Pope Francis has a special concern for refugees
Thank you so much to Crawley Parishioners for your splendid effort in completing an amazing 1,916 miles for the Share The Journey Campaign!
Roger Morton our Campaigns Volunteer Coordinator wrote this article explaining how Crawley Parishioners creatively undertook the Share The Journey Walk in the summer.
The keen campaigners in Crawley agreed to hold a parish Share the Journey walk centred on the Friary church in the middle of the town. That can’t be difficult, surely? Well, yes. Every time they fixed a date for the walk something happened, such as a funeral, which meant it had to be postponed. It was July and coming up to the holiday period when members of the group would be going off to different places, so they were running out of time. But, instead of giving up and saying ‘forget it’, they got creative. They decided that they would each undertake a prayerful walk wherever they were and then combine the miles walked into a parish total.
Each person was given a refugee’s story to reflect on while walking as well as using the Share the Journey prayers. Walkers were from all six of the churches in the parish so all the communities were involved. As well as in local venues such as Crawley itself, Tilgate Park and the Seven Sisters, walks were done in Krakow, Lourdes, various locations in Scotland, Donegal, Zakynthos (which included Midge, a patterdale terrier) and Rome. The total distance walked was an amazing 1,916 miles.
Thinking about the experience of their walks and comparing that to the experience of the journeys made by refugees and migrants, the group made the following observations. The group’s walks were in pleasant surroundings, not in dust or mud, and they did not have to worry about being shot or bombed. They were never too far from some refreshments and could always stop for a drink, a pub lunch or an ice cream, plus they were able to carry sufficient water with them for their needs. They had freely chosen to do the walk, rather than being forced to do it just to stay safe. They would return to their normal lives after the walk – they had not had to say goodbye to their homes, families, jobs and education, with the constant worry about where the rest of their families were and were they safe.
One of the group members, Min, summed it up: “Our eyes were opened through the varied stories of what migrants had been forced to leave and endure.”
Thank you Crawley for your determination to share the journey of refugees despite the initial frustration of being unable to do it together – a small reflection of the difficulties migrants face in their journeys.
CAFOD Campaigns Volunteer Coordinator
Roger Morton Campaigns Volunteer Coordinator