First Share the Journey walk in Herefordshire

War, persecution, natural disasters and poverty force millions of people from their homes.

Most come from poor countries and seek safety in other poor countries nearby.

Dispelling myths about refugees and migrants is something we can all help with.

And this was how parishioners from St Frances of Rome church in the beautiful market town of Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire responded to Pope Francis’ call to welcome refugees and migrants with open arms.

Altar servers, twin brothers, Tom & Gerry

The liveSimply group in the parish organised a Share the Journey walk around the buggy route in the town, to coincide with the end of Refugee Week.

Before setting off, parish priest, Father Nicholas James, blessed the entire congregation as well as the group of walkers.

At the end of their journey, the group had totted up 40 miles which has been added to CAFOD’s online totaliser for Share the Journey.

It is a shocking fact that at the end of last year, 68.5 million people were displaced around the world due to persecution, conflict or violence.

Few us can even imagine being at home and suddenly have to escape with our family and leave absolutely everything we own behind.

We can try to imagine setting off on a long journey to find a new home.  Not knowing how long we will be walking, when we will next eat or where we can rest.

Alone and afraid, there is now doubt that we would welcome someone to reach and talk to us, to share the journey with us.

But this was just like Dilda’s journey.  She fled from Myanmar to escape violence in her village.

She says: “We didn’t bring a thing.  We just grabbed the children and ran.”

Dilda left everything behind.  Her home, her possessions, everything – for a temporary shelter on the side of the road.

Her children are scarred by what they have seen.

We cannot cross by on the other side while our neighbours are struggling.

The church has been at the forefront of reaching out to refugees and migrants but so far our world leaders are not meeting the challenge.

Alongside Catholics around the world, we are asking them to step up.

Parishes, schools around the country can help to send a powerful message to world leader who are drawing up new global agreements at the UN in September and December this year.

How?  By sharing the journey.  By joining us on a walk.  Not just any walk, but a walk around the world.

The target was 24,900 miles – the distance around the whole world.

But we’ve achieved that already!!

We are walking around the world a second time…

CAFOD will  use the #sharethejourney walks and card signings in parishes and schools to demonstrate our solidarity with people on the move to our Prime Minister, Theresa May, to our local MPs and the government.

We hope to influence the UN so that the new agreements will respect human dignity; protect the vulnerable; support host countries; keep families together and tacked the reasons why people migrate.

Please consider signing the online petition today to ask the UN to agree compassionate agreements which respect human dignity of all people.

If you would like to know more about organising a walk in your parish or school, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and we’d be delighted to support you.  You can order action cards here.

Loving God, You walk with those searching for a better life.  May we work together to share the journey and offer everyone a loving welcome. Amen.

 

Walking in solidarity in Monmouth

St Mary’s parish in the historic market town of Monmouth had organised their Share the Journey walk to coincide with the start of this year’s Refugee Week.

Parish Priest, Father Nicholas James, gave his blessing as the intrepid walkers, set off after Mass on Sunday morning (17 June).

The route chosen was the beautiful Peregrine Path, which after leaving the centre of Monmouth – the birthplace of Henry V – and crossing underneath the A40 – finds tranquillity and nature in all its glory as the path curls along the former railway line which ran adjacent to the beautiful River Wye – known for its salmon-rich waters – towards Symonds Yat in the Wye Valley.

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Share The Journey in Herefordshire

Representatives of the Herefordshire deanery parishes including Fr Matthew and Fr Simon

The Herefordshire deanery of parishes attended a presentation on Share the Journey, followed by Mass at Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs in Hereford on Tuesday, 8 May.

Our thanks to the Dean, Fr Matthew Carney for his kind hospitality and welcome.

Share the Journey is a global campaign launched by Pope Francis in Autumn 2017. The Holy Father is hoping that each and every one of us will step up and show our support for refugees and migrants.

The meeting was called to give more background to the campaign and what it is calling for and to ask our supporters and their fellow parishioners to get together to organise a walk in their individual parish – to show solidarity with our neighbours who are fleeing their homes.

Every step we each take, together in our parishes, with our fellow townspeople, with other faith groups, will send a message to world leaders that we want them to step up too.

The aim is to walk 24,900 miles around the world – it isn’t as difficult as you might imagine… you don’t have to attempt the strenuous Pen y Fan and Corn Du circular walk or the Black Hill (Crib y Garth) in the Black Mountains in Herefordshire… you can just walk inside your church, around the pews, slowly, in pairs – holding the CAFOD action card in your hand, to guide your conversation.

You might walk around the church a couple of times – you might achieve half a mile each, but with a group of people, all walking together, the miles will soon add up…

The action cards include a story, prayers and questions for reflection; a message to send to the Prime Minister, Theresa May, calling for global agreements which put the human dignity of people on the move at their heart.

You can download a Share the Journey Organiser’s guide and if you order any of the petition cards, you will be sent a copy of the organiser’s guide automatically.

There is an informative Share the Journey factsheet with all the information you need at your fingertips to get started and which you can share with your fellow parishioners.

There is a short talk available, if you are able to say a few words after Mass about the campaign and a generic poster which you can also use to spread the message to as wide an audience as possible.

If you are thinking of inviting your MP, then why not take a look at this template for ideas which you can then personalise.

Some of our supporters who write to their MPs 3 or 4 times a year – before a reception at Parliament – talking about Share the Journey with their MP

If you would like us to come along to your parish to give a short presentation on the campaign, we would be delighted to support you.

Lastly, if your parish is getting involved – please, please let us know when and where!

We are here to help publicise your good work and we want to do that as effectively as possible.

You might like to think about holding a walk or card signing during Refugee Week which is from 16-24 June.  Some frequently asked questions can be found here.

Here is the link to our Facebook page and please follow us on Twitter too.

There is a Share the Journey online petition here which you can sign. Please encourage others to do the same.  Thank you.

Here’s the Health and Safety guide for your walk.

If you can’t get together with others to organise a walk, please can we encourage you to organise a petition card signing event after Mass.

Don’t forget to send us any photos you take, and if you have enough time, a few details about what motivated you to get involved and raise your voice in solidarity?