Catholics from the Diocese of Lancaster, and from across the North East of England, brave the high tides of Holy Island to raise awareness of the Refugee Crisis.
Over 150 parishioners from across the Diocese of Lancaster and the North East of England came together on Saturday 10th September to take part in a pilgrimage. Parishioners walked knee-deep in the North Sea to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, holding a Lampedusa Cross. People travelled from as far as Lancaster and Leeds to walk the route and reflect on the refugee crisis.
Sicilian carpenter Francesco Tuccio made rough crosses from the wreckage of a boat carrying refugees that sank off the island of Lampedusa. The crosses were offered to survivors as a symbol of their rescue and a sign of hope.
Kevin Haigh, Parish volunteer, said:
“We had three coaches from the North East and various private cars from Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Leeds. Everyone was looking to get started on the Lindisfarne causeway and we gathered at the west end of the Island to start our walk. After the pilgrimage, a liturgy and mass was then held at St. Aidan’s, where three months ago a Lampedusa Cross had been left by Sheffield duo Libby and Martin Desforges, after they completed a 350 mile pilgrimage by bike from Iona to the Island.”
During the pilgrimage, CAFOD gave each pilgrim a Lampedusa Cross card, on which they could write messages of hope for refugees. These were presented during the offertory procession, along with the cross, to the priest during the Mass.
Patrick Gardener, CAFOD Representative in Lancaster, said:
“It is wonderful to hear of Lampedusa Cross pilgrimages that bring together communities, walking in solidarity with refugees. The compassion shown by Catholics in the North is extraordinary. This is a very real way of letting those who have been forced from their homes know that we do care. It brings the message home that people around the world are suffering.”
The Lampedusa Cross is due to be installed at Lancaster Cathedral on Saturday 25th September at 10:30am. All are welcome to attend the Mass.
Inspired by Francesco Tuccio’s actions, CAFOD are sending a Lampedusa Cross to every Cathedral in England and Wales. For the duration of the stay of the cross, CAFOD will make available cards on which we may write messages of hope.