Share the Journey continues… this time with St Gilbert’s in the lead

On Sunday 24 June the last day of “Refugee Week” a group of eight adults and four  children – all under 11 –  went on a 4 mile circular walk to add their contribution to the Share the Journey campaign.

Starting from St Gilbert’s Church, in Eton Wick, the walk took them through some breathtaking views, all with a leisurely pace.  The weather was warm and dry, and the landscape seemed more verdant and bright than ever. They even saw two dragon flies courting in mid air – a remarkable sight!

They walked past Windsor Race Course on the opposite bank of the River Thames, Windsor Castle on the way from Eton Great Common to the Thames Path, and the Swan Life Line building, a sanctuary for injured swans.  The Thames Path was busy with dog walkers and cyclists, giving the group the opportunity to give witness of their commitment to refugees rights.  Visibility on the day was excellent, an added gift to photographers and artists.  After a banana break at Boveney Lock,  they walked along Conker Avenue, lined with horse chestnut trees and glimpsed a 13th century tiny Chapel, dedicated to St Mary Magdalene and set up for the Bargees,  i.e. Barge workers on the Thames.

The walk included stops at various points to meditate on the stories of the refugees, read from the CAFOD Campaign cards, and the children were fully involved throughout.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA>> Read their stories here

As most of our readers will know, Share the Journey is the global campaign inspired by Pope Francis to ‘welcome, protect, promote and integrate’ migrants and refugees. CAFOD has been instrumental in implementing this campaign in the UK by inviting Catholics to  walk as a symbol of solidarity with refugees and migrants. These walks aim to send a signal to our leaders  of the strong grassroot support for those in the move. It is also an exhortation to show leadership and act with courage and compassion, protecting migrants rights and putting their dignity at the heart of two global agreements on refugees and migration in September and beyond.

>> Sign our petition here

The final prayer was said at St Gilbert’ Church  The walk added an extra 50 miles to the totaliser, which includes the energetic contribution of the children. Not only a great result  but they seem to have thoroughly enjoyed themselves in the process!

Thank you to all who organised the walk and those who participated in the event.  Delighted that the children were able to participate fully too.

>> If you could organise a walk in your area, please get in touch : Northampton@cafod.org.uk

St Augustine’s MK sends a strong message to world leaders to step up

War, persecution, climate change and poverty force people from their homes, every minute 20 people around the world are newly displaced, more people are on the move than ever before.

Share the Journey walk – leaving St Augustine’s Milton Keynes

On Saturday 23 June, 45 people took part in a Share the Journey walk from St Augustine’s Church to Christ the Cornerstone in Milton Keynes.  It was organised by members of the fledgling CAFOD group at St Augustine led by Oby – the main campaigns volunteer.  The turnout was just amazing!!!

Building community spirit on the Share the Journey walk

Setting off on the walk of solidarity

Siobhan, one of our Gap year students from Milton Keynes who was on the walk writes:

“Share the Journey is a global campaign inspired by Pope Francis who urges all of us to ‘welcome, protect, promote and integrate’ migrants and refugees . CAFOD has been asking parishes and schools to walk in solidarity with refugees and migrants. By walking we are sending a powerful message to world leaders that they too need to step up and protect the rights of people on the move. They need to act with courage and compassion, putting human dignity at the heart of two global agreements on refugees and migration in September and beyond.

>> sign our petition here

Stopping to pray and reflect on the plight of refugees

As a group we walked 63 miles in total, 1.4 miles each! As we walked we carried the Lampedusa cross with us, a wonderful symbol of solidarity.  The cross was crafted from the wreckage of migrants boats which got washed up onto the shores of Lampedusa.  It is a reminder of the risk migrants take and that many do not make it to their destination.  We stopped for times of reflection and to listen to the stories of refugees and asylum seekers.

>> click here to read their stories and watch their videos below.

Sharing stories about refugees

It was great to be able to chat with other parishioners and get to know people a bit more – and build community spirit. Our walk was easy and the sun was shining on us which was lovely. We contrasted it to the difficult journeys many refugees around the world have to make.  We finished the walk with refreshments at Christ the Cornerstone which was a real treat.

We have already walked the circumference of the world, 24,900 miles, but we can’t stop here. Let’s make it round again! ”

>> check out how far we have already walked here.

Oby, our campaigns volunteer said, “the turn out was great and I really enjoyed organising this campaign and being part of it.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was so simple to organise too.  I would encourage other parishes to give it a go!”

Arrival at Christ the Cornerstone – 63miles added to the Share the Journey walk totaliser.

A big thank you to the CAFOD group at St Augustine, particularly to Oby, for helping to organise the walk, to Fr Francis Higgins (parish priest) for his support and to all those who participated in the walk. You have sent a powerful message to world leaders to protect the rights of people on the move.

> Click here for more information on how to organise a walk in your parish

 

Young CAFOD supporter talks about “Step into the GAP”

CAFOD has a wonderful Gap year programme in which young people have the opportunity to volunteer in the UK, gain experience, develop leadership skills and visit CAFOD partners overseas and the communities we work with.  This year Siobhan from Milton Keynes was fortunate to get into this programme and visited some of our projects in Sierra Leone. On her return, she was keen to share her experiences and has been into several parishes to do just that.  Northampton Cathedral was one of them and this is what she told us about her talk there on Sunday 24 June:

Speaking at Mass can seem daunting, but I soon realised that speaking about something which I am passionate about made those nerves disappear.

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I wanted to share my experience of taking part in CAFOD’s Step into the Gap programme and the visit to CAFOD’s partners in Sierra Leone.  I explained about the landslide that killed over 1000 people and displaced thousands more in Freetown, and about the work that Caritas Freetown, one of CAFOD’s partners, is doing there. We had the privilege of meeting a group of young volunteers who cleaned and did minor repairs on people’s houses under the supervision of the partner.  This enabled residents to move back into their homes.

As a young person myself, I felt inspired to be proactive as a Catholic in achieving social justice, and as Oscar Romero said, we need to be God’s microphone.

I finished with a quote from Pope Francis in his letter to young people:  “make your voice heard, let it resonate in communities and let it be heard by your shepherds of souls”

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Many people stopped to speak to me after Mass to find out more about the Step into the Gap programme and asked about my year volunteering with CAFOD, which was really wonderful. ”

Thanks so much Siobhan for sharing your experiences and hopefully many more young people will feel inspired to be part of this vision – a world transformed to reflect the Kingdom of God.