Bishop Ruperto Cruz Santos urged migrants and migrant ministries to be grateful, give their best, and never complain on World Migrants Sunday, which also marks National Seafarers Day in the Antipolo Diocese of the Philippines.
The event was held on September 24, 2023, at the International Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (ISOLPGV), with the theme "Free to choose whether to migrate or stay."
Bishop Santos presided over the Mass, which was co-concelebrated by the Directors of the Diocese's Advisory Council on Migrant Issues (DACMI), the Social Action Center, and the ISOLPGV, Fathers Jose Bautista, Bien Miguel, Jr., Reynante Tolentino, and Franz Baasis, respectively, and attended by the faithful and migrants Ministry Volunteers from across the Diocese.
In his homily, Bishop Santos gave emphasis to the role of Filipino workers abroad.
The prelate said, “The Philippines is one of the top suppliers of maritime labor in the world… Let us acknowledge the important role and contribution of our seafarers not only locally but also internationally. Without their dedication and sacrifices, the world economy would not advance.”
The bishop also commended the hard work that all Filipinos have been doing, whether they are local migrants or international migrants.
“We were not created by God to just sit around, do nothing, and wait for good luck to fall on our lap. We must use our God-given potential to fulfill our responsibilities. We are called to work not only to provide for our own needs and for our household but also for other people who are in need.”
Following the Eucharistic Celebration, the DACMI launched its first-ever Gawad Lakbay Tipulo para sa Natatanging Marino and Modelong Anak Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) 2023.
According to DACMI, this is their “award- giving body that commends Outstanding OFWs and their families with their exemplary dedication and commitment in their work along with their active involvement in their respective parishes and communities.“
Awards such as Natatanging Marino 2023, Spirituality Award, Modelong Anak OFW, Outstanding OFW, and Modelong OFW Family.
Some awardees who previously worked abroad also shared their experiences during the event. Triumphant and inspiring stories were told, and struggles, including the experiences of repatriated OFWs who victims of illegal recruitment were and how DACMI was able to help them, were also revealed.
Launched Migrant theme song
As the celebration drew to a close, a song for migrant workers titled "Samahan mo kami sa Paglalakbay" was released. Composed by Mark Anthony Cuevas and performed by a Filipino vocalist or composer currently residing in Canada, Mr. Jimi Wawabe, along with Ms. Jaz Aquino, this is a Waswabe Records collaboration.
The song will serve as the official theme song of DACMI for Migrants/OFW and their families, and it will undoubtedly inspire Migrants and Migrant Volunteers not only in the Diocese, but across the nation.
Waswabe Records and composer Cuevas presented DACMI with a certificate of donation and transfer of rights for the song, transferring complete ownership, rights, and royalties to the Diocese of Antipolo Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People.
The 37th World Migrants Sunday celebration in the Antipolo Diocese proved to be a life-affirming occasion for Filipinos in other countries with diminished willpower.
Bishop Santos stated, "When your eyes are fixed on your heavenly reward, you will turn any hint of grumbling into gratitude."
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.