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Cambridge parish connects with CAFOD work in Peru

The parish of St Laurence’s, Cambridge, has just celebrated its new partnership with communities in Peru, facilitated through international development agency CAFOD’s Connect2 scheme. 

By becoming a ‘Connect2: Peru’ parish, St Laurence’s will hear about and support the work that CAFOD’s partners, The Bishop’s Social Action Commission (CEAS) and Warmi Huasi are doing in Ancash and Lima, two different regions of Peru.  

CEAS focuses primarily on supporting the small-scale farmer community of Cruz de Mayo with the management of water resources from glacier Lake Parón. Warmi Huasi works to support the children in Lomas de Carabayllo, ensuring that they understand their rights and have safe spaces to learn and play. CAFOD has been working in Peru for 50 years, meaning that the parish will be building on half a decade of unwavering support.

To launch the scheme the parish hosted a Peruvian evening.  Whilst listening to an engaging talk on the communities they will be supporting, guests enjoyed ‘A taste of Peru’; tasty empanadas, Peruvian cake and traditional shots of pisco sours were sampled, the latter ensuring conversation flowed.

The scheme has been adopted by the parish in its entirety.  Everyone from the children’s liturgy group to the CAFOD supporters group will be involved.  A monthly Pound to Peru collection will form the basis of fundraising and the parish is fully committed to supporting the work of CAFOD’s partners in these two communities of Peru.  St Laurence’s will receive updates from the communities, meaning they can hear from them about the impact of their support.   

Parish priest Fr Pat Cleary, who has worked in South America in the past, has been especially enthusiastic: “As a Parish we felt we needed to do something abroad.  We’re very active at home, but inspired by Pope Francis, we felt we needed to look further afield.  Whilst we can’t solve things, we can do something to help.

“The launch was fantastic, with local foods, music and two stimulating talks that explored the complexities of the Peruvian context.  It gave people a real sense of ownership.”  

Mary Watkins, a member of the parish’s CAFOD support group, said: “So much bad news around the world has left many of us with a sense of hopelessness but projects such as these enable the parish to work together and contribute to small but real improvements in the lives of others around the world.

“Ruth and Illari from CAFOD’s Latin American team were invited to give a homily at all Masses and this meant a more considered view of the project reached many more parishioners than usual. Enthusiasm in the parish is high and we’re really looking forward to developing our understanding of the communities in Peru – and theirs of ours! – via the communications we’ll receive.”

For groups who would like to find out more about CAFOD’s Connect2 scheme, please visit

Pictured above are some of the Connect2 Peru supporters at St Laurence’s in Cambridge.