Over 30 walkers gathered at Corpus Christi parish hall in Boscombe, Bournemouth, last Sunday morning to take part in our Walk for Justice! The 6-mile walk, which incorporated 4 prayer stops, was both an opportunity for a different day out and a chance to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in some of the countries where we work, together with reflecting on the structures that keep people poor and what we can do to change them.
We started off with a special blessing (kindly given by Fr Peter), and then we gathered outside the parish hall to take a group picture (see above)! We were holding a Brazilian flag (together with the CAFOD flag) to express our solidarity with our partner MDF in Brazil (Movimento de Defesa do Favelado, working in São Paulo on housing rights and the urban programme), whose members are about to take part in a special pilgrimage next month (the “Martyrs’ Pilgrimage”) to commemorate all those who have lost their lives for justice, freedom and true peace (our colleague Tony from the Westminster office will be joining them too! 🙂 ).
We then set off in the mist (as you can see from the pictures!) and made our way along the beautiful coastline to Southbourne Coast Road, where we had our first prayer stop, focussing on Kenya and the beauty of creation (altough we could not see much of it in the mist!!) and remembering our students from Oaklands Catholic school who are there right now!
We then moved on to make our way to Christchurch Priory and by then, everybody was really looking forward to lunch and a rest! Before that, we were very kindly joined by Fr John Lee from Christchurch, who led our second prayer stop (focussed on Zambia and our Open up the books action). By then, the mist had finally lifted and we were basking in glorious sunshine – which was fantastic!
The lunch break was lovely but short, and at 2pm we were ready to make our way back. Everybody was determined to complete the walk, which was a great encouragement! This time, thanks to the sunshine, we were able to see the stunning landscape and coastline. We stopped on Southbourne Coast Road again for a third brief prayer session, focussing on Colombia and our Get down to business campaign.
The last stretch of the walk was probably the hardest for everyone, in the heat – but the fact that a good cup of tea (and plenty of doughnuts and cakes!) were round the corner kept everybody going! So, little by little we all managed to make it back to Corpus Christi parish hall – where the refreshments team made us very welcome indeed! Tea and cakes went down very well and we also had a chance to pray for our friends in Brazil and sign messages of support for their pilgrimage, which will be delivered by our colleagues next month! Lastly, we sold lots of CAFOD raffle tickets (which is great!) and most people also signed the Open Up the Books and the Get Down to Business action cards, adding more voices to our campaigns! Finally, every participant received a well-deserved certificate for their great achievement in completing the walk.
Overall, it was really a great day, blessed with sunshine and friendship. We have a lot to be thankful for, but our very special thanks go especially to:
– our fabulous team of local volunteers from Corpus Christi: Annie, Pam, Maureen and Richard, without whom we simply could not have had the walk!
– Mary, our first aider, and all our brilliant stewards including Louise and Sue
– Fr Peter, Fr John, Fr Dennis and hall manager John Flood for their support
– the refreshments team
– most importantly: everybody who took part! Thanks so much for coming along – and some people travelled quite considerable distances! Well done everyone! 🙂 We hope you all enjoed the day as much as we did!