Welcoming the stranger
When hundreds of refugees who were fleeing Eritrea and Somalia drowned off the coast of Lampedusa, Francesco Tuccio, a carpenter from the small Italian island of Lampedusa, was moved to gather the driftwood from the wrecked boats and turn them into crosses. He offered the crosses to survivors as a small but powerful symbol of hope.
Pope Francis carried one of the Lampedusa crosses at a memorial Mass to commemorate people who have died. The British Museum is now displaying a Lampedusa cross as a reminder to people of the refugee crisis the world is facing. Cafod, CSAN and the Jesuit Refugee Service sent one of these crosses to every Catholic cathedral in England and Wales.
Inspired by theses crosses and by the Year of Mercy, Catholics across the country wrote messages of hope and welcome for refugees. So far, CAFOD have received over 30,000 messages. We are now looking for places to display these messages and ways of distributing them to refugees. Can you help?
If your parish is hosting refugees or working with them could you help distribute the messages to refugees and asylum seekers to make them feel welcome?
Alternatively, could you display a banner of messages? Cafod can supply banners that have selected messages printed in English, Spanish, French and Arabic which can be displayed indoors or outdoors. If you have a community space or information centre for refugees, this could be a perfect way to welcome them.
If you are interested in helping CAFOD share these messages, please contact Libby Abbott, CAFOD Campaigns Officer – firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the campaign’s “storify” page to see what’s gone on so far: https://storify.com/CAFOD/cafod-supporters-response-to-the-refugee-crisis
We want to share these messages with as many people as possible in 2017, to show our continued solidarity with those affected by the refugee crisis and to welcome with the stranger within our gates, for:
“The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself”.