Thousands of Catholics take action to welcome refugees
22 August 2016
Thousands of Catholics in England and Wales have shown an overwhelming wish to welcome refugees who have fled to Europe in search of sanctuary, writing messages of hope and preparing for a march in solidarity on Saturday 17 September in central London.
Over 7,000 people from more than 130 parishes and schools have written messages to refugees as part of our campaign with CSAN and the Jesuit Refugee Service. These messages will be dedicated later in 2016 at an event to mark the end of the Year of Mercy and will be shared with refugees both in the UK and abroad.
People are also preparing for an ecumenical service and a huge march to ‘welcome the stranger’ in September. The service and the march which will take place days before summits on refugees will be held at the UN, including a meeting of world leaders hosted by US President Barack Obama. The march has been organised jointly by different charities and groups working to support refugees.
Some of the most poignant messages have been written by children. They include messages such as:
Daniel Hale, Head of Campaigns at CAFOD, said:
“At a time when the spectre of division and hostility towards ‘the stranger’ appears to be rearing its head across Europe once again, it’s uplifting to know that Catholics are acting on Pope Francis’s call to ensure that refugees are ‘welcomed, respected and loved’.
“The scale of the response, demonstrated by the moving and compassionate words in the messages we’ve received, is inspiring. It also shows how much support there is for people who have had to flee their homes due to war, poverty and oppression.”