Share the Journey and follow Pope Francis’ call to support refugees

Jenny Seymour is a schools volunteer for CAFOD Hallam and delivers workshops and assemblies to primary school children across the diocese

POPE GENERAL AUDIENCE

Pope Francis asks us all to share the journey

I was really excited when I read the headlines last week: “Pope Francis launches new CARITAS migration campaign.”  Doesn’t sound intriguing or particularly exciting as a headline, but for me it means that the work I am doing within primary schools in my diocese is so current and consistent with the Catholic social teaching and global social justice. It means that the children who take part in our refugee pilgrimage and “share the journey” with refugees will feel as though they’re taking part in something much bigger.  Hopefully, by hearing their parents and grandparents recognising this journey (after seeing Pope Francis’ empassioned plea) and the importance of walking alongside these poor people who have found the need to embark upon potentially treacherous journeys for a better and safer way of life, they will learn compassion towards them as well.

Share Journey

The schools team at CAFOD have been delivering the refugee pilgrimage, based upon the story of the boat that sunk off the coast of Lampedusa, for over a year now.    As soon as the children complete their journey, we ask them to write a message of hope that are then either passed onto refugees or are offered up in a mass for refugees.

These messages have been absolutely inspiring for me and I hope that by following Pope Francis’ call to share the journey many adults will also feel as inspired to help those of God’s people less fortunate than ourselves to find a safe place to live and work.  After all, this world is our common home and each and every one of us should have the same rights to share in it and live life to the fullest.

If you work in a school and want your pupils to take part in our pilgrimage, please contact your schools volunteer or Jeremy at the CAFOD Hallam office (see details at the bottom of this blog).

 

 

 

Share the Journey of Refugees – childrens’ messages of hope are an inspiration!

Jenny Seymour one of CAFOD Hallam’s school volunteers recently took the children of St Thomas of Canterbury on a journey of solidarity with refugees and their messages of hope were truly inspirational

CAFOD Message of Hope for Refugees

I was lying on my bed the other night watching the fabulous new documentary series by Reggie Yates – the Insider.  This week was a particularly moving documentary about life inside the largest refugee camp in Iraq, just across the Syrian border.   Reggie Yates visits the Middle East to spend a week living and sleeping in the largest refugee camp in Iraq alongside 30,000 Syrian refugees. Since the war in Syria first began, nearly 11 million people have fled their homes in search of safety.   The news has been dominated by those trying to cross into Europe, but some five million people ended up in refugee camps and, for some, this has become a new way of life (there was one poignant moment when one of the refugees takes Reggie up on a hill where they can see their beloved Syria and the poor girl couldn’t look as it made her too sad – longing for her old home back).  For others, they continue their perilous journey to Europe.  

Whilst watching it, it made me realise how the work we do within schools for CAFOD is so important.  The schools team for CAFOD have written a beautiful and thought-provoking workshop which takes children on a pilgrimage considering some of the issues that refugees have to face and the reasons that refugees start on their potentially perilous journey.  The pilgrimage is inspired by the events that took place on the small Mediterranean island of Lampedusa in October 2013, but raises some current issues.

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Hope is all you need! World Peace.

At the end of this journey of solidarity, the children are asked to write their messages of hope for refugees around the world today.  Originally, these messages were offered up at a mass for refugees at the end of the Year of Mercy, but messages written this year are being hand delivered to refugees within the UK.  The results are truly inspirational and it is heart-warming to see that these children truly empathise with the refugees on their journey.

Schools and parishes are still able to take part in the Lampedusa pilgrimages led by your school or parish volunteer. Please contact your schools volunteer or the CAFOD Hallam Office to book your visit.

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You are Loved – inspirational messages of hope for refugees

 

Journey to Justice – A CAFOD Retreat

Jenny Seymour is a volunteer for CAFOD Hallam

In the current political climate it is easy to feel exasperated by the world we live in and the impact current decisions may have on our children and also the wider world.

As catholics who believe in God’s creation, and here at CAFOD, we strive for a more just world that everyone can enjoy:  where everyone has access to the same human rights.  The word that underpins all of this is “justice” for all.

100 years after the birth of Oscar Romero (who was beatified in 2015), a continuing inspiration to CAFOD, CAFOD are running a number of retreats across England and Wales this autumn.  These retreats, A Journey to Justice, give those who attend the opportunity to reflect on their own journey, be inspired and enriched by stories of those who continue to speak out for justice today and follow in the footsteps of the great Oscar Romero.  An opportunity to take time out to reflect in a busy world!

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The day long retreats are FREE, but donations are always accepted of course.

To find your nearest retreat and register, please click on the green “register” button that you will find when you click on this link.