The Marist School chapter of Share the Journey, a student group seeking solidarity with refugees and immigrants, led a pilgrimage starting at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Decatur, Georgia on Saturday, May 8.
The six-mile walk brought together more than 135 people to help raise awareness about the journey that migrants undertake and raised over $1,000 for organizations which support immigrants and refugees. With students holding signs and banners in the lead, the public walk aimed to highlight the global migration crisis facing today’s world and bear public witness to solidarity with and for migrants.
Share the Journey Moderator and Campus Minister Mrs. Bernadette Naro described a day that was not only powerful and moving but also included increased participation and involvement from other schools such as St. Pius X and Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School. Mrs. Naro shared, “In today’s world, it is more important than ever to walk with our immigrant and refugee brothers and sisters who are too often forgotten, cast aside, or worse deliberately attacked.” She congratulated the participants for making a difference with their steps and prayers and encouraged them to continue this important work.
For Lauryn Walker ’21, Share the Journey has been an important part of her time at Marist. She said, “Through Share the Journey, I have met incredible friends and teachers, whom I admire and am grateful to work with to educate and raise awareness for the rights of refugees, migrants, and immigrants in the U.S. The pilgrimage takes months of planning and lots of hard work, but I love seeing the result… The walk is truly amazing because people who have sought refuge or migrated to the U.S. bravely share their stories, which makes the issues we walk for feel more personal.”
Moira Ujda ’21 considers her involvement with Share the Journey a lived expression of her faith as a Catholic. She said, “Work around welcoming immigrants and refugees is also deeply Marist, connecting to the themes of radical hospitality and ardent love of neighbor. The club also has been a valuable introduction to social justice, advocacy, organizing, and much more for me.”
She added, “The pilgrimage was a powerful opportunity to gather safely together as a community again. I appreciated the opportunity to hear from our neighbors in the Atlanta area about their experiences with immigration and resettlement as well as the opportunity to hear from organizations like El Refugio and Catholic Charities on how to support the work that they do. There is so much we can learn about how to build a more welcoming, just society by listening to our neighbors, and I look forward to continuing the work of making that society a reality.”
Clare Seymour ’21, one of the co-founders of Share the Journey, describes how the club has profoundly impacted her experience at Marist. She said, “We have done so much amazing work that I am so proud of, organized awesome events, and become so close as a group. It was truly a wonderful experience to host the pilgrimage again… Seeing over 100 people show up to walk alongside you for a cause and event you’re passionate about is an incredible feeling.”
Share the Journey at Marist School came into being in 2017 when students felt compelled to confront anti-migrant sentiment and call attention to the growing number of migrants in the world. According to the United Nations, there are currently more displaced people in the world than at any other time since World War II. The club organized their first pilgrimage two years ago.
Student activities like this provide invaluable opportunities to help form Marist students into faith-filled, global-ready servant leaders.