We have been lent by Cafod one of the Lampedusa crosses – a very tactile reminder of the plight of refugees. Sicilian carpenter Francesco Tuccio made rough crosses from the wreckage of a boat carrying refugees that sank off the island of Lampedusa and offered them to survivors. This was his act of welcome: both a reflection of their rescue from the sea and a symbol of hope for their future. ‘We were on the front line to help welcome refugees, feed them and treat them with respect,’ he explains. ‘I had never seen such suffering. I felt angry that no one seemed to care.’ A similar cross was made for Pope Francis, who carried it at a memorial service for those who had perished. A Lampedusa cross has been given to every cathedral in England and Wales, inspiring thousands of people to reflect on the situation facing refugees and to send them messages of hope.
A prayer of mercy for refugees
Abba Father, our beloved Father,
look down with mercy on us and all refugees.
Remember your son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
had to leave his homeland and flee to Egypt,
when he was a baby,
with his mother, Mary,
and his foster father, Joseph.
Help us to be aware
of the fears, anxiety, pain, sorrow,
difficulties and uncertainty all refugees suffer
and to remember that we all belong to the
same human family.
please give us compassion and courage
to help them in any way we can. Amen.