St Joseph's Birtley

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CAFOD Live Simply Award

CAFOD Live Simply

Our Parish of St Josephs has recently been registered for the CAFOD Live Simply Award.

The Live Simply Award is an opportunity for our parish community, people, local Catholic schools and parish groups, to respond to Pope Francis’s invitation in Laudato Si (See below) in practical way by, in the words attributed to among others, Ghandi and Mother Theresa and used by a wide range of religious leaders “that we live simply so that others may simply live.”


Fr Jim O'Keefe
Fr Jim O'Keefe

At the Annual General Meeting of the Church Pastoral Council in April 2019, Father Jim O’Keefe got our Parish Live Simply Award off to a good start with his inspirational talk “The Scandal of Our Time.”


CAFOD has produced a leaflet entitled “100 Live Simply Ideas” which provides some really good ideas on how we can all live more simply. The ideas are grouped under the following headings;

1.Reflection and Worship – For example; seasonal liturgies, a Live Simply Mass or a special celebration of the Feast of St Francis of Assisi

2. Practical – For example; creating outdoor spaces for prayer and contemplation, paperless communication, walk to Church Sunday

3. Reaching Out – Car Sharing to meetings and to Church services , litter pick events

4. Taking Live Simply Home - A parish ‘unplugged day by committing to no computers, phones or TV for a day (perhaps during Lent), Having a meat free day once a week (Committing to Friday Fast and abstinence)

To kick off the Live Simply Award in our Parish we thought we could share good ideas of the spiritual and practical things that are already taking place. Looking through the 100 Live Simply Ideas, many things are currently being done by our various Parish Groups. We would like to use existing good practice with the Parish for our Award submission and are asking groups to tell us about the work they are doing at all levels. If your group is involved could you let us know (Kevin or Tom – Contact details at the back of church on the Parish Notice Board).

If you or you Parish Group is interested in responding in a practical way to Pope Francis’s appeal in Laudato Si and would like to adopt or lead on any Parish Event we would be very interested to include your activities in our Parish Live Simply Award too.

Live Simply - Practical Tips

1. Limit Your Purchase of Single Use Plastics - Our Parish CAFOD coordinator Kevin once asked a former parishioner the late Paul Younger, who was also the Newcastle Chronicle’s ‘Go Green Doctor’ for practical tips.

His advice was to reduce plastic waste by limiting our purchases of bottled water. He said water companies do not make water, they make plastic which is only used once then sent to landfill or exported overseas as waste where it causes unnecessary pollution. Worse still it can end up in the seas and oceans, where it is broken up and ingested by fish and ultimately human beings. So buy a refillable water bottle and take it to school/university/college or work with you. Most organisations now have fresh water fountains where you can refill your bottle free of charge.

2. Leave the car at home – why not walk to church in the good weather or if you can’t manage the distance think about using the bus. Walking reduces carbon emissions and you also benefit from the exercise and fresh air too. You can find bus timetables for Birtley through the following web link

If you have a good practical Live Simply Tip you would like to share with parishioners, write it down and leave it on a piece of paper at the back of church. There is no need to leave your name or other personal details. We will try to add your tip the website or publish some of them in our weekly Parish Bulletin.

Pope Francis’s Encyclical Laudato Si (On Care for Our Common Home)

Laudato Si

Laudato Si (English Translation ‘Praise Be to You) was published by Pope Francis on 18th June 2015. The Encyclical is a world wide appeal to all people (not just Catholics) to think about the damage irresponsible consumerism is having on our environment and the impact that in turn, this has on all people around the world, but in particular the poor and those who are in most need.

“We are not faced with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis which is both social and environmental.” (Pope Francis, Laudato Si)

And CAFOD has further information, including teaching resources available by clicking here.



The Contribution of Our Schools to Live Simply

The young people in our two parish schools have and continue to be involved in a wide range of social justice and environmental projects which their teachers have related to Pope Francis’s Laudato Si Encyclical. You can read more by clicking on the pictures of the schools below about the interesting things that they have been doing and what further projects are planned.

A Live Simply Prayer

Compassionate and loving God,
you created a beautiful world for us to share:
Give us the desire to live simply,
so that our lives show your generosity.
You made us responsible for the earth:
guide us so that those who come after us may enjoy your creation. Amen.
Source: The Jesuit Institute

A Live Simply Hymn

If you are planning a Live Simply service or spiritual event why not include the CAFOD Living Simply Hymn?

Live Simply Parish Coordinator Needed

We need a volunteer to help put together our Live Simply Award submission. This would not involve leading on any of the activities or projects either currently taking place or those planned in the future.

If you would like to respond to Pope Francis’s appeal in Laudato Si and do something practical in our parish why not volunteer.

If you are interested in being our Parish Live Simply Award Coordinator please contact either Kevin Haigh or Tom Quigley. Contact information is available under CAFOD Live Simply on the notice board at the back of church.