by Sr.Eleanor of the Presentation Sisters in Huddersfield.

On the afternoon of Sunday, 13th November, about 30 parishioners came together at St Patrick’s, in the parish of the Holy Redeemer, Huddersfield, to pray and be in solidarity with refugees across the world.  We used the CAFOD Solidarity Pilgrimage as a basis for our liturgy and borrowed the Lampedusa Cross from the CAFOD office to take a central place on our prayer focus.  The liturgy is flexible and can be used outside as part of a walking pilgrimage or will work equally well when it is used in a church or hall.  It is divided into 7 stages, each including prayers, refugee facts and stories, and an opportunity to reflect on Scripture and the recent teachings of Pope Francis.

During our service several items were placed on the prayer focus: a loaf of bread to remind us of the many people who go hungry each day, a passport to remind us that refugees’ official identity is taken from them as they lose their homes and countries, and family photographs to remind us that families are often torn apart by migration. We were fortunate to have music provided by the parish music group. “The Lord hears the cry of the poor” was a refrain repeated regularly during the liturgy. As we neared the end of the service, cards were distributed and all present were invited to write messages of hope.  These were collected and sent to CAFOD who will distribute them to refugees.

articles displayed as part of service about refugeesWe concluded our liturgy by singing “Though the mountains may fall” – a reflection of our hope and trust in God who is our shelter and strength.  Those who attended the service found it a prayerful experience which also gave them an opportunity to take practical action in support of migrants and refugees who are our sisters and brothers.  They look forward to similar opportunities to participate in the future.