More than 1,000 people gathered in Westminster Cathedral to welcome Little Amal, the 12-foot puppet of a 10-year old unaccompanied Syrian refugee girl, on Monday (25 October).
Her journey across Europe, from the Turkey-Syria border to Manchester, is intended to highlight the plight of unaccompanied child migrants and the dangers they face on the way.
Cardinal Nichols noted that Amal is tall and is easily seen, but that many refugees among us are invisible.
He said: “In our city, in your street and school, there are those who have left their country for reasons not of their own making: war, persecution, climate change.
“It is good, right and Christian to welcome the stranger in our midst.”
And the cardinal had a personal word for Amal. He told he: “Many before you have come to this Cathedral from overseas and been welcomed.
“They have settled here and enriched the Church. We should help migrants and refugees to develop their talents, and allow them to bring joy to the Church and society.”
The puppet is walking from the border of Turkey with Syria to Manchester, via Westminster Cathedral.
Representing all displaced children, many separated from their families, Little Amal is travelling over 5,000 miles embodying the urgent message “Don’t forget about us”.
She represents the thousands of children who, just like her, have fled war and persecution and need access to education and essential support to rebuild their lives.
Her ‘story’ is that she will soon turn 10 and is walking to try to find her mother.
One of her stops on The Walk was in the Vatican where she was met by Pope Francis.