Columbans join Birmingham Archbishop on Refugee Walk of Witness

3rd October 2016 - by Ellen Teague

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Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham led a ”powerful” Walk of Witness ‘Welcome the Stranger’ on Sunday to the Conservative party conference in Birmingham.

 

He carried a Lampedusa Cross – made from pieces of a refugee boat that was wrecked off the coast of Lampedusa – moving from St. Chad’s Cathedral, along a canal, to the Birmingham ICC conference venue. Columban missionaries were there in force – priests, lay missionaries and lay co-workers.
The walk in the sunshine involved around 130 people, including supporters of CAFOD, CSAN, JRS UK, Fr Hudson’s Care, St Chad’s Sanctuary, and students of the Chaplaincy at Birmingham University, Birmingham. All prayed for refugees and victims of war, and reflected on the dangerous journeys refugees have to make. Archbishop Bernard spoke of the need to “Welcome the Stranger in this Year of Mercy”, and gave a blessing at the end.
Many walkers carried posters with images of the Lampedusa Cross, carrying the words of Pope Francis: “We ourselves need to see, and then to enable others to see, that migrants and refugees are brothers and sisters to be welcomed, expected and loved.”