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