On Thursday, April 6, members of St Maria Goretti, Parish, Bucknall, Stoke-on-Trent, arranged to have a Refugee Solidarity Liturgy followed by a simple supper of soup, bread and cheese. Anne Cooke, the parish CAFOD Parish contact, together with her husband, Phil, and members of their CAFOD Group, planned this evening as a response to the urgent situation in East Africa, where over 16 million children, women and men are in urgent need of food, following months of drought. She had attended the Refugee pilgrimage held last year during the Year of Mercy and so invited Phil Mayland, CAFOD’s North Staffs Area coordinator to lead the Liturgy, together with Fr Michael Vaughan, Ann Hewetson and Lyn Mayland.
This Liturgy, in the form of a pilgrimage, informs us of the reasons why so many people are having to move from their homes and become refugees. These reasons are war and conflict, persecution, and the effects of climate change. The dangers faced on the journeys are highlighted, as is the fact that many families are split up because some have to be left behind, or get separated on the journeys. It finishes with a contemplation of the Lampedusa Cross.
In 2013, a carpenter on the island of Lampedusa, Francesco Tuccio, collected wood from the wreckage of a capsized boat and made simple crosses to give to the survivors of this wreck. 349 people from Eritrea and Somalia died in this wreck. There were 151 survivors. There are crosses from Lampedusa in the Vatican, in the British Museum and last year CAFOD obtained crosses for each Diocese in England and Wales.
The participants were asked to write messages of hope for refugees. These will be distributed to those asylum seekers who are housed locally in Stoke-on-Trent.
Thirty five members of the parish each paid £3 towards the cost of the supper, and with the proceeds from a raffle and a couple of very generous donations the total raised was £450.
St Maria Goretti, Parish, Bucknall, Stoke on Trent