Local Volunteer in Papal Audience at the Launch of a Global Refugee Campaign

Christina Lucey, a parishioner at St Mary Magdalene, Bexhill-on-Sea, and one of our long-standing CAFOD volunteers and campaigners, writes about her experience of hearing Pope Francis announce the new global migration campaign – ‘Share the Journey’ – at Saint Peter’s Square in Rome. 

Christina Lucey (centre) at the Papal Audience where Pope Francis spoke of Share the Journey

Christina Lucey (centre) with supporters Moira and Hiscock, at the Papal Audience where Pope Francis spoke of Share the Journey

What a wonderful morning – despite having to queue for over an hour from 7am to have a chance of a good situation in the square! Under the guidance of our tour guide, our group managed to find places close to the barrier where we could sit and rest for the long wait until Pope Francis was scheduled to appear.

Watch a video to learn more about the campaign launch

There was great excitement when Pope Francis finally appeared and did his usual tour. I stood on a chair so that I could see better and was able to alert the group when he was coming. We had to wait until almost the end, but it was worth it.

He was moving at quite a pace and wasn’t going to stop. However, to our delight, somebody appeared near us and presented him with a young baby, swiftly followed by someone from the other side with a larger child.

Pope Francis’ message: Share the Journey

I was very moved by Pope Francis’ message. Fortunately, as I speak Italian, I could understand much of what he said. The brief summaries in other languages didn’t do it justice. He spoke with great emotion, explaining the true meaning of hope and linking it to the situation of people who had been forced to leave everything: they were examples of people who truly understood hope. He spoke of opening arms to everybody and embracing them, just as Jesus did. It was really very moving and challenging.

He also told us what a wonderful name Share the Journey was for this campaign. None of us should be afraid to share the journey of refugees and migrants, he said.

I have been involved with CAFOD campaigns with others in my parish and in the local area for over 15 years – campaigning on trade justice, Fairtrade, Make Poverty History and on many other issues of poverty and injustice. I shall be supporting the new Share the Journey campaign too.

Find out more about Share the Journey

The response of the people in the crowd – some 30,000 people – was unlike I had witnessed at a previous papal audience when I saw Pope John Paul II at his first open-air audience in 1979. This time, there was none of the shouting and flag-waving which I had expected; but I think this was due to the serious subject matter.

The Pope has a heart for refugees

The Pope has a heart for refugees

On reflection

It was such a privilege to be in Saint Peter’s Square. The teaching on the real meaning of the word hope was very moving and thought-provoking. I only hope this message can reach out to people in our parishes who weren’t able to be there and hear for themselves.

Pope Francis challenged us all to open our arms wide to welcome refugees, and all forced to leave their homes and possessions, who set off in hope in the true sense of the word, hope being all that they have left.

Sign our petition in support of refugees and migrants 

The Share the Journey campaign is being led by Caritas Internationalis, a network of nearly 200 Catholic aid charities worldwide. CAFOD is officially launching our campaign in parishes and schools in early 2018.

Children in St Joseph’s, Epsom Reflect on Refugees

St Joseph's Children reflected on the plight of refugees with the Lampedusa Cross

St Joseph’s Children reflected on the plight of refugees with the Lampedusa Cross

Local Schools Volunteer, Mary Mandryk recently visited St Joseph’s Primary School in Epsom who are learning about the plight of refugees at the moment. Mary was happy to visit the school and talk about refugees throughout the world and enable the children to reflect on what it might be like to be a refugee.

Children and staff in St Joseph's had the chance to reflect on a Lampedusa Cross

Children and staff in St Joseph’s had the chance to reflect on a Lampedusa Cross

Mary was able to take a Lampedusa Cross into the school to aid in this reflection. Lampedusa Crosses are made by Francesco Tuccio, a carpenter on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa. When a boat carrying hundreds of refugees capsized off the coast of Lampedusa, many of whom died, Francesco made crosses out of the wreckage of the boat and gave them to the survivors as a sign of new life and a symbol of hope.

This symbol has captured the imagination of the world and now the British Museum and the Pope each have a Lampedusa Cross.

St Joseph’s will be building their own cross which will be on display in St Joseph’s parish during an event coming soon.

The school will also be writing messages of hope to refugees which CAFOD will deliver to refugees in their journey throughout the world.

Our thanks go to Mary and the community of St Joseph’s in Epsom.

Write a Message of Hope for Refugees

Write a Message of Hope for Refugees

If you would like to write a message of hope to a refugee please click. If you would like to join in our new campaign, please click on ‘Share the Journey’.

If you would like to borrow the Lampedusa Cross, would like a visit to your school, or would like more information on becoming a volunteer school visitor, please do get in touch. arundelandbrighton@cafod.org.uk or 01483 898 866.