Parishioners support People of Ukraine by walking in solidarity
The continuing sight of refugees fleeing from Ukraine has had an enormous impact on us all. As an inadequate but heartfelt expression of solidarity with them,
parishioners from Corpus Christi and Our Lady of Lourdes spent an afternoon walking around Bury Knowle Park in Oxford to raise awareness of the community and to raise some funds for the CAFOD Ukraine Appeal. Fr Mervyn had started the walk with a prayer as the walkers
gathered to reflect upon the work of CAFOD and its CARITAS partners in providing immediate help to refugees travelling out of Ukraine into nearby countries like Poland and Moldova. After singing Bind Us Together to accompaniment from one of the music groups from church, people from a range of age groups spread out whilst walking
around the park perimeter, engaging with other people and families enjoying the park on a sunny afternoon.
Half way round the circuit, large photographs were displayed showing the work of CARITAS with refugees entering Poland at the border – they included images of shelters where refugees were given hot drinks and refreshments, social workers offering advice and support and running courses to engage bewildered children, and members of religious orders greeting refugees around oil and gas stoves to proved warmth and comfort. It wasn’t only the parish walkers who stopped to ponder the images – several families out for an afternoon in the park also gathered to ask questions about the images and to wish the walkers well.
An ice cream van was on hand to provide welcome lollies and cornets and, after completing several circuits, parishioners gathered again to sing and to pray the CAFOD Ukraine Prayer:
Loving God, We pray for the people of Ukraine, for all those suffering or afraid, that you will be close to them and protect them.
We pray for world leaders, for compassion, strength and wisdom to guide their choices.
We pray for the world that in this moment of crisis, we may reach out in solidarity to our brothers and sisters in need.
May we walk in your ways so that peace and justice become a reality for the people of Ukraine and for all the world.
Finally, Fr Mervyn blessed the walkers who gathered for a final photograph (top). Although it wasn’t the primary purpose, the walk raised over £700 for CAFOD in donations and sponsorship.