As the Year of Mercy draws to a close, many parishes around the Northampton diocese are holding special masses with the Lampedusa Cross (which is housed in the Cathedral) with the focuses on refugees. Yvonne from Sacred heart Leighton Buzzard shares her experience of the mass :
“Last weekend (29/30 Oct) we were so blessed to have the presence of the Lampedusa cross which has come all the way from the island of Lampedusa to our diocese. This was placed on the altar for all the weekend masses and its moving story was told to parishioners: how the carpenter Francesco Tuccio made rough crosses from the wreckage of a refugee boat with which to comfort survivors of the tragedy with a symbol of hope. We were told that Pope Francis has a similar cross and that one was requested for display in the British Museum. Fr John Danford (our parish priest) reminded us that the Holy Family were also refugees and had to flee persecution.
Cards from CAFOD were handed out so parishioners could write their own messages of hope for refugees. I was particularly moved by the prayer which Fr John wrote on his card, which he read out to us and which I share with you with his permission:
Never lose faith.
Never abandon hope.
Know always that God loves you and you are precious to him.
Whatever you suffer, Jesus suffers.
Whatever you endure, Jesus endures.
In your darkest hour, that is when Jesus is closest to you.
The sun will rise, for the Son has risen.
At the end of mass, Fr John gave each one of us a chance to venerate the cross which was so moving. Some people couldn’t complete the card there and then as they were so affected and wanted to reflect on what they had experience before putting pen to paper. All messages will be taken up at the offertory next week.”
There is still time if you want to write messages of hope . CAFOD will be dedicating the messages of hope at an advent service on 3 December (Salford) – although we’re happy to receive messages after this date.