Ampleforth Abbey

14 December 2017

Gift of a Lampedusa Cross

Ampleforth recently hosted the annual 'Mariapolis' weekend, with several hundred members of the Focolare Movement gathering on the site to pray, talk and socialise together as well as to attend talks and workshops.

Our own Fr Jonathan was involved in the weekend and, via him, members of Focolare made Ampleforth the gift of a Lampedusa cross (pictured).

Fr Prior writes:

This simple wooden cross was made by joiner Francesco Tuccio on the island of Lampedusa, south of Sicily. Lampedusa is one of the islands where desperate migrants and refugees from North Africa try to reach safety in Europe. Many of the boats sink or catch fire; thousands of poor migrants have died.

The cross is made from the driftwood of one of the boats wrecked on the beaches of the island of Lampedusa. Similar crosses have been given to the Pope, and one is on display in the British Museum in London.

Jill Cook, senior curator at the British Museum said that Francesco Tuccio ‘wanted to do something and didn’t want to wait for the NGOs, so he used his woodworking skills to make them a gift. He collected the wood that had come ashore from the boat that they were in, and made them each a cross as a reflection of their suffering on the journey, their rescue, their salvation and hope for the future.’

The crudeness and simplicity of this cross evokes the rough treatment suffered by Jesus for our sake, and complements the main crucifix here in Holy Cross chapel. At the same time it reminds us of the dangerous voyage endured by these migrants and refugees, and of those who died seeking freedom. Pray for them all.