On Wednesday, 18 July on a beautifully warm Summer’s evening, the parishes of St Mary’s in Dinas Powys and St Joseph’s in Penarth on the outskirts of Cardiff met together to `Share the Journey’; to walk in solidarity with refugees and migrants.
“Christ asks us to welcome our brother and sister migrants and refugees with arms wide open.”
Share the Journey is a global campaign launched by Pope Francis to stand up for the rights of people on the move. The campaign is about raising awareness of the perilous journeys that refugees and migrants have to make when they are forced to leave their homes due to wars, the impact of climate change on their communities or persecution.
Refugees and migrants are often among the poorest and most vulnerable people. Most people on the move are coming from poor countries, and most seek safety in nearby poor countries or within their own country’s borders.
The communities who welcome them are often struggling to survive themselves.
Time and again, Pope Francis has returned to the idea of welcoming the stranger – in words but also in practice.
He has lambasted the “globalisation of indifference” on the island of Lampedusa where thousands of migrants landed. He chose to go there on his first visit outside Rome as Pope.
Members of the Penarth community have been very committed to working for justice and peace for many years and once again they stepped up in support of the campaign.
The group heard several powerful stories during the walk which gave us some small insight into the difficulties and choices that migrants and refugees who had come to settle in Cardiff – a City of Sanctuary – had been forced to face.
Being a City of Sanctuary means building a culture of hospitality and welcome and is part of a national movement which offers sanctuary to people fleeing violence or persecution and celebrates the contribution of asylum seekers and refugees to city life.
We reflected on how different their experiences are to our own. The stories that we heard were heart-breaking and sometimes shocking because of the levels of brutality and violence involved.
Some of the walkers knew the individuals personally and could bring us up-to-date with their current situation.
Some were volunteers at Cardiff based Space4U an organisation offering friendship and support, English classes, recreational activities, a simple hot meal, practical support and information. ship and support, Engli
The Share the Journey campaign continues until the end of the year. If you would like to organise a card signing in your parish, or a short walk around your parish church, please get in touch with us. We’re here to help and support you.
Gracious god, help us each day to live simply, taking small but deliberate steps to preserve the earth’s resources.
Creator God, may the beauty and bounty of this world remind us of your overflowing love for us.
Help us to remember that you made enough for all; teach us to share freely with one another, out of love for you and our neighbour.
Merciful God, whose son became a refugee and had no place to call his own, look with mercy on all those fleeting from danger, homelessness and hungry.
Bless those who work to bring them relief, inspire generosity in our hearts, and guide all nations towards a world where peace in built on justice and justice is guided by love. Amen.