It was around 4 AM on October 3, 2013, when a barge carrying hundreds of people, mostly Eritrean women and children, caught fire and sank off the coast of Lampedusa, taking the lives of 368 people. It was an enormous tragedy that showed the world the drama of so many people forced to abandon their homes in the hope of finding peace and dignified living conditions. “The deaths at sea are a painful thorn in the heart”, said Pope Francis during his visit to Lampedusa in July 2013.
Two years have gone by, but that thorn in the heart still hurts. The tragedy of all those people who desperately seek to come to Europe has become a frequent event. In the face of so many, who by foot across the Balkans or by sea in the Mediterranean, seek refuge on our continent, some have built walls, but others have chosen to welcome and integrate the refugees, showing the human face of Europe.
The Community of Sant’Egidio, together with the diocese of Agrigento, the reform Churches, Mediterranean Hope and the parish of Lampedusa have organized an interfaith vigil in memory of the victims, “Never Forget”. Some survivors of the wreck will take part.