Share the Journey at Kidwelly Quay

Parishioners from Holy Cross parish in Pontyberem near Carmarthen chose to make their Share the Journey walk at Kidwelly Quay which is located on the north bank of the Gwendraeth estuary.

We were guided by seasoned CAFOD campaigners, Paul and Stella Westmacott who are enlightened nature lovers and conservationists who embrace a liveSimply lifestyle.

Paul reading one of the refugee stories

And it was no surprise that the location chosen: Kidwelly Quay – is a Special Area of Conservation which attracts large numbers of birds to the sand and mud banks of the Gwendraeth River.

Wednesday 26 July was one of the most glorious Summer evenings we have enjoyed for a long time.

The temperature was still high as we set off at 6.30 pm but the wonderful, peaceful environs: the canal walk, salt marsh creeks with wildlife chirruping out of view, and a fresh-water pond all contributed to a very reflective walk surrounded on all sides by the beauty of creation in all its glory.

The setting we enjoyed was so far removed from that which many of our displaced brothers and sisters are facing around the world.  That very fact heightened the poignancy of the heart-rending stories we shared together.

Share the journey is a global campaign to promote Pope Francis’ “culture of encounter” whose goal is to increase the spaces and opportunities for migrants and local communities to meet, talk and take action.  We want to be welcoming and speak up for the rights of migrants and refugees.

There are many reasons why people migrate. War, persecution, natural disaster and poverty force millions of people from their homes. Most come from poor countries, and seek safety in poor countries nearby.

We cannot turn away. These are human beings with hopes, fears, desires and stories to share, just like each one of us.

Whatever the cause, migration has an impact on the place and the people left behind, the place of transit and the place where people eventually settle.

Pope Francis has declared this moment in time as a ‘unique opportunity’ for us to press our governments to make global commitments which place the human dignity of people on the move at their heart.

Jesus said: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”

Every encounter is an experience of otherness.  It begins with recognising that our humanity is made up of different faces, stories and cultures. We carry this diversity within ourselves, while being united by the same dignity.

The violation of human dignity, a founding value of the individual, has unfortunately happened throughout the history of humankind.  It is the most serious evil and the origin of many other evils – from poverty to exclusion, from hoarding of resources to the accumulation of enormous riches in the hands of a few, from violence to wars afflicting millions of humans beings.

To create a true, deep culture of encounter we must ask ourselves above all – as human being and parish communities – how Jesus would relate to the major modern exoduses of refugees and migrants?  How would he respond to the poor people who look for refuge in our communities?

In the Gospel, we see how Jesus meets with marginalised people without any fear.  He enters into the concreteness of their lives, their anxieties and their concerns and he helps them come out of their anonymity.  They are no longer numbers, but faces and real stories.

Today we are facing major challenges, due, among other things, to the unsustainable model of development, a source of growing inequalities, precariousness and forced exoduses of millions of people from their own lands.

Many paradigms known up to today about human existence on the earth have been thrown into crisis: the availability of food, water, energy and natural resources, climate change, migration, inviolability of borders, the different interpretations of democracy, the models of family life and relationships.

Trying to face these challenges and overcome the crisis in a positive way is not simple.  These changes are not only taking place quickly but they are also taking place at the same time, all over the world, and at the same time in the whole world.

The Share the Journey campaign is a start: to walk together in diversity and unity of faiths and religions, growing in reciprocal knowledge and respect , in communion and in common commitment for a fairer and more human world.

Pope Francis outlined a way forward:

“Contemporary movements of migration represent the largest movement of individuals, if not of people, in history.  Our shared response may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate.  I believe that conjugating these four verbs, in the first person singular and in the first person plural, is today a responsibility, a duty we have towards our brothers and sisters who, for various reasons, have been forced to leave their homeland: a duty of justice, of civility and of solidarity.”

Find out more about the UN agreements on Refugees and Migrants due to be adopted in September and December this year.

We all have a role to play in ensuring that the UN compacts keep human dignity at their heart.   How can you help?  Why not organise a Share the Journey walk in your parish?

If you want to chat about getting involved, please get in touch with us  or email us.

#sharethejourney

 

 

Reflections from Cardiff on Share the Journey

On Midsummer’s Day, June 21, parishioners from a number of parishes in the Archdiocese joined together to take part in a Share the Journey, circular walk around Cardiff Bay, starting out from the Norweigan Church and ending at the Senedd.

Over 40 miles were added to CAFOD’s online totaliser.

The walkers reflected on the stark fact that every minute, 20 people around the world are newly displaced. Half of the world’s refugees are children and thousands take flight without the protection of parents or other family members.

Here are some of their personal reflections on the refugee crisis:

From Roswitha, a parishioner from Penarth (pictured above second from left):

Walking around Cardiff Bay on a lovely summer’s day with a small band of CAFOD supporters was our contribution to Refugee Week and to Pope Francis’ global campaign of ‘Sharing the Journey’ with refugees.

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Taking action with a Share the Journey walk of witness at St Philip Evans, Cardiff

St Philip Evans parish in Llanedeyrn is home to the Cardiff Catholic Deaf Service and the “designated parish” serving Deaf people throughout the Archdiocese of Cardiff.

The parish covers Llanedeyrn, Pentwyn and Pontprennau.

On Saturday 7 July between 2.30 and 4 pm they are organising a parish walk.

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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.

 

Share the Journey walk around Cardiff Bay

Parishioners from across the Cardiff Archdiocese walk in solidarity with people on the move, as inspired by Pope Francis’s campaign Share the Journey. The walk, which took in the beautiful scenery of Cardiff Bay, offered a chance to reflect about the challenges and struggles that millions of people across the world are faced with when they are forced to move. Continue reading

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?