REFUGEE DAY SATURDAY 23rd JUNE 2018
In his traditional New Year’s Day address, before around 40,000 people who had converged on St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis highlighted the plight of refugees and asylum seekers, describing them as the world’s “weakest and most needy.”
The Pope had chosen the plight of migrants and refugees as the theme for the Church’s World Day of Peace, celebrated annually on January 1, and in his address said:
“For this peace, to which everyone has a right, many of them (the refugees) are willing to risk their lives in a journey, which is often long and dangerous; they are willing to face strain and suffering.”
Refugees’ journeys to safety are sometimes pictured on the news, but so often seem distanced from us – not something that affects us and our community – but not so. This is the testimony of an asylum seeker from the middle east who is living with his wife and young children in Clitheroe, written as homework (“Write 80 words about something you did recently”) for the English class he is attending, and reproduced here with his permission:
“At 11 o’clock, in the middle of the night, we were in Turkey. We were going to Greece. We are 150 persons going in a small boat in the middle of the sea. The engine was broken. Everyone was scared and cried. I decided to call the police and called them to rescue the boat. After 3 hours they answered they were coming. We nearly died”.
Around 150 refugees and asylum seekers will be visiting the Ribble Valley on Saturday 23rd June. We can’t solve the problems of the world, but we can at least make them welcome for a day.
The day begins on the St. Michael and St. John’s School Field at around 10.30 a.m. when our guests arrive, with a BBQ provided by the Mosque at midday. Then, at around 1pm, the visitors will be heading over to Stonyhurst College, where there will be activities laid on by the College, a refugee v College football match, a walk, ending the afternoon with the now traditional cream tea. Please come along on Saturday morning to say “Hello”. If you would like to join the “Share the Journey” walk organised by parish CAFOD reps (https://cafod.org.uk/Campaign/Share-the-Journey), or come to Stonyhurst College, please let us know. You will need to arrange your own transport.
We are still looking for volunteers on the day. In particular we need First Aiders and people to help at Stonyhurst College. If you can help, leave your details on the form at the back of Church, or contact Tom Clay on 07962136749.
Please pray for the success of the day.
Tom & Kathryn Clay