Last Sunday afternoon 29 people braved the elements to take part in a CAFOD Share the Journey walk.
This year Pope Francis has encouraged us all to ‘welcome our brother and sister migrants and refugees with arms wide open’ and to call on world leaders to do the same when they finalise two new global agreements at the United Nations: one on refugees and one on migration. We responded symbolically, sharing the journey with those who have been forced to flee their homes, by walking just one mile in the Downside Abbey grounds.
During our walk, we heard the stories of five people on the move in different parts of the world and were able to reflect on the plight of so many of our global neighbours. Our 29 miles have been added to the CAFOD totaliser, which, as I write, stands at 99,790 miles walked by people across England and Wales. Initially it was hoped that CAFOD supporters would walk 24,900 miles, once around the world, but that was achieved in June and July and the equivalent of walking a second and third time around the world was also achieved. Now people across England and Wales are well on the way to walking a fourth time.
On the completion of our walk we returned to St Benedict’s Parish Centre, where everyone was invited to sign cards to the Prime Minister, urging her to ensure that the human dignity of migrants and refugees is at the heart of the UN global agreements. Finally we sat down to a delicious shared tea and lots of pleasant chat. Many thanks to all who came to support and for the good wishes sent by those who were unable to attend. And many thanks to Caroline Lane, the CAFOD volunteer for our parish, who organised and co-ordinated everything.