Vigil for Syria
The Archbishop of Birmingham, Bernard Longley, has hosted a Vigil for Syria at St Chad’s cathedral under an image of the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt and the words “We too were refugees!” Representatives from the city’s faith communities and civic life gathered in solidarity with asylum seekers and refugees from many countries including Syria, Sudan, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, the Ivory Coast, Morocco and Nigeria.
The evening was animated by St Chad’s Sanctuary in collaboration with the Salvation Army; the Sanctuary is located behind the Cathedral and offers a welcome and practical support to a daily influx of destitute refugees.
The Vigil included prayers and songs for peace in a number of languages. A member of the Sikh community expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to be together to witness to humankind’s common dignity and to pray for peace and hope for Syria and other countries. During the prayers of intercession, Dr Joseph Seferta, a member of the Birmingham Council of Faiths and the Archbishop’s advisor on Iraq, read a prayer in Arabic which he wrote especially for the Vigil:
No one is a stranger in your eyes,
and no one is ever far from your loving care.
In your divine mercy, watch over refugees and victims of war,
Those separated from their loved ones,
Young people who are lost,
and those who have left everything behind.
Help us always to show kindness to strangers and all those in need.
May all of us—no matter who we are or where we are from—
live together as brothers and sisters,
for we are members of the one human family.
Put an end to man’s inhumanity to man.