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Sue Bownas, our Area coordinator for Chester, writes about the Lampedusa Cross in the Chester churches and its impact on everyone that took part.
It was such a privilege to host the diocesan Lampedusa Cross here in Chester during its pilgrimage around the Diocese of Shrewsbury. Our Parish Priests and Headteachers all wanted their parishes and schools to take part in this pilgrimage and together with our wonderful local CAFOD school volunteers and parish volunteers, delivered a whole variety of reflections. As a result the message of the Lampedusa Cross and Refugee reflections reached four parishes, three primary schools, our local high school and a group of Confirmation Candidates who included the pilgrimage as part of one of their Preparation sessions.
If numbers attending some of these events were disappointing, the response of those who took part was overwhelmingly affirming; for some making the pilgrimage around the church from one stage to the next had brought a real sense of the fear and desperation in journeying to an unknown destination with an unknown outcome. For others the reflection with its variety of content including personal accounts of people caught up in this crisis aroused other emotions and prayers. If we were moved in different ways we were all challenged anew by this human crisis, symbolised so powerfully for us by the Lampedusa Cross; a cross which speaks of impossible choices, dangerous journeys, perilous sea crossings, the devastating loss of identity and life, the separation of families..and yet ultimately of hope . The Hope won for us all by Jesus’s death on the cross and his subsequent Resurrection promising new life to all.
At each event children, young people and adults all wrote personal messages of hope to
the refugees, pleased to be able to “do” something in response to all we had experienced. We hope in the weeks ahead to find other ways to make our response and to take actions that will ensure more refugees are welcomed and supported after their ordeal.
If you are reading this and haven’t yet been able to host this special Cross or make the Refugee Pilgrimage reflection why not see if you can arrange to do so in the weeks/months ahead? Their relevance and message reach far beyond the confines of the current Holy Year of Divine Mercy.
Please come to the special dedication service in the Cathedral. Details below.