As in 2015, the Central Beds pastoral area organised another Easter walk over the 5 Saturdays after Easter under the very capable leadership of Alban Macdonald (CAFOD campaigner). This time however, the focus was on the Share the Journey campaign.
Why this campaign? We are acting in response to Pope Francis’ concern for those who have been forced to flee from their homes.
The aim? A chance to reflect and an opportunity to send a powerful message that world leaders that they need to step up and agree ambitious new UN agreements on refugees and migration in September and beyond.
The target? Together to walk the distance round the world – 24,900miles. A gesture of solidarity.
>> Sign our petition to the PM and see how far we have walked
Pilgrims setting off on Stage 1 – Central Beds Share the Journey walk
Eleven people, plus a very well behaved dog, started this 9 mile Share the Journey pilgrimage from Gamlingay, which is just beyond the Boarder of Central Bedfordshire in Cambridgeshire, to Biggleswade. This means about 110miles added to the totaliser!
Alban welcomed and thanked everyone for joining in in particular the 3 people who had committed to doing all five stages with Alban (200miles!). Well done all!
There were opening reflections in which all were invited to consider where they had come from (lots were from migrant backgrounds) and where they had journeyed to (most had been outside the UK). He said, “Pope Francis is asking us to ‘welcome our brother and sister migrants and refugees with arms wide open’ and to call on world leaders to do the same when they develop new agreements on refugees and migration at the United Nations. Today we are symbolically sharing the journey with those who have been forced to flee their homes.”
Alban used the CAFOD Share the Journey resources to give examples of some stories of refugees and this ended with a prayer. Alban writes :
“The first part of the walk followed the well-established Greensands ridge walk which traversed the Everton Estate and then joined the public bridleway towards Deepdale ending at the RSPB lodge at the planned time of 12pm.
We were joined by Lucinda and Catherine for lunch and then took a leisurely stroll through the grounds of the RSPB, which was wonderfully peaceful. We thoroughly enjoyed scenes of their gardens in spring with daffodils and tulips flowering around us.
Beautiful RSPB Lodge where we stopped for lunch
From the RSPB we crossed Biggleswade common, negotiating the gates blocked by horses. We crossed below the North-East coast line railway and onto the banks of the River Ivel which we followed for about 2 miles to Biggleswade Mill. We arrived at St Peter’s church Biggleswade to a warm welcome. There Rosie Wiliams and Lyn Graves had some really tasty soup for us all to sample, together with Trish, Karen and Tim who joined us for the end of stage and final prayer.”
A big thank you to all those who participated in the walk, to those who prayed for the pilgrimage and to those who prepared refreshments and welcomed the pilgrims. A special thanks to Alban for organising and leading the group. Your actions will show world leaders that they too need to step up now and agree ambitious new UN agreements on refugees and migration.
>> Can you organise a Share the Journey walk in your parish, school or group? If so, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Share the Journey website.