On Monday 14 November, Christians from six different churches came together at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic church, Porthcawl, to reflect on and pray for people affected by the refugee crisis. The interdenominational service saw over 40 Christians from a variety of backgrounds assemble to make readings, share experiences and offer messages of hope to people who are making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea.
Many millions have fled their homes due to war, famine, poverty and climate change and are living displaced in camps, on the streets or even in the wilderness across the globe. Many have no access to basic sanitation or adequate food – not to mention medical care and education for young people.
The service was organised by Deacon Robert Coyne of Our Lady Star of the Sea and Jenny Worthington, CAFOD parish volunteer. Clergy and parishioners from across the Porthcawl community participated in the service where tales of the hardships and ordeals of those making journeys of many hundreds of miles were heard. Parishioners heard about the number of countries that people were fleeing from and the range of reasons why they have no option but to leave their families, homes, jobs and communities behind. Those in attendance were reminded that ‘Jesus was a refugee’ and that we have a Christian duty to hold our brothers and sisters in our prayers as they seek not just a better life, but their very survival.
Jenny, who helped to organise the service was pleased with the response: “It was wonderful to welcome Christians from other churches in our town and to come together in solidarity with, and to pray for, all refugees forced to flee their homes. I found it a very moving service and I am grateful to those who came to offer their support.”
Therese Warwick, CAFOD representative in South Wales also found the service very moving. She said: “The service was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on what is a truly shocking humanitarian emergency. From January to May this year, over 200,000 people have arrived in Southern Europe with over 2,400 perishing. CAFOD is working with partner organisations in places where refugees are arriving to provide food, shelter and medical assistance.”
CAFOD is very grateful for the support of those in attendance. Our shared prayers reflect a common Christian commitment to help those in need and put an end to this crisis. All of kind donations received at the event will go towards CAFOD’s refugee crisis appeal.