As part of the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis asked us all to go on pilgrimage to mark an extraordinary moment of grace and spiritual renewal. On Saturday 29th October, a group of over 25 people of all ages and from different churches in Buckley and Mold set off together to walk and reflect on the suffering of migrants, and their perils as they attempt the dangerous crossing of the seas in the hope for a better future. The group set off from Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Buckley and finished at St David’s Catholic Church in Mold.
Each participant took it in turns to carry the Lampedusa cross, created by Italian carpenter, Francesco Tuccio from the drift wood of stranded migrant ships. For too many of the migrants the wrecked ships not only shattered their dreams of arriving in their new ‘Heimat’ but also broke up families and are a stark reminder of the many lost lives. The ‘lucky’ ones who arrived safely still feel lost, hurt and not always welcome. This cross is also a symbol of the immense generosity of many unsung heroes, who welcomed these strangers with open arms, sharing the little they have.
Together the group walked in reverence, stopping at the different stations and churches
along the way, the Methodist Church in Buckley, Bistre Church Anglican church, Caffi Isa Book Lounge, and St. Cecilia’s Anglican Church Mynydd Isa recalling stories collected by CAFOD and SHARE.
The group were privileged to be supported by volunteers from the local charity SHARE, who reflected on their own personal, deeply moving experiences from their trip to a refugee camp in Greece. Mynydd Isa community project, Caffi Isa and book lounge opened their doors especially for the pilgrimage participants in the afternoon.
Just before reaching their final destination, the group walked past the house of precious CAFOD supporters Phyllis and Joe, now mostly housebound. What a joy to share this special time together, and for Joe to hold the cross himself. How many times have they and others opened their doors and hearts to Christ and people in need before.
These are the special blessings coming out of our small offerings having prepared the pilgrimage.
Having arrived in Mold the group were welcomed by parishioners with Fairtrade tea/ coffee
and cakes. Later the ecumenical group joined St David’s Parish for the evening Mass. Intercessions and Holy Mass were dedicated to the refugees all over the world. The Lampedusa cross was presented at the offertory and its significance explained to the congregation. Parishioners prayed that refugees arriving after a painful and dangerous journey felt welcomed in the same way, that our hearts are open to welcome the stranger and see Christ’s face in each of them. May they see God’s love in our faces too!
Many thanks also to all who participated, to Cytun (Churches together in Wales) for spreading the word of the pilgrimage, and especially to the churches along the way, who welcomed the group, joined into the walk and literally went out of their way to show their solidarity to refugees all over the world. This act of solidarity brought the group closer together.
A very special thank you to the event organisers, CAFOD parish volunteer, Joyce Elcock and Katja Jewell, whom you will all be very familiar with, as she worked for a long time in the CAFOD Volunteer Centre. This powerful pilgrimage would not have happened without their huge efforts. Thank you so much for your hard work.
If you’re interested in attending a Lampedusa Cross Pilgrimage, there will be an Anglesey pilgrimage on Sunday 27th November at 3pm. Please contact the CAFOD North Wales Volunteer Centre for details.