“Hope is what drives the hearts of those who depart,” said Pope Francis on 27 September last year as he opened the Caritas/CAFOD Share the Journey campaign on migration.
The Holy Father gave an emotional endorsement for the need to build relationships between migrants, refugees and local communities; saying:
“It is also what drives the hearts of those who welcome; the desire to meet each other, get to know each other, to dialogue.”
These are the exact sentiments which prompted parishioners, lead by long-standing volunteer, Stuart Harper, from St David’s Priory Church in the centre of Swansea to reach out and organise their own Share the Journey walk and to try to make a positive difference to everyone with experience of migration.
Our leader for the walk was Ben. Being local to the area, he had mapped out a spectacular walk for us in the Mumbles through the hills and along the coast.
The weather was extremely hot with bright, blinding sunshine overhead.
Parts of the walk were steep, uneven, rocky and fairly arduous. We reflected on how much we needed to ration our water along the journey – and how this was a challenge facing many refugees fleeing from their homes at very short notice.
Later in the afternoon, we relished the cool, shady glades and the sounds coming from deep underground lakes inside dark caves.
The day was a wonderful opportunity for our own encounters and we discussed how, as a worldwide family, we must try to encourage others to rethink their preconceptions. Read our factsheet for more information.
Pope Francis was certainly showing us the road to take when he said:
“Migrants are our brothers and sisters in search of a better life, far away from poverty, hunger, exploitation and the unjust distribution of the planet’s resources which are meant to be equitably shared by all.”
The miles walked were added to CAFOD’s online totaliser where you can also find the stories of the refugees which we shared during the walk.
Around 5 pm we all decamped to the Beaufort Arms with a huge sense of achievement where we also enjoyed much needed liquid refreshment.
“In a spirit of compassion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands. It is not enough to open our hearts to the suffering of others. Much more remains to be done…” Pope Francis on World Day of Peace
Can you get involved with this important campaign too? It’s not too late! And we are here to help, get in touch with us and we’ll guide you through.
If you aren’t able to get a walk organised in your parish community, why not ask your parish priest if you could give a short, two minute talk at the end of Mass which gives a snapshot of the campaign and invite your fellow parishioners to sign a card.
The petition is asking the Prime Minister and the UK asking the government to lobby the United Nations to adopt compassionate and humane agreements for refugees and migrants. You can even sign online! Please share our refugee prayer.
“We must strive and ask for the grace to create a culture of encounter that restores to each person his or her own dignity. Pope Francis