Families and communities around the world have been separated due to war and natural disasters. Refugees make long and dangerous journeys, in hope of a better life, despite the uncertain future.
Three years ago, a boat set sail from Africa towards Europe, filled with over 500 refugees who were fleeing Eritrea and Somalia. On the way, the boat caught fire, capsized and sank; 311 people perished. Inhabitants of the Italian island of Lampedusa helped save the lives of 155 people.
Francesco Tuccio a carpenter from the island, used his compassion to create a symbol of hope for each of the survivors. He collected the broken pieces of wood washed ashore and made the “Lampedusa Cross”, offering a handmade cross to each of the survivors as a sign of hope, solidarity and love.
CAFOD, together with Caritas Social Action and the Jesuit Refugee Service, offered all Cathedrals in England and Wales a Lampedusa Cross so they can display it. The Cross received by Shrewsbury Diocese came to St. Columba’s in September, when a prayer service was held in the Iona Chapel, giving parishioners the opportunity to reflect on the refugee crisis and to write their own messages of hope.
Inspired by the Year of Mercy, people across England and Wales have written messages of hope, which will be shared with refugees. You will find more information at www.cafod.org.uk/Pray/Year-of-Mercy
Photos from St Columba’s. Click on any of the photos to view them at full size.