Last Sunday, St Mary’s Harborne took part in Share the Journey, a global call to walk together in solidarity with migrants all over the world.
How could our stroll on Sunday have any comparison with those who are forced to leave their homes for fear of their lives or their livelihoods? How could it be related in any way with those who face a dangerous journey with an uncertain end?
It is, of course, about acting in solidarity – which can a tough concept to describe and to feel. Wikipedia says it “refers to the ties in a society that bind people together as one”. There is a part of me that thinks that that must mean that unless I walk hundreds of miles and risk my life in a rickety boat, I am not in solidarity. A walk in the park won’t cut it.
But it does cut it. I could have been doing other things on Sunday morning, I wasn’t, I was walking purposefully with a group of people who share a belief that having to leave your homeland and flea is not a good thing. We were listening to stories of refugees as we walked. And we were praying together.
Do I know it works? Yes I do, that is my faith of course. I believe that my prayers and my deliberate footsteps in the sunshine in a park in Birmingham will be felt by refugees the world over. It’s what gives me hope that together we can make the world a safer place for everyone.
We were joined by a photographer, James Maher, who spent some time with the Lampedusa Cross we were carrying, a simple cross, made by Francesco Tuccio on the island of Lampedusa from the wreckage of boats carrying migrants, which he finds washed up on beaches. James’ passion for taking photographs of the cross was obvious and wiped away my feeling that we may not have done very much.
We were passionate and hopeful and walking together with thousands of others around the world. That makes our small number of steps go a long way.
Article by Abigail McMillan
Photo Credit: James P Maher of Giant Peach Photography
Inspired by Pope Francis’s call to Share the Journey with refugees and migrants forced by war or poverty to leave their homelands, a group of 36 CAFOD supporters from parishes in North Staffordshire gathered at Sacred Heart Church in Hanley on Saturday 16 June and walked a total of 40.8 miles. The miles walked by the group will be added to the totaliser , demonstrating solidarity with those on the move and asking world leaders to agree new and ambitious UN agreements on migration.
The walk was led by Bishop David McGough, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham. The M.P. for Stoke Central, Gareth Snell took part as did local councillor Amjid Wazir.
CAFOD Volunteer Phil Mayland, who organised the walk said ‘We were pleased with the turn out because it was raining quite heavily earlier. The walk itself was very good. We stopped to listen to stories of refugees at the City Central Mosque, St Mark’s (C of E) Shelton, and ASHA. Sanctus St Mark’s and ASHA are the two main agencies offering extra support to asylum seekers and refugees in Stoke-on-Trent. We stopped at ASHA for refreshments and as we returned via the Mosque we were welcomed with bottled water, orange juice and the biggest box of Medjoul dates you have ever seen!’
If you would like to organise your own Share the Journey walk, please do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website.