As part of our ‘Cathedral of Sanctuary’ status, we continue to look for opportunities to both welcome those in our city who have come seeking sanctuary, and also to raise awareness around the wider situation of refugees and asylum-seekers in Ireland and around the world. In keeping with that ethos, we looked for ways that we could participate in Refugee Week 2018. This was our first year to mark Refugee Week and we identified three ways to take part.
Prayers of Lament, Prayers of Hope
This evening of quiet and reflective prayer took place on 17 June, on the eve of Refugee Week. The evening offered space for scripture, song and reflection and those attending were invited to write down a prayer light a candle or simply offer their prayer in silent solidarity. Some of the prayers shared:
‘Father God, bring humanity to Ireland’s asylum system. Christ have mercy.’
‘Gracious Father, hold all refugees close to your heart. You are
Abba Father. Be their rock and refuge, I pray.’
‘Paz en la Tierra, paz entre los hombres, paz en un mundo justo donde reine el Amor.’
‘Safe and warm, loving home for each and every one of us on Earth. May peace be with us all.’
Human Flow, a film by Ai Weiwei
In partnership with the Irish Refugee Council we were able to host a free screening of Chinese artist and filmmaker Ai Weiwei’s visually impactful documentary Human Flow on 18 June.There was such response for the film screen that an additional evening was scheduled to accommodate the interest.
Our Table ‘Food is Culture’ launch
We were delighted to further our ongoing relationship with the asylum-seeker led group Our Table, whose aim is to highlight the need to end the direct provision system in Ireland, by facilitating change through conversation over food. Our Table were on our grounds for four days selling their delicious food creations, led by founder, asylum-seeker and Ballymaloe-trained chef Ellie Kisyombe. Our Table identified Refugee Week as an opportunity to launch their ‘Food is Culture’ campaign and to introduce all our visitors to their tasty, small batch hot sauce line. Their events also included an appearance and reading by author Melatu Uche Okorie whose book, This Hostel Life, is a reflection on her experiences in the direct provision system.