In 2013, a boat sailed from Africa trying to reach Europe. The boat sank; 311 people perished. Inhabitants of Lampedusa helped save the lives of 155 others. Francesco Tuccio, a carpenter from the Island, was so moved he wanted to do something to help. He had nothing to give so he collected the broken pieces of wood from the remainder of their boat and made the Lampedusa Cross for them as a symbol of hope. He gave a cross to Pope Francis to carry at a memorial service and a cross was recently carried through the great Door of Mercy at St Peter’s basilica.
CAFOD, together with Caritas Social Action and the Jesuit Refugee Service, have offered all Cathedrals in England and Wales with a Lampedusa Cross so they can display it. We were inspired by the story of the cross and we wanted to bring it to the UK so we had a physical object which symbolised the journey that millions of refugees have made.
In the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has called everyone to do a pilgrimage, we are hoping to combine this call with the Refugee action. There is a new pilgrimage with seven stations and it includes resource with prayers, reflection and actions. All the resources are available at www.cafod.org.uk/yearofmercy
Catholics have responded by writing messages of hope to be shared with refugees and organising pilgrimages to reflect on our response to the refugee crisis. If you would like to write a message of hope click here
If you would like to organise a pilgrimage with the Lampedusa Cross in your parish, send an email to email@example.com or call (0113) 275 9302. We have a full resource pack available for you and your parish to use.