A group of students joined thousands of others to help complete a 24,900-mile walk around the world in solidarity with refugees.
On 13 May, 10 members of the Liverpool Catholic Society – which comprises members from the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University and Liverpool Hope University – showed their support for the Catholic international development charity Cafod by joining in the 'Share the Journey' challenge.
This is a campaign launched by Pope Francis which aims to promote greater understanding of refugees and migrants and to call on governments to protect those forced to flee their homes due to poverty or war. It is being championed by charities including Cafod, whose supporters are aiming to walk 24,900 miles – the distance around the world – by September in solidarity with refugees.
The Liverpool students walked around Sefton Park to add a collective 75 miles to the combined total of 8,002 already walked by Catholics in England and Wales.
Father Neil Ritchie, chaplain for the city's universities, said: 'Participating in the Share the Journey walk is a great way for us to show solidarity with the millions of people forced to undertake arduous and often dangerous journeys because of the instability of our world.
'More than just hearing or reading about these people, it's a chance to do something specific to show unity with them. It helps us to open our minds to their plight, and more importantly, as Pope Francis invites us to do, to open our hearts to them.'
Emily McIndoe, Cafod's campaigns volunteer co-ordinator in Liverpool, added: 'It was fantastic to see so many students take time out to join us in our walk. It was really thought-provoking to stop and listen to the refugee stories along the way, to remind us of why we were walking.'
The group hopes their walk will raise awareness before world leaders meet on 19 September at the United Nations General Assembly in New York to reach a new agreement on protecting refugees. Cafod has launched a petition to the Prime Minister to ensure the United Kingdom takes a prominent lead at the assembly.