Justice and Peace walk at Penarth for Share the Journey

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 individual stories were extracts from a published book that the refugees and migrants had written themselves.

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.

Upcoming Share the Journey walks around the Archdiocese of Cardiff

We are delighted with the response to the Share the Journey campaign from the parishes around the Archdiocese.

The campaign has gathered enough momentum to have already reached its initial target of walking around the world: 24,900 miles.  We are hoping that this will get the attention of world leaders… please consider lobbying your MP.

We have a very useful and powerful scheme for MP Correspondents – people around the country who undertake to write to their local MP – a couple of times a year – to try to influence them to act on behalf of the world’s poorest people. Will you join us?

So now we are embarked on a SECOND walk around the world!

Since writing this we have already walked three times around the world in solidarity with our brothers and sisters.  We are now trying to make it a fourth time….

Please continue to respond to Pope Francis’ call for us all to to act in solidarity with refugees and migrants.

And getting involved in the Share the Journey campaign is just one way in which we can all respond.

So please sign up to add your voice to this important campaign which is lobbying the UK government to play a leading role when the United Nations agree new global agreements on the rights of refugees and migrants in September this year.

We are praying, walking, signing cards and lobbying our MPs to ask that these agreements are compassionate, respectful of human dignity and keep families together.

“God overturns every human preconception and prejudice which prevent us from grasping reality.” Pope Francis

So it’s an enormous thank you to the parishes who have already taken part by organising petition card signings or Share the Journey parish walks.

It’s easy to sign the petition online.

And there’s plenty of time for your parish and/or parish groups such as a Justice & Peace group, UCM, CWL or SVP, Catenians, etc to get involved….

Here is a list of upcoming parish walks which anyone is welcome to join.  Why not invite a friend along too?  The list will be updated with every new walk that is added and please don’t forget to let us know how you are getting involved.

Sunday 15 July – St Helen’s RC Church, Nantgarw Road, Caerphilly CF83 3FB.  Leaving St Helen’s church at 2.30 pm to walk around Caerphilly Castle.

Wednesday 18 July – St Mary’s RC Church, Edith Road, Dinas Powys, Cardiff CF64 4AD. Leaving the church at 6.30 pm.

Saturday 21 July – St David’s Priory Church, St David’s Place, Swansea SA1 3NG.  Meet at the Beaufort Arms, Kittle at 9.45 am for a prompt 10.00 am departure.  This is a social walk around the Gower of 11 miles but with an option to complete one section of 5.5 miles (phone Ben on 07967 077002 for details).  Gower terrain, walking shoes, trainers are fine as long as the good weather persists.  Please bring snacks, plenty to drink and a packed lunch which we will share at the viewpoint of Penmaen.  Finish back at the Beaufort arms at around 4.30 pm.

Thursday 26 July – Holy Cross, Heol y Bryn, Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire SA15 5AG.  Walk at 6.30 pm along Kidwelly Quay. About 3 mile walk. Meet at Grid Reference: SN398064, the main car park at Kidwelly Quay.

Saturday 11 August – Holy Name, Fishguard and St Michael’s in St David’s – Start from Caerfai Bay car park postcode SA62 6QS at 3 pm.  Walking 2 miles to St Non’s Retreat Centre where the Nuns have kindly offered to provide us with a cuppa! Then back to the car park at Caerfai  Bay.

Sunday 19 August – St Michael’s Church in Brecon LD3 9AB. Meet at the church to start at 3 pm.  Accessible walk.

Sunday 9 September – Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs Church, 101 Belmont Road, Hereford HR2 7JR.  Walking around Our Lady’s RC Primary School field, immediately after the 9.30 am Mass.

Friday 21 September – Our Lady & St Michael RC Church, 10, Pen-y-Pound, Abergavenny, NP7 5UD. Time to be confirmed.

You can find out more about CAFOD’s work with refugees here.