Maggie Mairura, Community Participation Coordinator, CAFOD Nottingham
The Lampedusa Cross of Nottingham J&P Commission, with the support of CAFOD volunteers and school chaplains, went on a mini pilgrimage in Leicester a couple of weeks ago.
Raising awareness of the current refugee crisis and showing solidarity with those affected, the Lampedusa Cross is a tragic and poignant symbol of the hardships and dangers that migrants are facing. When hundreds of refugees who were fleeing Eritrea and Somalia were drowned off the coast of Lampedusa, the local carpenter, Francesco Tuccio, was moved to gather the driftwood from the wrecked boats and turn them into crosses, which he offered to survivors as a small but powerful symbol of hope.
Pope Francis carried one of the crosses at a memorial service on Lampedusa to commemorate people who have died and the British Museum is also displaying a cross as a reminder to people of the current refugee crisis.
Using resources produced by CAFOD, CSAN and Jesuit Refugee Service, hundreds of adults and children have written messages of hope, which CAFOD will distribute to our partners overseas who are working directly with refugees.
The cross was taken to St Paul’s School in Evington, Sacred Heart in Leicester and St John Fisher in Wigston. It was present at Sacred Heart church during the Faith Fayre on Sunday 9 October.
Anne Cartwright, chaplain at Sacred Heart and St John Fisher schools said “It was an absolute honour to have the Lampedusa cross in both schools. We linked the message of the cross in with our Harvest liturgies which worked well and the students sent messages of hope to the refugees.”
Seamus O’Looskan, chaplain at St Paul’s commented, “Inviting our students to pray and reflect, we feel we are offering a welcome to the refugees arriving in the UK, as well praying for those far from our shores. We also feel we are answering the call of Pope Francis to show our love for those who are suffering.”
The Lampedusa Cross also visited the City of Sanctuary Drop In at Holy Cross Centre before spending time at Leicester Cathedral. Find out more about CAFOD’s pilgrimage resources here