Cross hand-carved from driftwood of capsized refugee boats goes on display in Sheffield

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A Lampedusa Cross, hand-carved from the driftwood of capsized refugee boats, is being displayed in the Cathedral of St Marie’s in Sheffield in an act of solidarity with the plight of refugees.

The cross was presented to Bishop Ralph Haskett by CAFOD representative Anne Prior, at Mass on Saturday the 21st of May at 12.30pm. This was then followed by a procession and an official installation of the cross in the Cathedral. The cross will then be taken on a tour of the Hallam Diocese when special events will be held.

Pope Francis carried a ‘Lampedusa cross’ – so named for the Italian island that is home to carpenter Francesco Tuccio and where thousands of refugees have drowned – at a memorial service for those who had died.

The crosses will now act as a symbol for communities in England and Wales as they respond to the refugee crisis.

Parishioners from Sheffield and the surrounding areas have organised pilgrimages with the cross to show solidarity with the refugees arriving in the UK, as well as praying for those far from our shores.

As part of a campaign led by the Catholic charities CAFOD, CSAN and the Jesuit Refugee Service, each Catholic cathedral in England and Wales has been presented with a cross and invited to display it.

CAFOD representative in the Hallam diocese, Anne Prior, said: “It was a lovely Mass at which we prayed for those who are affected by the refugee crisis and remembered those who have lost their lives as a consequence. Lots of people came to spend a few moments at the Cross, many people said what a powerful symbol it was and how it honoured those lost.

“Through the pilgrimage, we feel we are offering a welcome to the refugees arriving in the UK, as well praying for those far from our shores. We also feel we are answering the call of Pope Francis to show our love for those who are suffering.”

CAFOD is working with local partner organisations in Europe and beyond to provide practical help to those fleeing their homes, calling on the UK government to take a fair and proportionate share of refugees – from both within and outside the European Union – and pushing for the establishment of safe and legal routes to enable refugees to reach safety.”

The three Catholic charities have together produced a pilgrimage reflection, featuring seven stages where communities can consider the plight of refugees and reflect on Scripture and the recent teachings of Pope Francis. The reflection can be used by the many dioceses that are planning pilgrimages as part of the Year of Mercy announced by Pope Francis.