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World Refugee Day: The Hollow Men Monument

On Sunday, 25 April, a sculpture entitled “The Hollow Men” was unveiled in the garden of the international Church of Our Saviour in The Hague to commemorate all the unknown refugees who died at sea or in the desert during their flight to safety.  The sculpture consists of two parts, and when viewed from the Bezuidenhouitseweg side, the statue is visible through the center of the metal cut out figure in front. 

It was a moving ceremony.  The statue was unveiled by Wael, who was himself a refugee. The Papal Nuncio, H. E. Mgr. Aldo Cavalli, was on hand to read Pope Francis’ Prayer for Immigrants and to bless the monument. Speeches were made by Kees Zevenbergen, Director of Cordaid who funded the project, Linette Dijk, the artist who made the monument, and Mehran Ward, a representative of the refugee community.

The idea for this monument was first mooted by Fr Sjaak de Boer MHM, parish priest of the international parish of Our Saviour.

Inauguration of monument

The Hollow Men

Prayer for Migrants

Merciful God, we pray to you for all the men, women and children
who have died after leaving their homelands in search of a better life.

Though many of their graves bear no name,
to you each one is known, loved and cherished.

May we never forget them, but honor their sacrifice
with deeds more than words.

We entrust to you all those who have made this journey,
enduring fear, uncertainty and humiliation,
in order to reach a place of safety and hope.

Just as you never abandoned your Son
as he was brought to a safe place by Mary and Joseph,
so now be close to these, your sons and daughters,
through our tenderness and protection.

The Holllow Men

In caring for them may we seek a world
where none are forced to leave their home
and where all can live in freedom, dignity and peace.

Merciful God and Father of all,
wake us from the slumber of indifference,
open our eyes to their suffering,
and free us from the insensitivity
born of worldly comfort and self-centeredness.

Inspire us, as nations, communities and individuals,
to see that those who come to our shores are our brothers and sisters.

May we share with them the blessings we have received from your hand,
and recognize that together, as one human family,
we are all migrants, journeying in hope to you, our true home,
where every tear will be wiped away,
where we will be at peace and safe in your embrace.

– Pope Francis,

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