More miles added to the Share the Journey campaign

On Saturday 16 June, a group of CAFOD supporters from St Teresa’s Parish in Princes Risborough completed a 5.5 miles walk through the gentle hills of the beautiful Chilterns countryside. The group were mostly parishioners from St Teresa’s.

Group setting off for the Share the Journey walk in solidarity with refugees and migrants

It was wonderful to have some of its younger members and Christians from other local churches invited through Churches Together.  They have clocked 77 miles into the totaliser.

Share the Journey

The route, chosen to maximise outreach, took the group through the centre of town, then out into the countryside and back into town again. The troop was spearheaded by the Lampedusa cross – a symbol of solidarity with refugees – and banners to enable pedestrian and motorists to note the aim of the walk  ie to “Share the Journey” in solidarity with those on the move.

During the walk, three reflections were read from the refugee petition cards. One was read by 14 year-old Benedict about a Syrian refugee. A second reflection was read by one of the parishioners from St Teresa’s about a refugee from Sudan, and the last one was read by a member of the Baptist Church about a refugee from Myanmar. The walk finished with a prayer for refugees, and a restorative feast of jam and custard doughnuts. chocolate biscuits, shortbread, and tea and coffee welcomed the group back at the church as a well deserved reward for safely completing the walk.

Share the Journey” is CAFOD’s campaign that responds to Pope Francis’ exortation to show solidarity with refugees and migrants.  As he writes in Laudato Si, “Every stranger who knocks at our door is an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age.”

If you want to learn more about Share the Journey or organise a walk in your parish or local area please get in touch with us or check out CAFOD’s Share the Journey Resources.

 

Central Beds Pilgrimage Stage 4 – Share the Journey

Sixteen people registered for the 12mile stage 4 walk across Central Beds. This time the walk was from Sacred Heart Flitwick to Sacred Heart Leighton Buzzard as part of the Share the Journey walk.  Together they have added about 200 miles to the totaliser.

Getting ready to start on their 11mile walk as part of Share the Journey – Stage 4

Why were they walking? They wanted to show world leaders that they too need to step up and agree ambitious new UN agreements on refugees and migration in September and beyond.

>> Sign our petition here

One of the walkers was Debbie Purfield (CAFOD coordinator) who was also on the stage 3 walk. She writes :

Starting the day with prayers and reflections for refugees

We started the day with prayer and reflection before setting off at about 9:20am. We walked with the Lampedusa cross (again) as a wonderful sign of solidarity with refugees.

>> Click here for all the resources for Share the Journey.

Having done the stage 3 walk which was a glorious sunny day and where I got so hot and in need of much hydration, I decided to wear less layers this time and carry more water. But wasn’t I in for a shock!

We passed through Flitwick Manor Park; a delightful little park with a lake and woods, and from there headed towards Manor Park House. From there we went through the woods and on to Harlington Wood End, past various farms on the way through fields of barley and yellow rapeseed before stopping for lunch at 1pm.

As it had been raining a lot, the fields were all muddy and there was no escaping from its clutches. This slowed us down and made walking so much more difficult with the added weight of the mud on our shoes.

Soaking, muddy shoes and not even half way through the walk

My shoes were soaked through and bubbles managed to find their way through various holes in them. After a while I could no longer feel my feet!  Not having a water proof jacket (how silly is that!) and walking through the fields where the rapeseed was up to our waist, my body was damp and the contents of my pockets soaking.

We were told off by some farmers for trespassing on their land (nearly had the dogs on us!) despite it being signposted as public way.  We had to climb over several styles some of which were so rickety and dangerous and with muddy shoes they were very slippery.  One of our group slipped and fell.  Thank God she was unhurt!  My fellow pilgrims were marvellous in their support and humour throughout the journey which sustained me.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Throughout all this, I couldn’t help reflect on the plight of refugees who have to face what we were going through but on a significantly larger and more horrendous scale. They get abuse, they have dangerous crossings, they are cold, wet and hungry and that is just the physical.  What emotional and mental burdens they carry is unthinkable!  We stopped to pray for our brothers and sisters on the move.

Stopping for reflection – Share the journey

After lunch (which we were so grateful for) we continued the rest of the route (last 4 miles), passing through Eggington and into Leighton Buzzard where we had a warm welcome and refreshments from Anne and Katy, parishioners of the Sacred Heart parish.

This walk was so much more difficult than stage 3 but it really brought home a loud message and made standing in solidarity with my brothers and sisters on the move more meaningful. I feel even more energised to invite others as well to call upon our world leaders to act to uphold the rights of refugees and migrants.”

In solidarity with refugees and migrants

 

Thank you Sacred Heart, Leighton Buzzard for your welcome and refreshments to the pilgrims.  To all those who participated on the walk, you are such an inspiration and well done to you!  A special thanks to organiser Alban Macdonald for his excellent and detail planning of the pilgrimage.

Your actions will show world leaders that they too need to step up now and agree ambitious new UN agreements on refugees and migration.

 

 

>> If you can organise a Share the Journey walk please get in touch northampton@cafod.org.uk or visit the Share the Journey website.

 

Central Beds Pilgrimage Stage 3 – Share the Journey

Inspired by Pope Francis’ special concern for people on the move, the pilgrimage across Central Beds. pastoral area continued on its third stage from Shefford to Flitwick. The aim?  Wanting to show world leaders that they too need to step up and agree ambitious new UN agreements on refugees and migration in September and beyond.  10 people registered to do the 10mile Share the Journey walk adding another 100miles to the totaliser.

Alban explaining how Pope Francis open wide his arms to welcome refugees

Pilgrims reflect and pray for refugees and migrants

The pilgrims met at St Francis of Assisi in Shefford where refreshments were served by Jenny Hyde, the campaign volunteer.  Fr Benny (parish priest) was there to welcome all and stayed for the short opening prayer and reflection before seeing the pilgrims off on their way at 10am.  They carried the Lampedusa Cross on this journey, like they did with the others, as a very visible sign of solidarity with refugees.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It was a lovely warm sunny day as the pilgrims headed south to Meppershall with its wonderful views, and then descended into the valley crossing a tributary of the River flit and passing through Upper Gravenhurst. They past the spectacular Wrest Park estate and went into Silsoe where they stopped for lunch at about 12:30am.  There were stops along the way for group reflection taken from the resources provide for Share the Journey.

Dee Viana who joined the group after lunch wrote :

Stopping for prayers and reflection in the Anglican church – Silsoe

Alban leading the Share the Journey reflection

“Before starting on the second part of the journey, the group stopped in the Anglican church in Silsoe and heard some more stories of refugees. It was so lovely and cool in the church and several of the walkers commented on those having to travel in harsh conditions without food and water.  Our organiser,  Alban Macdonald, informed us that every minute 20 people are forced to flee their homes leaving with only the clothes on their backs and the possessions they can carry.  It really made me think and realise how fortunate I aim and how things can change in an instant.  Only 8 years ago Syria was a modern peaceful country now it’s been torn apart and millions have fled.

Pilgrims – stage 3 of the Central Beds. walk – Share the Journey

We were lucky the weather was glorious. Our walk took us through Flitton a village I’d not visited before we saw how old Red phone boxes were being reused in the case of Flitton’s as a book library.  We crossed fields and walked by Flitwick Moor and woods where my shoes got a little wet walking across a water-logged field.

Joined by Rose – volunteer coordinator

I’m not an experienced walker but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the walk.  I didn’t know most of the walkers as they were from other parishes but we all chatted, and the two hours flew by.

We were joined by Rose (volunteer coordinator from Luton) for the last part of the walk. Rose was determine to do her part and add her miles to the walk.

Enjoying refreshments at Sacred Heart – Flitwick

 

We arrived at our destination Sacred Heart Church Flitwick where we were met with a warm welcome by some parishioners from Flitwick who had prepared lovely refreshments.  Most turned down the offer of a hot drink preferring the lovely ice-cold water after the long hot walk.  We finished the day with a reflection and deacon Philip led us in the closing prayer ”

Deacon Philip says the closing “Share the Journey” prayer

 

Thanks to St Francis of Assisi – Shefford and Sacred Heart Flitwick for your wonderful welcome, to Alban for organising the walk so well and to those who participated in it. Your actions are a wonderful sign of solidarity with our brothers and sisters on the move.

 

>> If you can organise a Share the Journey walk please get in touch northampton@cafod.org.uk or visit the Share the Journey website.