Joanne Hendrick-Media Volunteer-Nottingham
Thursday 23rd June, saw the poignant and thought provoking Holy Mass to pray for refugees at St Barnabas Cathedral. This appropriately preceded the very moving placement of the Lampedusa Cross in the Chapel of St Hugh and the Diocesan Martyrs.
Mass, led by Bishop Patrick McKinney, began with the opening hymn-The Servant King.
The invitation to the Act of Commitment came from Maggie Mairura-Community Participation Coordinator for CAFOD.
Maggie explained the meaning behind the Year of Mercy pilgrimage -on the refugee crisis and how especially powerful it is in the light of the current migration crisis.
The pilgrimage reflects on seven short stages, including prayers, refugee facts and stories and an opportunity to reflect on the recent teachings of Pope Francis.
Maggie thanked all present for coming together to welcome the Lampedusa Cross into the Cathedral. Maggie spoke of the “simple cross”. She described it as “not pretty” and not what some would call a “work of art”, but how some would see the resemblance to the Cross of Christ.
The Lampedusa Cross was made from pieces of a boat wrecked off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa. The first ever Lampedusa Cross was made from a boat, on which 311 Eritrean and Somali refugees were drowned, making their way from Libya to Europe. The community on the island helped save the lives of 155 others. They bear witness to the dangerous journeys and many uncertainties migrants and refugees face today. It reminds us of the power of our own acts of love, mercy and hope. Mr. Tuccio in his own words, spoke of those refugee boats landing in Lampedusa and said “I decided not to polish the wood, instead leaving it as it is: a wretched witness, ruined by so much pain”.
All in attendance, were invited to follow the procession-as Bishop Patrick brought the Lampedusa Cross to the Chapel of St Hugh of Lincoln. Bishop Patrick incensed and blessed the Lampedusa Cross before placing on the altar; saying “For those whose lives have been lost through conflict and the desperate journey to find refuge we pray; Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.”
The Year of Mercy pilgrimage ends, with an act of commitment in which everyone can take part, and which has been inspired by the Lampedusa Cross. On a card, each pilgrim is invited to write or draw a message of hope or commitment for migrants and refugees.
At the end of the Year of Mercy, CAFOD will then dedicate these messages at a special Mass, ensuring these are shared with refugees through CAFOD, the Jesuit Refugee Service and Caritas Social Action Network.
Leave your message of hope here