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CAFOD’S Walk Around the World Reaches Sheffield Town Hall

Over 80 people of all ages arrived from all points of the compass to meet at the Town Hall on Saturday.  They clocked up nearly 200 miles between them to add to the 7,574 miles already walked by others towards the target 24,900 miles – the distance round the world – to highlight the problems of 250 million people on the move all around the world due to war, persecution, natural disasters and lack of livelihoods.

The Lord Mayor welcomes the walkers

  The Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Cllr Anne Murphy, was delighted to welcome the walkers to Sheffield Town Hall as they walked on behalf of CAFOD in support of migrants and refugees.  “Great cause, great people,” she affirmed.  A message of support from Bishop Ralph was read out by seminarian, Henry Woodhouse.

  Every minute, 20 people around the world are newly displaced.  Half the growing number of refugees are children.  So campaigners, motivated by CAFOD’s Share the Journey campaign, are asking the Government to ensure there is a compassionate response which:

  • respects human dignity;
  • protects the vulnerable;
  • supports host countries;
  • keeps families together;
  • tackles the reasons why people migrate.

The group of walkers and supporters at Sheffield Town Hall

  The walkers in Sheffield, the first City of Sanctuary, heard from its Chair, Mike Reynolds, about the welcome and services provided here and the new Sanctuary on Chapel Walk.  Then Mbi Agbor from Pride spoke movingly of his experiences as an asylum seeker from Cameroon.  Louise Haigh, MP for Sheffield Heeley who is also on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees, spoke with conviction, “I’m honoured to have been invited to speak on this serious matter, and I’m glad CAFOD have committed to helping protect the vulnerable and raise awareness with events like this.  Reuniting families who’ve been separated by war and persecution is so important for helping people rebuild their lives together after deeply traumatic events.

Deacon Andrew Crowley shares the journey with a Muslim neighbour

  “The Government must meet its obligations to refugees by campaigning for these goals at the UN later in the year – we can’t stand by and watch families be torn apart through no fault of their own.”

  Another walk is being planned in Doncaster for Sunday, 2 September but, if you’d like to organise your own, please get in touch with the CAFOD Hallam Volunteer Centre on hallam@cafod.org.uk or ring 0114 2687817.

  There’s no need to do anything on a grand scale, it would be great even if there’s just two or three of you in your parish who would like to Share the Journey with us.  You can find out more details about the campaign and add your name to the petition at: www.cafod.org.uk/Campaign/Share-the-Journey.

Bishop Ralph’s Message to those Taking Part in the Share the Journey Walk of Witness

I am sorry that that I am unable to be with you on your walk of witness this afternoon.  As many of you will know, the delayed Caritas Launch in the Diocese takes place today at Wickersley and I need to be present and as yet I have not been gifted with bi-location!

  Strangely, I think that it is a god-incidence that these events are taking place on the same day.  Pope Francis says a ‘Church without charity does not exist’.  Inspired by Gospel values and the Catholic Social Teaching, Caritas shares in the Mission of the Church, promoting human development and, where necessary, being a voice for those caught up in poverty and conflict and, in particular, responding to the movement of displaced persons through international cooperation and a shared responsibility.

  In 2017, Caritas launched the Share the Journey campaign to promote a global effort in creating increased opportunities for communities to find out more about migrants and refugees, to join in its shared experiences and initiatives and to promote what Pope Francis calls a ‘culture of encounter’.  So you might say, today is one event in two different locations.

With prayer for a successful walk of witness and solidarity

+Ralph