We continue to “Share the Journey”, now from Flitwick to Leighton Buzzard

There is no better time for the outdoors than the summer months, and joining a good cause can certainly increase the enjoyment.  At least, this is what seems to have spurred 30 parishioners form Sacred Heart in Flitwick and Leighton Buzzard to pop on the walking shoes on Saturday 21 July. Such was their enthusiasm that we’ve asked them to tell the experience in their own words. This is what they told us:

Leg 1 – Flitwick to Eversholt (Jim Aylward)

We brought together the two parishes served by Fr John Danford for this walk.  It was a glorious day and we started with a reading and blessing from Deacon Philip.

Opening prayer reflections by Deacon Philip – Share the Journey walk

The walk really had two purposes. First, to add miles to CAFOD’s totaliser and the Share the Journey campaign. Secondly, to raise money for the Just one House scheme operated by Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes.

Group from Filitwick on Share the Journey walk

Fr John and Anne-Marie walked the whole distance from Flitwick to Leighton Buzzard, and the 30 parishioners (of all ages!), including our official photographer Theresa, walked as far as Eversholt. Half of the group then walked back to Flitwick.

 

Our first short stop was at a beautiful shaded area where a wooden footbridge crosses the river Flit. There we had a reading of the testimony of Khodesa, one of the refugees featured in the CAFOD leaflet, and reflected on the contrast between her life and ours.

We walked on through fields of wheat ready to harvest, crossed the M1 (on a footbridge!) and reached Tingrith, where we had another short stop. We had a reading of the inspiring poem by Brian Bilston, which has a completely different meaning when the lines are read in reverse order.

We reached Eversholt just 15 minutes late, which was no small achievement, considering the hot temperature that day. There, the two groups from Flitwick and Eversholt met up, and Mary Flach led a service in the shade of the churchyard. We had readings of the testimony of Khodesa, Nazir, David, Manuel, and Mohammed, the five refugees featured in the CAFOD leaflets.  We had a period of quiet and reflection, following which Peter reminded us that many of those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire just over a year ago were migrants and refugees.  Fr John offered prayers for them, and for the refugee family we will help to house and support in Milton Keynes.

Stage 1 of Share the Journey walk from Flitwick

We had our picnic lunch at the cricket ground (or fine meal in the Green Man!).  Fr John and Anne-Marie then set off for Leighton Buzzard with their group, while we bade them farewell and set off on our return to sunny Flitwick.

Ready for next part of the Share the Journey walk

It was a joyous occasion, and we felt uplifted that we had contributed in some way to the CAFOD campaign to urge world leaders to ensure greater compassion and fairer treatment for migrants and refugees, and we made an encouraging star to our project to raise funds for Just one House.

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Holy Family in Langley joins “Share the Journey”

A stroll through the park on a sunny Sunday afternoon is probably one of the most emblematic images of the British summer.  And sunny afternoons have been in abundance! So, walking shoes on and off our walkers go! An almost two miles walk (3km) through Black Park in Slough brought together ten parishioners from Holy Family (nine adults and a child), joining CAFOD’s Share the Journey campaign and clocking another 19 miles to the totaliser.

Cafod Walk- Photo 2[27862]

The walk had been enthusiastically supported by Fr Kevin, the parish priest, who at various masses explained that Share the Journey is a global global campaign to raise the profile of migrants and refugees and to lobby world leaders to take decisive steps to respect and protect their lives and human dignity.  Fr Kevin encouraged parishioners to take part in the Walk to support refugees and migrants who suffer worldwide.  Parishioner Georgina and CAFOD parish volunteer Rose also gave short talks at all the masses.  Details of the walk were advertised in the parish bulletin for three consecutive weeks.

>>  Sign our petition to the PM here.

StJ icon

The group used the CAFOD Share the Journey resources during the walk. They started with CAFOD’s opening prayer.  During the walk, they learnt about the often tragic stories of danger, separation and uncertainty that characterise refugees journeys into Europe. They read about the perilous and difficult journey of an Eritrean couple, the ordeal of family separation of a Sri Lankan refugee and the trauma of  a young Afghan man seeking asylum in the UK as an unaccompanied minor. The walk concluded with the end of walk prayer and a greater sense of solidarity with the plea of migrants and refugees by all who took part in this very special Sunday afternoon walk.

Barefoot children.

>>  Learn more about Share the Journey here.

>> To organise your own walk click here

 

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