On Sunday, 15 July, 43 parishioners from St Helen’s RC parish in Caerphilly (plus 4 dogs) answered Pope Francis’s call to ShareThe Journey which calls on us all to be “welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating migrants and refugees.”
Parish priest, Father John Kelly, welcomed the walkers and the group was blessed with good weather (32 degree heat!) as they set off from the church at 3 pm to walk around the beautiful and historic Caerphilly Castle.
Long-serving local MP for Caerphilly, Wayne David, joined the walk and added his support to the global campaign which is calling on the UK government to take a lead when the United Nations meet in September and December this year to agree new global agreements on refugees and migrants.
These agreements will set the tone for many years to come on how refugees are treated and welcomed around the world.
“Refugees are not numbers to be distributed and allocated, but persons with a name, a story, with hopes and aspirations.”
The walk around Caerphilly Castle was punctuated with pauses for short readings about the journeys that individual refugees had been forced to make, due to war, persecution, poverty or natural disaster.
We then heard how each individual had been helped to build a new life in a host country through projects that CAFOD/CARITAS is supporting. There was time for reflection and we joined in a short prayer after each story was shared.
A total of 67 miles was achieved and will be added to the online totaliser as we attempt to walk around the world for a SECOND time!
The walk, by young and old(er) alike was a tremendous achievement!
Then it was back to the parish hall for very welcome hot or cold drinks that we provided by a thoughtful parishioner.
“Love — caritas — is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace.” Pope Benedict
This weekend CAFOD volunteer, Berenice Williams, and fellow wonderful CAFOD group supporters at St Helen’s, will be at church again with petition cards for parishioners to sign to ask our government to work with world leaders for fair agreements on migration and refugees.
There are many resources available to support parishes across the country, but one of the easiest ways to add your voice is by signing the online petition.
“If we bond with refugees and migrants, we will break down the barriers with which some are trying to separate us. The campaign reaches out to recognise, restore and share our common humanity.”
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, President of Caritas Internationalis
Find out, in more detail, the 20 Action Points for the UN compacts on Refugee and Migrants.