On Saturday afternoon, 23rd July, a Day of Mercy was held at the Schoenstatt Shrine and Pastoral Centre in Kearsley (Bolton). The pilgrims who attended came from the parishes of St John Bosco & Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Blackley in Manchester.
The event was well attended by parishioners from the two parishes in Blackley, who have generously supported CAFOD for many years. Brenda Garlick, long time CAFOD volunteer and supporter, led the pilgrims in prayers and reflections of Mercy using the CAFOD Lampedusa Cross Refugee Solidarity Pilgrimage. The Lampedusa Cross carries a great significance with regards refugees as the crosses were made by a local Italian carpenter, Francesco Tuccio, from the island of Lampedusa. When hundreds of refugees who were fleeing Eritrea and Somalia drowned off the coast of Lampedusa, he was moved to gather the driftwood from the wrecked boats and turn them into crosses, which he offered to survivors as a small but powerful symbol of hope. This event was held to mark the Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis, which runs from December 2015 to November 2016. Pope Francis carried one of the Lampedusa crosses at a memorial Mass to commemorate people who have died, and the British Museum is now displaying a Lampedusa cross as a reminder to people of the refugee crisis the world is facing.
Brenda Garlick leads the pilgrims in prayer and reflection
The pilgrims were warmly welcomed by Fr David at the Schoenstatt Shrine and had the opportunity to pray for and reflect on the plight of refugees from around the world fleeing war, persecution and extreme poverty. Whilst at the shrine the pilgrims had the chance to pass through one of the Doors of Mercy within the Diocese of Salford. Earlier in the day the pilgrims had visited Wardley Hall, the residence of the Bishop of Salford, where they had passed through another Door of Mercy.
For prayer and reflection resources please visit the CAFOD website.