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Justice and peace

Justice and peace (5)


On Wednesday April 27th, the Speaker’s House in the Palace of Westminster hosted this annual event in recognition of those supporters of CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) who are in regular contact with their member of parliament on issues of justice and peace. Salesian School Chertsey was represented by its Chaplain and one of its Sixth Form students who is training as a CAFOD Youth Leader. Fr Martin Poulsom SDB was also in attendance. (Frs Martin and Marco are pictured above)

The Speaker of the House, Rt Hon John Bercow, gave the welcome and introductory speech, outlining the reasons for his admiration for the work of this organisation in the field of humanitarian relief. The second speaker was the Rt. Hon Catherine McKinnell MP, who organised the event as Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of CAFOD. She warmly commended CAFOD and its members for their untiring commitment to engage with members of parliament on pertinent issues.


Lord Debon (John Gummer) the former Environment Minister and current Chair of the Climate Change Committee, spoke passionately about the need for Renewable energy. This message was reiterated by the current Under-Secretary for the Department for International Development, the Rt. Hon Nick Hurd MP who spoke about the impact of solar panels in the developing world, reducing dependency on fossil fuels and utilising the ever-increasing energy yields of solar power.

Ms. Molly-Kate McCaffrey, a student from the University of Durham, shared how being a CAFOD supporter shaped her life whilst the closing address by Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster John Sherrington reminded guests of the value of regular contact with parliamentarians through whom much progress has already been made.


Fr Marco Villani SDB


On Thursday 21st April, Year 9 boys from Salesian College Farnborough took part in a day retreat on the theme of the Holocaust and heard the testimony of a Holocaust survivor.

After an opening liturgy in the College Chapel, the 100 boys were divided into 6 groups and spent the morning in workshops, helping them to prepare for the afternoon's speaker.

Rudi Oppenheimer, now 84, was eight years old at the outbreak of World War Two. He spoke clearly and engagingly for 70 minutes, giving a fascinating account of his life before and after the invasion of Holland by the Nazis. With the aid of photographs he described the happiness and peace of his early childhood, shattered by the restrictions imposed on the Jews and the deportation of his family to a transit camp and eventually to Bergen-Belsen. He then answered questions from the boys for a further 30 minutes.

Several staff and older students were able to attend part of the talk; these included two Year 12 students who had taken part in the 'Lessons from Auschwitz' project and had shared their experiences with the Year 9 boys during History lessons.

The day ended with a short closing liturgy in the College Chapel, including an Act of Commitment to learn from the lessons of history and to stand up for those who are oppressed in our world today.

Fr Patrick Sherlock SDB, College Chaplain


Friday, 08 November 2013 14:19

Energy, Justice and Peace

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Action for Justice and Peace: Keeping up the energy

This article is slightly different from the others I’ve written. Rather than trying to persuade the reader that they should and can ‘make a difference’, I’m assuming that they are already doing so. I was talking to a friend the other day who asked how I keep up my energy to “change the world” because she could feel hers draining away. This is a problem I’ve encountered before (in myself and others); sometimes I lose faith that we can actually make a difference, sometimes I lose heart because I feels as if the apathy of others is overwhelming and sometimes other parts of my life get in the way.

Friday, 08 November 2013 14:18

Salesians, Justice and Peace

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What’s it got to do with Salesian Youth Ministry?

This article will first concentrate on the relevance of Justice and Peace to Christian ministry, then in work with young people and finally in the distinctive work of the Salesian Family.

In a previous article, action for Justice and Peace was shown to be an important aspect of Christian living; a core value of both the Gospel message and church teaching. To this argument I want to add a brief write-up of a meeting I attended recently at St Joan of Arc’s Parish in Farnham. The Parish had invited a trainee Deacon (and father of Salesian past and present pupils) to speak to them about ‘Catholic Social Teaching’ and how, if lived out as a witness to faith in action, it could bring young people back into the Church. The excitement in the room was so powerful – the people were inspired and recognised the effect their example of Christian service could have.

Friday, 08 November 2013 14:14

Christians, Justice and Peace

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What’s it got to do with Christians?

There are many passages of scripture which deal with the oppression of the poor. For example: “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless” (Isaiah 10:1-2).

However, as Christians, we are called to go beyond avoiding oppressing the poor or acting unjustly. In today’s globalized world, Paulo Freire’s observation that “washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral” is particularly true. It is not enough simply to avoid oppressing the poor – instead we must take action to prevent it from happening.


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