Prayers for Migrants and Refugees Outside Home Office

Prayers for migrants outside the Home Office

By JudyAnn Masters

Source: Independent Catholic News

A prayer vigil was held at the Home Office at noon on 5th October, in remembrance of the many refugees and migrants who have drowned in the Channel and in support of those forced to attempt the perilous crossing to England. Campaigners called for safe legal routes for refugees forced to to flee their countries to apply for asylum.

Tributes were also given to the mostly unpaid volunteer Royal National Lifeboat Institution crews, who selflessly serve to rescue all who need their help at sea. Barbara Kentish organised this moving event.

It was a grey drizzly day with the sun peeking out occasionally as Home Office staff came and went. The participants conveyed a sense of joy, respect, and purpose as they prayed and sang hymns together. Moving testimonies were read from the crew members of RNLI of their encounters with exhausted, desperate individuals trying to navigate the Channel’s shipping lanes in flimsy inflatable dinghies, ill-equipped to deal with the challenge. Lifeboat crews are committed to saving lives no matter who is at risk, putting politics aside.

There were placards, a baby and a “birthday girl” who had ridden her bike for more than an hour to join the group! Ann Jones, who volunteers at the Catholic Worker and Caritas, was 80 years old that morning and she said there was no better way to start her birthday! And she brought homemade brownies to share!

Thomas Caddick, from Catholic Worker, said he participated in the Home Office action, because he opposes the extreme threat and devastation deportation poses to extremely vulnerable people.

Brother Johannes Maertens, shared that the focus isn’t what we accomplished, it was being present in prayer for people. “We are reminding ourselves and others that refugees are in danger because of the policies that are made in this building…we need to pray for victims who are affected by these policies as well as the people who make the policies in this country…trying to grow together for a better humanity, to be more humane…to be a sign for people here, to be present for all to see, to stand in front of God to testify for humanity…”

Barbara’s prayer vigil was an inspiring blend of reality and hope, of justice and peace. Ben Beno’s poem will have the last word…

A refugee, a refugee,
Lord, into you I flee.
A refugee, a refugee,
O Lord, my refuge be.

Bend down and hear.
my prayer. Come near.
Save and deliver me.
My rock and wall,
a stronghold tall,
my fortress you will be.

A refugee, a refugee,
Lord, into you I flee.
A refugee, a refugee,
O Lord, my refuge be.

Then stay the hand
of those who plan
tp grasp and wreck and crush.
Come rescue me,
Come set me free.

Ben Bano (Seeking Sanctuary)