The Parish Covenant with the Poor (see 'About' section) commits us to continuing support for CAFOD, the official Catholic aid agency in England and Wales. The parish works closely with the Portsmouth office - CAFOD - using opportunities such as the Lent and Harvest Fast Days to inform the community about the causes of poverty, to campaign for change and to give financial support to CAFOD`s work.
Live Simply involves our parish community working to live with a simpler life style, in solidarity with the poor, and living sustainably. The latter is a major element of Pope Francis' recent encyclical letter Laudato Si', which inspires us to reflect on how we care for the earth and all creation. A number of initiatives are taken in order to Live Simply and information from CAFOD can be found here.
CHURCH IN ABINGDON (CiA)
Along with 13 other churches of various denominations in Abingdon, Our Lady and St Edmund’s belongs to the union of churches together called the CiA. We aim to pray, study and work together in order to deepen our Christian faith and put that faith into practice within the community of the town of Abingdon. The CiA gives encouragement to various action groups, such as Christian Aid and Bereavement Support, and financially supports certain projects, such as Street Pastors, 35 Ock St Cafe and the Abingdon Passion Play.
FOOD BANK CONTRIBUTIONS
The Foodbank collection started in our parish as an Advent project and over the past two years has extended to run throughout the year. All contributions are taken to the Abingdon Emergency Foodbank, based at Christ Church in Northcourt Road where they are distributed to people who need them. Our parish contributions have made a big difference and it is a privilege to be working with the Christ Church community.
COLLECTION FOR THE HOMELESS
The Advent collection for the homeless is to help those people who are living on the streets, particularly during the cold months of December and January. We look for new warm clothes, particularly scarves, hats, sweaters, and socks, but toiletry items are also welcome. We deliver donated items to different homeless organizations in Oxford each week throughout December.
Life is a national charity that provides a nationwide care service for pregnant women, girls with a problem pregnancy, infertility or suffering from the effects of abortion. Life cares by offering free pregnancy testing, confidential counselling, practical help and accommodation for pregnant women in a crisis. There are Life Care Centres throughout the UK and a number of Life Houses locally (e.g. Didcot and Oxford). Life also runs an education programme by giving talks to schools, colleges and other groups.
'CHOCOLATE MINISTRY' TO THE HOMELESS
We have felt called to reach out to the Homeless in Oxford and several times a year we take a pile of chocolate bars to Oxford and give them out to the Homeless that we meet there. This gives us the chance to chat with them, to tell them that Jesus loves them, and to offer to pray with them. We also buy them some food and hot drinks. In the cold winter months we also take gloves, scarves and other items of warm clothing to give out or to take to the Night Shelter.
In its commitment to the Covenant with the Poor, our parish is to continue and develop its support for a number of organisations working for a world of justice and peace within the framework of the Catholic Social Teaching. One of these is Pax Christi, whose goals of world peace, reconciliation and non-violence draw inspiration from the Sermon on the Mount down to current Papal teaching. Our parish celebrates Peace Sunday in January.
"...whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
The Catenian Association is an international association of Catholic men who meet locally, at least once a month at local branches (or Circles), and who share common values. Members form a close community with shared spiritual values, offering lifelong support and friendship reflecting Christian love for one another and their families. Members are drawn from all walks of life, and, consequently, have a vast range of differing talents and experience, they could, in fact, be a collection of men drawn from any church congregation, all with similar anxieties, aspirations, concerns - but all have a common bond as practicing Catholics. Membership is open to Catholic laymen over the age of 18. We have 10,000 members internationally. The Oxford Circle was established 75 years ago and covers parishes in the North Oxford Deanery (Birmingham Archdiocese), Thames Isis & North Downs Pastoral Areas, (Portsmouth Diocese). For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org