News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool



Cath Pic Jubilee Issue-1 Catholic Pic November 2021-1

In October the Amal Puppet Walk visited the United Kingdom.  The walk by ‘Little Amal’ a 3.5-metre-tall puppet of a young refugee girl began in July and since that time events have taken place from the Syria-Turkey border through to the UK.  


Amal (the Arabic word for ‘hope’) represented displaced children throughout the world, many separated from their families.  Children who, just like Amal, have fled war and persecution and need access to education and essential support to rebuild their lives.


Amir Nizar Zuabi, Artistic Director of The Walk said, ‘It is because the attention of the world is elsewhere right now that it is more important than ever to reignite the conversation about the refugee crisis and to change the narrative around it.  Yes, refugees need food and blankets, but they also need dignity and a voice.  The purpose of The Walk is to highlight the potential of the refugee, not just their dire circumstances.  Little Amal is 3.5 metres tall because we want the world to grow big enough to greet her.  We want her to inspire us to think big and to act bigger.’


Although Little Amal was not able to visit Liverpool her progress was followed by St Francis Xavier parishioners who gathered on Saturday 24 October for a bacon butty breakfast to share their understanding of the suggested changes to the Nationality and Borders Bill.  Thanks to the Jesuit Fund for Social Justice they were able to ‘baptise’ their new Smart TV, and follow the footsteps of Little Amal.


The Walk of this amazing public puppet project, a Handspring Puppet Company production for Good Chance, caused quite a stir all along the way from Syria.  It helped to awaken conversation on the harrowing conditions undergone by children and adults as refugees, and the multiple reasons for their terrible ordeal.  It also gave the Liverpool group the opportunity to share ideas on how they can welcome the stranger by recording them on ‘Orange Hearts’ – the symbol of ‘Together with Refugees’.


Jesuit Refugee Service UK (JRS UK) informed parishioners how the proposed new Nationality and Borders Bill would overhaul the UK asylum system, to make it as difficult as possible to get asylum in the UK.  The Bill would deny many refugees the chance to seek sanctuary here, criminalise many who try to do so, and isolate refugees in harmful out-of-town institutions.


A letter of appeal was tabled to be sent to local MPs, outlining the key concerns involved with the proposed Bill.  Copies of the appeal were printed out, to be distributed at the end of Sunday Mass.  The group also highlighted the JRS UK publication ‘Being Human in the Asylum System’, a report laying out the principles for a just and person-centred system based on Catholic Social Teaching.

Little Amal highlights the plights of refugees

We want her to inspire us to think big and to act bigger