The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMI) will celebrate the 37th National Migrants' Sunday on September 24.
On the occasion of the 109th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development has designated the theme for the event as "Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay."
Bishop Narciso Abellana, the Chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, shared a message on the theme of the celebration through an online video.
He explained that in the current situation in the world, “migration is not free; when one is free, it means it is not forced. However, the majority of cases of migration are forced."
“Migrants flee because of poverty, fear, or desperation", he said, adding that “Desperation begets another face of migration: that of human trafficking, where cultures prey on the desperate needs of their brothers and sisters."
The prelate urged that the church keeps on doing programs that address the needs of the migrants.
The CBCP ECMI “has been extending a helping hand through the Filipino chaplains abroad; we are linking and collaborating with dioceses abroad through our chaplaincies, ” said Bishop Abellana.
The bishop realized that despite the efforts of the CBCP ECMI to dispatch priest chaplains to various parts of the globe, many Filipinos who reside and labor in non-Christian territories have not been accommodated.
The bishop said CBCP is undergoing study as a solution to the issue of creating a preference for migrant workers. Through this, it becomes the work of the government to provide services for the migrants.
The Diocese of Cubao, through its Diocesan Migrants Ministry (DCMM), is one of the dioceses in the Philippines that prepared for the commemoration of National Migrants Sunday.
The DCMM will lead the "2nd MIGRANTS FAMILY SUMMIT" on September 24 from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Nativity of the Lord Parish, Bulwagang Razon, 151 Ermin Garcia Street, Quezon City.
The Cubao Diocese's Bishop Honesto F. Ongtioco will preside over a Eucharistic Celebration following a succession of talks on the program.
According to the diocese's letter, 20–30 Migrant Representatives per parish, including Anak OFW c/o Parish Migrant Coordinators and PPC Lay Coordinators, are required to attend.
The mass will also include a special intention for all migrants in the diocese and the Philippines.
The 37th National Migrants' Sunday also coincides with the celebration of the 28th National Seafarers Day of Stella Maris Philippines. - Leahna Villajos
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