Jeremy Cain, Community Participation Coordinator for CAFOD in Hallam, reports on a great day in Sheffield.
Angela, the event organiser, and Carmel, her daughter, setting up for the event.
It wasn’t raining and it wasn’t windy, so that was a good start; but when the Lord Mayor turned up an hour early and asked us how many people were coming, we really had no idea. Ten minutes later a text came through from Clare, our walk-leader at St. Williams, letting us know that 22 of them were on their way. Time to breathe a sigh of relief!
Gathering on the steps for a photo for the local papers.
In the end, a rough head count said 80 people had walked and gathered in support of CAFOD’s Share the Journey campaign, but such was the upbeat atmosphere, it felt like double that number. All were welcomed on the Town Hall steps by Anne Murphy, the Lord Mayor, and then listened to local MP Louise Haigh and Mike Reynolds, chair of City Sanctuary, calling us to action.
How many miles can we add to CAFOD’s grand total?
It brought the reason we were all here into sharp focus: around the world there are 250 million people displaced from their homes, 65 million due to violence; around half of world’s refugees are children. As Pride explained in his speech, none of these people found the decision to leave their homes easy and most have faced- and continue to face- great difficulty.
Sheffield is the first City of Sanctuary. Hopefully the message is clear.
It seems obvious that we should respond to this situation with understanding, compassion, commitment and imagination; and that is exactly what Pope Francis is calling on world leaders to do in the run up to two global compacts on refugees and migration. By going on a walk, and using it to reflect on what being a refugee could be like, we can show our support for Pope Francis’ campaign and our solidarity with those who we hope it will benefit.
- Anyone can share the journey
So please seriously consider getting involved. Can you organise a walk in your parish or local school? Can you and a couple of friends go out walking for the afternoon and let us know how many miles you do? Could you just walk to church one Sunday? It doesn’t have to be anything big or difficult to plan, and we’re here to help, so please get in touch.
Right now, we’d love you to sign our petition. It’s calling on the Prime Minister to:
- respect human dignity;
- protect the vulnerable;
- support host countries;
- keep families together;
- tackle the reasons why people migrate.
And you could also order some action cards from us to encourage people in your parish or at work to give us their support, even if they can’t go on a walk. The more people who call, the louder our voice.
Many thanks to everyone who came on Saturday; we think we added 185 miles to the grand total and, more importantly, raised the profile of the campaign at the civic level. When people come together, it always has an impact; as Catholics, we believe that, no matter where we come from, we are all connected as children of God. Let’s Share the Journey and show that we care.