A TEAM of Coventry church-goers have walked across carrying a wooden cross made from the wood of a capsized migrant boat to show solidarity with refugees.
Around 15 people set out from The Precious Blood of Our Lord and All Souls parish in Earlsdon and walked to St Mary’s in Hillfields, via the Priory Gardens, the site of Coventry’s first Cathedral, to Our Lady of Coventry.
The pilgrims carried a Lampedusa Cross – a cross hand-carved from the wreckage of capsized boats carrying refugees – and inspired others to join them on their journey as they weaved throughout the city on their walk.
Father Michael Brandon, of The Precious Blood of Our Lord and All Souls parish said: “The main focus of the pilgrimage was to pass through the Door of Mercy at St.Mary’s Raglan Street and to celebrate Mass.
“To do so with a Lampedusa Cross made our sense of solidarity with both Pope Francis and those fleeing violence and war even stronger.
“Walking together through a city dedicated to reconciliation and peace had a powerful effect on us all.”
The Lampudesa Cross has become a powerful symbol for the refugee crisis.
Each hand-carved by Italian carpenter, Francisco Tuccio, from the driftwood of capsized refugee boats, Lampudeas Crosses have been carried Pope Francis at a memorial service for refugees who have died while making the dangerous crossing by sea from Northern Africa and Syria to Europe, while another is on display in the British Museum.
The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) is working work local partner organisations to help provide practical help to those fleeing their home countries and often making treacherous journeys to Europe.
The charity calling on the UK government to take a fair and proportionate share of refugees – from both within and outside the European Union – and pushing for the establishment of safe and legal routes to enable refugees to reach safety.
CAFOD representative in Coventry, Lizzie Wignall said: “Many of us feel the same sentiment that the carpenter Francesco Tuccio has spoken of, that feeling of ‘what can I do to make a difference?”
“It was an incredibly moving and humbling experience.
“Holding the cross really brought home the realities of many people across the world who have fled their homes and are now trying to reach safety; knowing it came from a boat on which so many died trying to reach safety is an incredibly moving experience.
“The compassion shown by the people in Coventry for those suffering is extraordinary.
“This is a very real way of showing solidarity and letting those who have been forced from their homes know that we do care.”