CAFOD parish volunteer Hayley Benyon, together with members of the Holy Family parish CAFOD group in Freckleton and Warton, organised a Year of Mercy Pilgrimage Service for the Kirkham deanery. Hayley also volunteers as the CAFOD Deanery Coordinator for the Kirkham deanery.
On Thursday 30 June over 40 people gathered from 6 parishes of the Kirkham Deanery at Holy Family Catholic Church in Freckleton and Warton for an inspiring Year of Mercy Refugee Solidarity Pilgrimage. CAFOD parish volunteer, Hayley Benyon, together with members of the Holy Family parish CAFOD group, organised the prayer service for the deanery.
The Catholic community of Holy Family were delighted to receive a Lampedusa Cross into the parish. This will be displayed at Holy Family till next weekend, before moving on to other churches in the deanery.
In 2013 a boat carrying over five hundred migrants capsized off the coast of the Mediterranean Island of Lampedusa. Sadly many died but local carpenter, Francesco Tuccio, presented crosses made from the wreckage of the boat to the migrants as a sign of hope of new life. The crosses have become a symbol of new life.
Patrick Gardner from CAFOD Lancaster brought the cross which had previously been displayed and reflected upon by the parish of St Wilfrid’s in Preston during Refugee Week.
The Liturgy was led by representatives of the Holy Family CAFOD group. It was a wonderful sacred space for prayer and reflection. The idea of pilgrimage is especially powerful in the light of the current migration crisis. More people than ever before in human history are now on forced journeys far from home. Along the way, we reflected, “Who is my neighbour?”
We were uplifted and inspired by the service and the presence of the Lampedusa Cross and encouraged to show solidarity by writing messages of hope to refugees. These messages will be dedicated at the end of the Year of Mercy and CAFOD will share with refugees from all over the world.
Patrick said “It’s always a pleasure to visit parishes in the diocese and Holy Family is no exception. They always provide a warm welcome and are very supportive of our work. It was wonderful to see so many parishes in the deanery represented at the prayer service for refugees.”
Hayley Benyon, CAFOD parish volunteer and deanery coordinator commented, “We were privileged to be able to have a Lampedusa Cross with us for our service, which was made from a refugee boat. The cross gave us a strong feeling of connection with our refugee neighbours. Our pilgrimage was a way for us to show solidarity with all those fleeing war, poverty & persecution in our world.”
After the service, everyone gathered in the presbytery for refreshments and a chat. Our thanks go to Hayley, Fr Kevin, Holy Family CAFOD group and the Ccatholic community at Holy Family for hosting such a powerful service.