A Lampedusa Cross will return to Worth Abbey from 17th to 25th June to mark Refugee Week (refugeeweek.org.uk). You will have another opportunity to meditate on the Cross and write “message cards” if you missed the Cross during its Winter visit to Worth Abbey. The Cross will reside within the Lady Chapel in the church during its stay
The Cross was made by Francesco Tuccio, a carpenter living on the island of Lampedusa, Italy. In October 2013, a boat carrying 500 Eritrean and Somalian refugees caught fire and sank off the coast of Lampedusa, leaving only 155 survivors. Mr. Tuccio met some of the survivors who were Eritrean Christians fleeing persecution in their home country. He was frustrated that he could not help them, so he collected some timber from the wreckage of their boat and crafted each survivor a cross to try to offer some small gesture of hope. Mr. Tuccio has made and donated other crosses since, including one that now sits in the British Museum’s collection, as a symbol of the suffering and hope of our times.
Worth Abbey Parish is honored to again host a Lampedusa Cross. We pray that its presence will help to focus awareness on the current refugee crisis.
CAFOD refugee message postcards will be in the Lady Chapel near the Cross. On them you can write a few personal words of hope to a refugee. These cards will be delivered to refugees globally who are currently in camps and living in “limbo” to assure them that they are not forgotten.
On Saturday 24th June, Worth Abbey Parish will host several different activities at Refugee Week’s culmination.
-There will be a meditative walk around the grounds of Worth Abbey and prayers for refugees beginning at 3.15pm in the Narthex. Doors will open at 3pm and the walk will move from the Narthex into the grounds at 3.30pm. Please feel free to join in for any part of this event.
-Directly following the walk will be mass at 5pm in the church.
-Also from 5pm, there will be tea and conversation in St. Benedict’s for any guest who wishes to stay, but not attend mass.
-Lastly, from 6pm and after the mass, there will be an informal meeting with supper and speakers at St. Benedict’s to finish this day of refugee prayer and awareness.
Please join us for any or all of these activities, or to simply spend a silent moment with the Cross. The format on Saturday 24th will be very relaxed. Father Paul would greatly appreciate having an idea of numbers for the for the supper with RSVP’s to firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no charge to participate, but any funds raised at the event on 24th June will be donated to Refugee Welcome Crawley and CAFOD’s refugee support initiatives.
We pray that Refugee Week in the UK and the presence of the Lampedusa Cross at Worth Abbey by, in Mr. Tuccio’s words, “drawing attention to the burden symbolized by this small piece of wood,” will once again engage all who visit Worth Abbey to pray for and assist refugees to carry their burden. By Kir Bennett Horner CAFOD Parish volunteer at Worth Abbey.
Bless all those who are, through no fault of their own, forced to flee their homes and take, along with family, only that which they can carry and seek a safer place to live. Remind us of our Saviour, who, as a child, was also a refugee, finding shelter in a foreign land, and give us hearts and hands willing to reach out and help these, our distant relatives within your worldwide family.