Turvey Abbey stands in solidarity with refugees

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Parishioners from across Bedfordshire gathered at Turvey Abbey to show solidarity to refugees by writing messages of hope and welcome.

Last week, Sister Ester, Brother John and CAFOD volunteer Antony Smith, organised a special service at Turvey Abbey where community members could write messages of hope to refugees.

They were inspired to show their solidarity after hearing about the campaign being run by CAFOD, CSAN and Jesuit Refugee Service around the Lampedusa cross.

Three years ago, Francesco Tuccio, a carpenter from the Italian Island of Lampedusa, began making the ‘Lampedusa Cross’ from the wreckage of refugee boats, after meeting survivors from a boat that had sunk.

Over 300 people perished and the lives of 155 others were saved by the inhabitants of Lampedusa, Pope Francis carried one of these crosses at a special memorial service and one is being displayed in the British Museum.

Sister Ester, who just celebrated her golden Jubilee, said: “There is so much hurt in the world and if we can do anything to help, we would want to play our part.”

After the service, the group wrote messages of welcome, hope and love, which will be shared with refugees in the UK and abroad as an act of solidarity, and dedicated at a special event to take place in November.

CAFOD has now received over 7,000 messages of hope from across the UK.

CAFOD is inviting communities to take part in a pilgrimage to show their solidarity with refugees and they are working to provide practical help to those fleeing their homes.

They are calling on the UK government to take a fair and proportionate share of refugees and are pushing for the establishment of safe and legal routes to enable refugees to reach safety.

CAFOD’s representative in Bedfordshire, Deborah Purfield said: “The compassion shown by the people in Bedfordshire 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.”

For more information visit: cafod.org.uk/yearofmercy