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.
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.
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.
On 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.’
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.
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.
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.
Cardinal 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.