Skip to Content

Monthly Prayer: July 2024

Jenna Fulton

This month’s reflection comes from Jenna Fulton, Community Engagement Officer at SCIAF. It focuses on our Parishes and how they come together in support of God’s call to love our neighbour.

Read her personal reflection on her time at SCIAF and about the unwavering support of Parishes.

I’ve recently celebrated one year working at SCIAF. What a year it’s been! Starting a new job is always a little scary but starting a new job in a new field was terrifying for me. It’s been an interesting year to say the least and I’ve learned so much not only about the work of SCIAF, our mission, and Catholic Social Teaching, but also, about our supporters! 

As Community Engagement Officer, I’m privileged to visit schools, universities, groups and parishes across Scotland to speak about the incredible work of SCIAF and to plan and execute fundraising events to raise funds for our life-transforming work. It’s also been incredibly interesting to work with the wider Caritas Family, as part of the global Church.  

I don’t believe I have a job, I believe I have a vocation. I want to help make the world a better place and I believe that SCIAF does just that.  

The hope we have is to live in a just world. A world where charities like us are not needed. A world where no one goes hungry, where no disasters happen, and the cruelties of war are a thing of the past.  

Unfortunately, at this stage it is not a reality. But we must have faith that this hope will one day be fulfilled.  

Through my past year I’ve seen in many Parishes that this hope that we have at SCIAF is a shared one. Next year SCIAF will turn 60 (in the year of Jubilee ‘Pilgrims of Hope’). That’s 60 years of helping people and millions of people’s lives that have changed for the better. It is also true that in these 60 years, SCIAF have had to change as an organisation too.  

We have developed, and changed the ways in which we work, ensuring that we are working in a way that reflects Catholic Social Teaching.  

SCIAF is part of the Church, led by the Bishop’s Conference of Scotland. Like the Church, I feel SCIAF has become humbler. This humility allows us to look in the mirror and see ourselves as we truly are. By doing this, we draw ourselves closer to our Lord ‘who humbled himself, even to accepting death on the cross’ (Phil 2:8). Jesus accepted this humiliating and painful death to save us from our sins and we are called to follow in Jesus’ example. It may be a difficult journey, but a journey that we must take.  Pope St. John Paul II defined it as “the total gift of self to the Church, following the example of Christ.”  A humbler Church is a more Christ-like Church. Pope Francis tells us that our Church must be ‘ready to welcome, protect, and integrate all, without distinction and without leaving anyone out’- our call to love thy neighbour and to show kindness and compassion to our sisters and brothers across the world. The only authentic way in which we can have and maintain a humbler church is through the power of the Holy Spirit.  

Pope Francis has inspired many of us to live a humble life, leading by example. I think in Scotland, many of us are brought up to be humble. However, many mistake humility for weakness. Humility is a sign of strength and great faith. Pope Francis has also encouraged us to put our faith into action, telling us “A Christianity which ‘does’ little in practice, while incessantly ‘explaining’ its teachings, is dangerously unbalanced”, he tells us to pray for the hungry but then to feed them. He calls for the Church not only to pray but to act and to advocate for change. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, “For no one can be a good shepherd unless he has become one with Christ and his members through charity”.  

In visiting Parishes and Schools across Scotland I have seen this call being answered first hand. The number of charities we support are rising, the need is enormous. It can be a little overwhelming, choosing a charity to support and we are incredibly blessed at SCIAF to have the backing of our schools and parishes in Scotland. 

In the past year I’ve been blown away by the dedication and support that our Parishes show. It’s been my great privilege to visit parishes and tell them about our work and to join them in prayer as they pray for the work of SCIAF through our incredible partners. I’ve seen single Parishes raising enough to fund water for an entire village, changing the lives of so many people, providing them not only with water, but a brighter future. I’ve listened to the sermons of many Priests who have called their congregation to live like Jesus, to show solidarity and to stand with our sisters and brothers living in the world’s poorest places or who are living in the midst of war and conflict. I’ve even been approached by parishioners who want to face the unforgiving Scottish weather to raise awareness and funds for SCIAF, without any personal gain. We are acting as one body!   

Our Parishes in Scotland are vital to the support we can offer. Last year, our Parishes raised an incredible amount. Despite the hardships that many people in Scotland are facing through the cost-of-living crisis, our Parishes are still reaching out in love and kindness to support their sisters and brothers living in the world’s poorest places. This generosity is truly inspiring. So, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every Parish in Scotland. Without your unwavering support through prayer, financial giving, and campaigning - we would not be able to continue our life-transforming work.  

Our humble, yet mighty Parishes across the country are a cornerstone to our work. Although children in our schools mainly ask about my journey to SCIAF, the Parishioners tend to ask about my journey in SCIAF. What are we doing? How are we helping? They ask about we. Our Parishes share the same hope as my colleagues and I. They ask collectively about we, because they know we are one Church, with a shared mission for a just world.   

Back to