Hallam Diocese – Refugee Solidarity Pilgrimage


Hallam J&P Lampedusa pilgrimage

Saturday 22 October 2016 was the most beautiful autumn morning as we met in the Hall at St Peter-in-Chains, Doncaster to have a cup of tea before starting our pilgrimage.  St Peter-in-Chains is the most perfect spot for a mini pilgrimage as there is a Rosary and Way of the Cross garden.  Each station has a stone from pilgrimage abbeys and churches up and down England.  Our Lady of Doncaster was a major shrine on the way north on the Great North Road.

We finished our tea and 25 of us set off on our pilgrimage.  Just as we reached our first stop the rain came down, which I was assured by one of my colleagues was the angels weeping in mercy.  I wish they’d applauded with joy but at least they didn’t weep too long and we ended in the dry.  We reflected, prayed and sang the hymns loudly and sweetly.  As Vince, our leader, said, “We had the makings of a very good choir”.  We also had help from Greg who played the guitar for us and covered up many of the not-so-good notes.

Download resources on the refugee crisis for use in your parish or school

We ended by entering the Door of Mercy and completing our cards to share with refugees by the shrine of Our Lady of Doncaster.  It was a very moving occasion and we all agreed a beautiful liturgy.  We had representatives from all the major towns in the Diocese.  Many of the attendees took a copy of the liturgy with them and are going to do the pilgrimage again in their own parishes.

Our solidarity with each other and the 65 million displaced people from their homes by war, persecution and hunger was complete.  Perhaps the angels were telling us that a little suffering was good for us as we contemplated the incomparable suffering of those 65 million people.

Helen Donlan (Hallam J&P Commission Chair)

Hallam and Nottingham Bishops come together with Pilgrims to honour refugees


On 10 July, Nottingham and Hallam Catholics completed the annual Padley Pilgrimage, carrying a Lampedusa Cross – a cross made from the wreckage of refugee boats, to show solidarity to refugees across the world.


Bishop Ralph and Bishop Patrick listen as Maggie introduces the Lampedusa Cross

Both Bishop Patrick McKinney and Bishop Ralph Heskett were in attendance for the presentation and walked with the pilgrims before the Mass that followed at Padley Chapel, where the crosses were placed at the sanctuary.

Each Catholic cathedral in England and Wales has been presented with a cross and invited to display it. The crosses will now act as a symbol for communities in England and Wales as they respond to the refugee crisis.

CAFOD representative for the Hallam Diocese, Anne Prior, who was in attendance, said:

“Through local acts such as the pilgrimage we feel we are acknowledging our deep sense of solidarity and welcome with the refugees arriving in the UK, as well praying for those far from our shores. We also feel we are answering the call of Pope Francis to show our love for those who are suffering.”


Volunteers Helen and Sue lead the procession

As part of a campaign led by the Catholic charities CAFOD, CSAN and the Jesuit Refugee Service, Catholics of all ages in schools, churches and communities are sharing messages of welcome, hope and love, which will be shared with refugees in the UK as an act of solidarity and dedicated at a special event to take place in November.

Please click if you would like to hold your own Lampedusa Pilgrimage

Iona, Lindisfarne and the Lampedusa Cross

Martin Desforges, a CAFOD volunteer from the Hallam Diocese reflects on his recent experience of Pilgrimage and his encounter with the Lampedusa Cross.

Irish monks founded a monastery on Iona in A.D. 563, and it was from there that St Aidan set out in A.D.635 to establish a monastery on Lindisfarne to spread Irish Christianity to Northumbria and from there to other parts of northern England. It is surprising that a long distance walking or cycling route has not been established based on the journey Aidan and his fellow monks made from Iona to Lindisfarne.  Reading about the spread of Christianity from Ireland to Iona, and then to Northumbria, the seeds of a pilgrim journey were sown. My preference for long distance journeys is by bicycle rather than walking, and like the early monks, I felt that the journey would be made more interesting if ferries were used.

Martin and Libby setting off from Iona

Martin and his sister Libby setting off for Iona

The route and timing of the pilgrimage were planned before I heard of the Lampedusa cross, and the link with the 2016 Year of Mercy pilgrimage on the refugee crisis. Pope Francis invited all Christians to make a pilgrimage to mark the year of Mercy. A Sicilian carpenter, Francesco Tuccio, had been making rough crosses from the wreckage of a boat carrying refugees that sank off the island of Lampedusa. Some of these refugees were rescued but many drowned. Francesco offered his crosses to survivors as a symbol of their rescue and a sign of hope for a new life in their new countries. He has also given one to Pope Francis, and there is one in the British museum. They may well become a widely recognised symbol of the 2015-16 European Refugee Crisis.

Find out more about the Lampedusa Cross

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