If it’s not raining outside at the moment don’t feel too pleased. Southern and Eastern England is experiencing the worst drought for almost 40 years. Without a wet spring and summer severe restrictions on domestic water usage might be introduced, while street stand-pumps could once again be commonplace. Yet any inconvenience we suffer in this country pales in comparison with the kind of water problems that bring death to people in many parts of the world.

According to CAFOD, the aid and development agency of our Catholic community in England and Wales, one in eight people on the planet does not have access to clean water, and every twenty seconds a child dies because of dirty water. This Lent, the beginning of which we marked a few days ago on Ash Wednesday, CAFOD invites us to focus on the gift of water, by donating to water related projects via the agency’s website or putting money in fast day envelopes available in most Catholic churches.

CAFOD has been organising Lenten fast collections for most of its 50 year existence. But this year is particularly special and offers a unique opportunity because the generosity of the Catholic community is being recognised by the UK government. Under the UK Aid Match scheme, the government will match pound for pound every donation given to CAFOD. So, for every pound you’re able to give, CAFOD will receive an extra pound to help save and improve the lives of thousands of people. So please be generous. Combining the power of prayer with material resources we can spread the water of life, as well as the spirit, to dry land.

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