Notre Dame de France, Westminster Justice and Peace, CAFOD and the London Ethnic Chaplaincies invite you to the Lampedusa Cross Pilgrimage Service at Notre Dame de France, Leicester Place WC2H 7BX on Saturday June 25th 2016 2.30- 3.30pm
The theme for Refugee Week this year is ‘Welcome’, and we are marking the occasion with a service inspired by the Lampedusa Cross, and the welcome given by the islanders of Lampedusa to refugees arriving from Africa.
One Sunday in 2011, at the height of the Arab spring, a carpenter from the Sicilian island of Lampedusa made a decision to stop making furniture. Francesco Tuccio was at Mass in his local church and among the congregation were bedraggled groups of newly arrived Eritrean migrants, weeping for loved ones who had drowned during the Mediterranean crossing.
After the service Lampedusa’s carpenter went to the beach and began collecting the blistered, brightly coloured driftwood from the wreckage of migrant boats that had washed up on Lampedusa’s shores. Alone in his workshop, Francesco carved crosses from the timber, shivering at the wood’s strange touch which he said made him think of holy relics and which smelt “of salt, sea and suffering”. He asked his parish priest to display a big, rough cross above the altar to remind the congregation of the migrants’ desperate plight and he offered every migrant he saw a small cross as a symbol of their rescue and of hope for a new life.
Westminster Justice and Peace, CAFOD and other agencies, hosted by Notre Dame de France parish, are holding a pilgrimage prayer service at the end of Refugee Week for all those who are fleeing or have fled their countries, or even died as they tried to escape persecution and hardship. We pray for hope of new life for the thousands of refugees across Europe and beyond.
We pray during this Refugee Week for all those fleeing or who have fled from war, persecution and hardship.
For further information please contract CAFOD Westminster 0208 449 6970 or visit the CAFOD website http://cafod.org.uk/Events/Lampedusa-pilgrimage