News and Views

The Lampedusa Cross

Advent is a time to prepare for the arrival of the Lord, in our hearts, in our family and in our community. I love Advent. It is a time of hope. This year our Parish was privileged to begin our Advent with the Lampedusa Cross.

Why is this cross special?

This rough cross constructed of driftwood was made by Sicilian carpenter Francesco Tuccio, who made the first such cross from the wreckage of a boat that sank off the island of Lampedusa.

The boat was carrying 500 refugees from Eritrea and Somalia when it capsized. 349 people died. This local carpenter carved and offered crosses to survivors as a symbol of their rescue and a sign of hope. One of his crosses was recently carried through the great Door of Mercy at St Peter’s basilica.

Reflection: Mary and Joseph were ordered to leave their home and register in Bethlehem. Three times they knocked at the door and were refused help or assistance. They were destitute, away from all their security, comfort and attachments. They were isolated, tired and cold. Jesus, eventually, was born in a dirty stable. Then they had to flee, their lives in mortal danger from Herod, to another country.  Strangers in a foreign land.

CAFOD has commissioned a Lampedusa Cross for each of the dioceses in England and Wales as a sign of solidarity and hope for the refugees. This is one of those crosses.

It was especially appropriate for the cross to be in Our Lady of the Valley Parish during that week of Advent, as the pilot“refugee come dine with me” project was being launched in our parish that week.

During the first week of Advent, The Lampedusa Cross visited:

St Mary’s Church, Sabden: Service of Light Advent Service, led by Fr Kevin Murphy.  As part of the service, children from St Mary’s School, Sabden, decorated a Tree with prayers as presents for Jesus during Advent, using the Lampedusa prayer cards.

St Michael’s and St John’s Church, Clitheroe: The Cross led the procession into Sunday Mass at St Michael and St John’s, Clitheroe and was venerated.

St Michael and St John’s Primary School, Clitheroe: A school assembly was held, lead by the Head Mrs Zoe Mabbott and Tom Clay, a school governor, about the Lampedusa Cross, and children wrote prayer cards.

St Hubert’s Church, Dunsop Bridge: Mass lead by Monsignor John Corcoran.

St Hubert’s, Dunsop Bridge Primary School: The children from the school wrote wonderful prayer cards following preparation on the history and symbolism of the Lampedusa Cross.

During the rest of the week, the Cross was placed for private prayer in the church of St Michael and St John’s , Clitheroe. Prayer cards were filled in and offered.

A book featuring all the prayer cards is now being prepared.