Family Fast Day 23rd February 2024

Our Catholic community here, the People of Hope, are dedicated to love their neighbours around Our Common Home. Through our very own Catholic humanitarian charity, CAFOD, we help some of the most vulnerable of our sisters and brothers in need around the world.  This Lent Fast Day focuses upon our work with one of Liberia’s marginalised areas, New Kru Town, West Point, a fishing community and Liberia’s largest shanty town where people experience very significant poverty.

Every fishing family on that busy shoreline had struggled at some point. James Pyne, is a local fisherman from New Kru Town. James told us that when his family had no food, he faced a terrible choice: stay home and stay hungry or put everything on the line to go out onto the water in his small canoe. Five fishermen a month – husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, friends… – were dying in storms at sea. Just like him, they couldn’t afford the life jackets, compasses and other equipment they needed to stay safe at sea and get a good catch.

When he came back home, to his wife and son, 16 hours later, aching, exhausted, hungry, he would be empty handed.

Even for a skilled fisherman like James, making that journey to sea and back alive without the right tools or safety equipment was difficult enough, getting a catch was almost impossible.

Hearing from James and other fishermen, CAFOD and our local partners Caritas Monrovia, worked with them to develop a programme to support the fishing community with new equipment or advanced training needed to stay safe at sea. Since then, there have been no major incident at sea.

The fishermen in the community now have a very successful training programme, safety equipment and GPS fish finders to help them fish successfully, sustainably and safely as well as solar powered freezers to help them ensure their families keep the food and income they need. Watch this inspirational video James and his community.

When we met James he said: “I want to say thanks to CAFOD for the project. This is the first time an NGO has come here to help us since New Kru was founded. To make sure we’re safe and to help us catch more fish. I want to say thanks for this. The changes really helped.”

Watch James’ prayer and pray with him.

This is a great example of how our Catholic community here are able to support our sisters and brothers around the world to transform their communities even in the face of great challenges.

This Lent join others from across the diocese to help hardworking people like James get the tools and training they need to feed their families so they can thrive and live life to the full.

To support CAFOD’s vital work around the world with communities like James’ please donate today or to set up a regular gift.