Bishop Alan Hopes accepted two crosses made from the wooden remains of a wrecked boat that washed ashore on the island of Lampedusa in the Mediterranean Sea. And prayed for those refugees seeking hope.
These crosses were made by Lampedusa’s carpenter, Francesco Tuccio after he met the survivors of that boat, refugees from Eritrea. He met these people at church one Sunday, heard their story and so moved, he wondered what he could do to help.
He made crosses from the wooden wreckage as a symbol of salvation and hope and gave them to these Eritrean Christians who’s journey took them from the horrors of persecution towards a better tomorrow, albeit a journey marked by struggle.
A similar cross was made and given to Pope Francis. Another cross was given to the British Museum, the last acquisition of the outgoing director.
Bishop Hopes blessed these crosses, that they may be a sign of witness and hope, and an invitation to welcome and join with refugees fleeing violence, poverty and persecution.
One of these crosses will be taken in the diocesan Children’s Pilgrimage to the minor Basilica of Our Lady of Walsingham on Tuesday 31 May. He will present the other cross to Cathedral of St John the Baptist, in Norwich.
> Pilgrimage resources – including a seven stage pilgrimage guide
Alongside these crosses, CAFOD invites you to send a message of commitment and hope to the refugees we work with, and a witness of the warmth of welcome that we offer, particularly in this Year of Mercy, to the stranger; to the outsider in our midst.
> Send your message of hope