Being a place of Sanctuary

The Catholic community has pledged its support for Cambridge as a City of Sanctuary.

On Friday 16 June, in the parish hall of Our Lady & the English Martyrs, Father Pat Cleary signed a “Resolution of Support” on behalf of Cambridge Deanery in which the Catholic community pledged to support Cambridge as a City of Sanctuary.

Parishioners from the Catholic Churches of Cambridge then explored what this might mean for our communities. What could we do? And we heard from Cambridge groups actively supporting refugees and asylum seekers.



Rosemary Watson, of City of Sanctuary, linked the ancient role of churches in providing sanctuary to the present day role of faith communities in helping to make Cambridge a place of safety and welcome for refugees and asylum seekers. City of Sanctuary (COS) is developing databases of volunteers for associated charities and national COS. Cambridgeshire Schools of Sanctuary provides expertise and online resources to engage schools and can recommend speakers to lead an assembly. This enables schools to understand why people need sanctuary, be safe and welcoming and shares these ideas with others.

Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign (CRRC) encourages voluntary effort in support of refugees, complementing the role of local authorities. Some churches have provided safe venues for refugees to meet socially or learn English. There remains a pressing need for self-contained accommodation to enable Cambridge to welcome more Syrian refugees under the Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme.

A representative of Cambridge Convoy Refugee Action Group shared his experience of joining the effort to build basic shelters in the Calais camp. CamCRAG continue to take convoys of goods and volunteers to work with asylum seekers in Europe.

In conclusion, Father Pat spoke of the role of Pope Francis in stressing the imperative of providing support for those seeking sanctuary.

CambridgeCityofSanctuaryPictured above is Fr Pat Cleary receiving a certificate from Rosemary Watson to acknowledge the pledge of support for Cambridge as a City of Sanctuary.

Justice & Peace

Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works.

  • Are you concerned about social injustice ?
  • Do you feel strongly about issues of homelessness and poverty ?
  • Do you think that, as Christians, we should be trying to find practical ways of playing a part in tackling these problems ?
  • Do you think that we in the Church should be confronting the issues of Third World debt and the crippling poverty it has created in many countries ?
  • Does it matter to you that many, many people in the world are denied even the most basic of human rights ?
  • Would you like to be involved in raising your own awareness and that of the parish in these issues ?

If so, then why not come and join us in the Justice and Peace Group ?

Our commitment to Justice and Peace leads us to:

  • Increase awareness of suffering in our community and in our world.
  • Work to develop understanding of the causes of that suffering.
  • Help build a more just and peaceful world.

The foundation of all we do is our Christian faith. We look to the Bible, the social teaching of the Catholic Church, and the example of just men and women for inspiration and guidance. As witnesses to justice and peace we seek to work with other Christians and groups locally and nationally. As a voice within the Church we strive to bring the demands of peace and justice to bear on all our activities and those of our parishes.

We are a friendly group who meet once every month to reflect on the spiritual basis of our commitment and on the issues of the day. We discuss plans for the activities arising from these reflections – these may be liturgical events, speaker meetings, fund-raising, campaigning, publicity events, etc.  These meetings are for all the Catholic churches in Cambridge.

To find out more about the group please contact either Clare Enright or Ron Haynes via the Rectory Office, or simply come along to the next meeting in the Parish Centre Meeting Room at English Martyrs.

We meet on the second Tuesday of every month at 7.30 pm. New members are always welcome.