Special Mass offered for refugees of the world

  • Canon David Ryan with the Lampedusa Cross

    A special Mass was offered for refugees of the world in the presence of the Lampedusa Cross recently at the Church in Bath. Linking the gospel of the blind man cured by Jesus Christ in his homily, Parish Priest, Canon David Ryan ​​reflected on how Pope Francis was made aware of the plight and suffering of refugees when he was invited to the island of Lampedusa by the parish priest.

Altar servers with the Lampedusa Cross with Canon David Ryan looking on.

Find out more about how you can be involved in the work supporting Refugees through CAFOD.

The Lampedusa Cross visits Bath – and has a profound impact

Lampedusa Crosses

Lampedusa Crosses crafted by Francesco Tuccio. Each is made from wood taken from the vessels used by refugees who make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean to reach Europe.

CAFOD volunteer, Irene Prentice recalls the visit of the Lampedusa Cross to her church, St. John the Evangelist in Bath. The visit of the cross had a profound impact on parishioners and brought the reality of the refugee crisis closer to home.

CAFOD at St John the Evangelist was fortunate to be the brief custodian of a cross from Lampedusa made by the Sicilian carpenter Mr. Francesco Tuccio.

Mr. Tuccio created made the first Lampedusa Cross in 2009 from a wooden boat that a group of refugees had used to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean. Mr. Tuccio was inspired to do this by through his Christian faith: “As a Catholic inspired by the suffering Jesus Christ went through on the cross, I wanted to create crosses to give hope.”

The presence of this rough and humble cross from Lampedusa was a poignant reminder of the desperation and suffering of refugees the world over. According to the UNHCR in 2015, over 63 million people were displaced. These people have been driven away from their homes because of war, persecution and environmental changes.

The presence of the Lampedusa Cross in our community has made their suffering all the more tangible.

You can find out more about the Lampedusa Cross by clicking here.

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Lampedusa Cross goes on display at S S Peter and Paul

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Elizabeth Baldwin presenting the cross to Bishop Declan

A Lampedusa Cross, hand-carved from the driftwood of capsized refugee boats, is being displayed in the Cathedral of S S Peter and Paul in an act of solidarity with the plight of refugees.

The cross was presented to Bishop Declan during a celebration of Bristol’s young leaders last week at M-Shed. Bishop Declan praised them for their acts of solidarity with refugees and shared his experience of working with refugees.

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.

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Bishop Declan with the cross

CAFOD representative in the Clifton Diocese, Elizabeth Baldwin said:

“ Our Catholic faith calls us to act. Yet, when faced with massive global issues, you often ask,what can I do? Speaking to such inspiration young people about the Lampedusa Cross was very moving; the messages they shared showed how they cared for refugees around the world.

“The Lampedusa Cross will now be displayed in the Cathedral and people are invited to leave their messages of hope which will be shared with refugees across the world, through our partner organisations, in November.”

Parishioners from Bristol and the surrounding areas have organised pilgrimages with the cross to show solidarity with the refugees arriving in the UK and the three Catholic charities have together produced a pilgrimage reflection.

The pilgrimage includes seven stages which allows pilgrims to consider the plight of refugees and reflect on Scripture and the recent teachings of Pope Francis.

Learn more about Lampedusa Cross resources