After nearly four months of churches being closed, a group of parishioners at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Leighton Buzzard, Herts, who were missing the church community, decided to organise a socially distanced fun-run challenge, that raised over £1,000 for charity.
On Saturday 18 July, 48 people took part in a socially distanced circular walk, which started and ended at Sacred Heart Church. Organised by the parish Justice and Peace Group, the event was a great success, bringing the community together and raising much-needed funds for CAFOD's Coronavirus Appeal.
Mary Flach, a member of the Justice and Peace Group at Sacred Heart, explained: "Our plan was to tie together our needs to reconnect as a community with the needs of our brothers and sisters worldwide. Competitors included a mix of ages, including several members of the youth group, all very keen to gather once again.
"Although maps were issued and a trail of flour laid, some got hopelessly lost, arriving back the same way as they had set out! That said, fun was the order of the day and it was delightful to hear laughter on the church steps once again."
Overall, the event raised more than £1,000 for CAFOD, which is currently scaling up its support to local aid experts in developing countries to combat the impact of the virus.
They are already on the frontline, reaching vulnerable families providing food, as well as improving handwashing and sanitation facilities across communities.
Mary said: "The amount raised was particularly generous of our parishioners, friends and family as it is a time of great uncertainty and upheaval for us all.We were also very touched to know that parishioners who were not able to join us as they were shielding or unwell were remembering us on the day. We even had some walk 26 times around their garden to mark our 2.6km challenge."
This event was part of CAFOD's Summer of Hope. The campaign aims to inspire the nation to remain hopeful this summer through recreating cancelled events, virtually - while also supporting communities in developing countries through fundraising.
Parish Priest Fr John not only supported and promoted the event but also ran 2.6km. He said: "The run was part of CAFOD's Summer of Hope - which we hope, despite everything that's been going on, will help us to remain positive in our service of God, and in trying to help to the poorest of the poor around the world.
"A number of parishioners took part - running, walking, even walking backwards - all to raise money and awareness of coronavirus around the world and of the poorest who very much need our help at this challenging time.
Find out how you can organise your own event, or make a donation at: www.cafod.org.uk/SummerofHope
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