By Cian Molloy - 22 October, 2018
The Global Solidarity Walk, a worldwide initiative by Caritas Internationalis to create greater solidarity with migrants and refugees, was officially launched in Rome yesterday.
A diverse group of people, led by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archibishop of Manila, took part in a brief pilgrim walk through Rome to launch the initiative. Afterwards, participants in the Global Solidarity Walk initiative were greeted by warmly by Pope Francis in his midday Angelus message.
This initiative sees solidarity walks being held in towns, villages and cities, where locals and migrants choose to walk together and dialogue.
These walks are part of Share the Journey, a campaign run by Caritas Internationalis, the international umbrella organisation for Catholic overseas aid agencies like Trócaire in Ireland and CAFOD in England and Wales
Share the Journey, which will run until the end of next year, is about creating opportunities for encounters to take place between migrants and local communities.
Cardinal Tagle said that giving migrants space to tell their stories helped their voices to be heard. “We want everyone with a migration experience to share it – from migrants themselves, to people who live in communities where migrants leave from, pass through or arrive and settle.”
There is plenty of food for thought and talk on the Share the Journey website, where features include a “reality check” section which counters many of the myths surrounding refugees and migration.
A spokesperson for Caritas Internationalis said migration was nothing new. “Humanity has always been on the move. People have always packed up their lives – to find work, friends and family, food, shelter, safety… So why are some people now so scared of the ‘stranger’?
“Migration has brought huge benefits to many people – new languages, number systems, crops, music, inventions, ways of thinking.”
To be involved, visit the Share the Journey website where you can find five-step instructions to organising a walk. You will also find an email link on the page where you can register your walk and log the total distance your group covers. Your total will be added to the accumulating global number of kilometres strolled, sauntered and perambulated in solidarity and Christian love.
At the time of writing, the total Global Solidarity Walk distance had just passed 2,300km and was rising steadily.
The Presentation Sisters North East Ireland is one group involved in the initiative. In a Share the Journey bulletin to its members and supporters, the order said: “Small gestures, ordinary gestures, when done with sincerity, with the light of human understanding and compassion, can do extraordinary things.”