The Parish of St Teresa of The Child Jesus made the Year of Mercy Pilgrimage walk in the hills above Princes Risborough on Sunday 24th July.
We began at the church with the first reflection before the Blessed Sacrament at 2pm before setting off on a walk of almost silent witness. A few people who were unable to walk with us stayed behind in the church to pray for the suffering refugees throughout.
After walking up through the street carrying the Lampedusa Cross (borrowed from the cathedral) before us we made our way towards the hills. In the course of our journey we met several groups of Sunday walkers who greeted us and at a couple of our stopping places we were able to explain to curious onlookers what we were doing. They were interested, supportive in their words, and even took a group photo for us. At each stop we passed the Cross to another person to carry at the head of our walkers. Anne Harding (one of the organisers) commented, “It really made a difference having the Lampedusa cross with us, it was so special and a great witness!”
Some of the route was hilly, some not the easiest underfoot and at places we could see either the town below us like homes that we had left behind or miles of countryside that appeared to offer no shelter to travelers. Of course there is no comparison with the plight of fleeing refugees, but it all gave us an insight into the probable loneliness, fear and possible desperation of those forced to leave their homes through war, poverty and persecution.
Our final stop en route was at the Anglican church of St Dunstan in Monks Risborough in whose grounds our former Parish Priest is buried. Here, as the door was open, we went inside to read and contemplate our 6th reflection. As the Vicar, known to many of us, was working in the church we explained to him what we were about. He joined us in prayer for the refugees and took one of our reflection booklets before we left. It was good to include another in our ‘walk’, thinking and prayers.
The afternoon pilgrimage finished back at St Teresa’s Church with the last reflection and Benediction. We then wrote messages of hope on the Lampedusa action cards and enjoyed a good cup of tea. We are so blessed to be always assured of a welcome in our church and refreshment for the weary.
If you would like to borrow the Lampedusa Cross, please get in touch with the Northampton cathedral. You can download all resources from the CAFOD website or get in touch if you want more information.
Written by Betty Cresswell