden, do some footy challenges, have a family summer fayre – you name it, you could do it. And the wonderful thing is that it will also impact on our own sense of hope about our own situation.
That is why CAFOD are right. Hope is contagious; it can spread just as quickly and as effectively as that horrible Covid-19 virus. The great news is that we don’t need to protect ourselves from hope – we need people to be impacted, affected and “infected” by it .
So I would appeal to you to find out more about CAFOD’s campaign this summer – the links below will offer you more details. As a school, I would love to see us respond. But wherever you are – get involved and let’s spread some hope!!
A prayer (from CAFOD):
Lord God, we entrust to you the families and communities, affected by Coronavirus, wherever they may be.
We pray especially for health care workers, that you may guide and protect them.
We pray that your Spirit might inspire those researching new medicines and treatments.
And in the midst of this, keep us strong in faith, hope and love. Grant us the courage and perseverance to be good neighbours.
May the words of your Son Jesus Christ in the Our Father,
be our prayer as we entrust ourselves and all of us who are affected
to your infinite power and love.
More information on the Maricourt website:
See CAFOD’s website: