On a cold night, three years ago a boat filled with refugees trying to reach Europe capsized off the coast of Lampedusa. Three hundred and eleven people perished. Moved by the loss of life, carpenter Francesco Tuccio made the Lampedusa Cross and offered this simple, handmade cross to the survivors of the disaster as a sign of hope.
Pope Francis carried a cross at a memorial service visiting the site of the tragedy stating that “We are a society which has forgotten how to weep, how to experience compassion”. Refugee boats have continued to land and sink off the coast of Lampedusa; the crosses now in cathedrals across England and Wales, are made from wreckage of these boats.
On April 21, Deborah Purfield from CAFOD met with the Bishop, Peter Doyle, to present him with a Lampedusa Cross to display in the Cathedral of Our Lady and St Thomas, before it goes on a journey around the Diocese.
There will be a display with the cross where visitors can show their solidarity with refugees and information on how parishes can contact the local CAFOD Northampton office to loan a the cross to hold their own ‘pilgrimage’ (like a Stations of the Cross) event at their parish.
Cards of solidarity to write a message of hope for all refugees are available from the Cathedral, and also within the pilgrimage pack from CAFOD. These will be collected by CAFOD and shared with Refugees across the world
If you would like to host the Lampedusa Cross in your parish for a time and hold a pilgrimage event, then please email Deborah Purfield at the CAFOD office at firstname.lastname@example.org