Walk of Witness to the Conservative Party Conference to call for action to assist refugees

A group of over 130  participated in a ‘walk of witness’ with a Lampedusa cross on Sunday 2 October, outside the Conservative Party Conference to show support for action to assist refugees.

The walk of witness sets out from St. Chad's.

Parishioners walk from St. Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham, to the Conservative Party Conference to call for action to assist refugees.

Following Sunday morning Mass at St. Chad’s Cathedral, the a group of over 130 people walked along Birmingham’s historic canals, reading liturgies and reflecting on the refugee crisis, as they headed towards the Conservative Party Conference.

Learn more about CAFOD and the Lampedusa cross.

They were led by Archbishop of Birmingham, The Most Reverend Bernard Longley, alongside CAFOD Head of Campaigns, Dan Hale who in conjunction with Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN), local charities Brushstrokes and Father Hudson’s care organised the event.

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Burntwood Parishioners Show Solidarity with Refugees

IMG_0592 - CopyOn Sunday 15 August St Joseph’s CAFOD group in Burntwood, together with their Parish Priest, Father Paul Haines and twenty-two fellow parishioners, took part in CAFOD’s Year of Mercy pilgrimage to show solidarity with the world’s refugees.

Mary Kane, CAFOD’s Parish Volunteer at St Joseph’s said ‘We were inspired by a deep mutual concern for the terrible plight of those displaced by war, famine and persecution. We wanted to make a special prayer vigil for them and were further inspired by the very moving prayers and images on CAFOD’s website.’

How to organise a Year of Mercy Pilgrimage with your community

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The Lampedusa Cross

The group created a display and placed it in front of the altar beside the Lampedusa Cross, which they borrowed from CAFOD and is normally on display at St Chad’s Cathedral.

With Helen from the CAFOD group carrying the cross, they did two stages of the pilgrimage in the church grounds and the remaining five inside the church, using the prayers and reflections provided by CAFOD.

Find out more about the Lampedusa Cross

Over tea and cakes in the hall afterwards many people said how moving they had found the pilgrimage. They were visibly touched. Everyone completed Message of Hope cards, which will be dedicated at the end of the Year of Mercy and shared with refugees from all over the world.

Students from Cardinal Newman Catholic School, Coventry reflect on the Lampedusa Cross and offer messages of hope and love to refugees

At the start of July, Cardinal Newman Secondary School, Coventry hosted our Lampedusa Cross and completed messages of hope cards to be shared with refugees at the end of the Year of Mercy.

Lampedusa Cross, Cardinal Newman, CovCardinal Newman’s Chaplain, Laura Kemp, tells us more:

‘We had the honour of having a Lampedusa cross in school, this cross is on a pilgrimage to teach others and share a message of hope and salvation, whilst also raising awareness of the suffering of those seeking refuge.

The Lampedusa cross is made from the pieces of boat that was wrecked off the coast of Lampedusa. This boat was carrying nearly 400 people from Somali and Eritrea seeking safety and refuge- 311 drowned on the journey. Francesco Tuccio used parts of the shipwreck to make crosses for the survivors as a symbol of hope after their ordeal. Some of these crosses are now travelling round the world as a message of hope, peace and mercy.

Students have been reflecting upon the significance of this cross and writing messages to those seeking refuge, all of these messages will join the CAFOD campaign and will also be sent to refugees around the world as messages of hope and love. We are extremely proud of the respect, love and understanding that our students have voiced in their messages.’

Laura Kemp, Lay Chaplain

Our Lampedusa Cross for the Birmingham Archdiocese is on display at St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham.

If you would like to borrow the Lampedusa Cross for your parish or school pilgrimage or messages of hope card signing, do get in touch (birmingham@cafod.org.uk).