Amsterdam, ecumenical prayer vigil "Dying of Hope" in memory of migrants who have lost their lives on their way to EuropeDying of hope HollandMIGRANTS
Last Sunday, an ecumenical prayer 'Dying for Hope' - organised by the Community of Sant'Egidio in collaboration with the Protestant Diaconate, the Amsterdam Council of Churches and the Catholic Worker - was held in the Church of Moses and Aaron in Amsterdam to commemorate the many refugees who died trying to reach Europe. The ecumenical prayer was presided over by Deacon Colm Dekker of Sant'Egidio.
Protestant theologian Manuela Kalsky pointed out in her commentary on the Gospel that Pope Francis is an inspiration for many - especially young people - to keep hope alive and to devote themselves concretely to refugees. She called for greater moral leadership on an inclusive and sustainable migration policy.
The names and stories of the many refugees who lost their lives last year on their way to Europe in the hope of a better future were read out during the commemoration. The Nigerian man whose body was found in the cargo compartment of a plane at Amsterdam airport last April was also remembered. Priests and pastors from Christian churches - Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant - joined in the prayer.
The ceremony ended with a procession to the river Amstel, where everyone threw a flower in memory of the victims. Some young people carried placards of migrants during their tragic journeys to Europe.
The images make us reflect on the need for a revision of European migration policy. Professor Thomas Spijkerboer gave a lecture on this issue on the same day. He illustrated the current visa system and possible alternatives that can be prepared to to ensure legal and safe access to Europe.