Parish volunteer Kevin Haigh, from St. Joseph’s Birtley was one of the 150 Catholics who took part in this year’s annual Holy Island pilgrimage, walking the Causeway with CAFOD’s Lampedusa cross to raise awareness of the refugee crisis. He joined 50 others in writing messages of hope for refugees and walking the mile-long pilgrimage. Here he recounts his experience.
On a beautiful day in September, we met at Purdy Lodge on the A1, 20 minutes from
Holy Island of Lindisfarne. We had three coaches from the North East and various private cars from Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Leeds. Everyone was looking to get started on the Lindisfarne causeway and we gathered at the west end of the Island to start our walk with stages 1 and 2 of the Pilgrimage liturgy.
On the way across we completed stages 3 and 5 and were looking to complete stage seven on the island. Before we got there we had to wade through a section of water around 60 metres, which was something we had never encountered in 40 years of this crossing! Around 50 folks had already met in All Saints Catholic Church to go through the Pilgrimage liturgy in the church.
At 3 p.m. around 150 happy pilgrims gathered in St. Mary’s Anglican Church for Holy Mass Celebrated by Fr. Chris Hughes. Everyone agreed it had been a brilliant day on the Island of Lindisfarne, even those who were soaked up to the waist! But, the tragedy of migration and the horror of having to flee your home because of persecution and death threats came home to us very strongly in the stories of the pilgrimage stages. We look forward to next year!
If your school or parish would like to use the Lampedusa cross at an event, please call David on 0191 384 4847.