MANILA, Feb. 12, 2013—Overseas Filipino workers and their families will be remembered in a national celebration as the Catholic Church in the Philippines marks National Migrants Sunday on February 17, the first Sunday of Lent.
Themed “Migrations: Pilgrimage of Faith and Hope”, this year’s 27th National Migrants Sunday will be celebrated in the context of the Church’s worldwide observance of the Year of Faith.
The annual event not only pays tribute to millions of OFWs and their families left behind but also highlights the Church’s effort to help them cope with the effects of labor migration on their lives.
ECMI executive secretary Fr. Edwin Corros, CS, said the continued migrations of Filipinos have greatly affected their social, cultural, political and religious rights, which has become a greater concern for the Church.
“The Church cannot merely address their spiritual needs without also thinking how they are affected by the way the Philippines and their receiving countries are being administered, because the primary reason why they go abroad is simply to find means of livelihood,” he said in a press release.
Aware of the great social costs that come with migration, the CBCP agency assured OFWs and their families of the Church’s continuing support, even as it warns families not to be taken up by the remittances they receive.
“While they are however in this precarious situation, the Church assures them of an accompaniment to hope for the better. The Church wishes to caution them of the other possible disadvantages that come along with migration and not merely focus on the usual material benefits that they are envisioning and hope to achieve.
Organized by CBCP Episcopal Commission on Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI), the national celebration is hosted by the diocese of Balanga in Bataan, with a 7 a.m. Mass to be presided by Bishop Ruperto Santos.
Fr. Edwin Corros will give an inspirational talk while solidarity messages will be given by guests. Simultaneous activities will also be celebrated in different dioceses around the country.
The celebration of National Migrants Sunday also serves as a reminder for OFWs that their situation is a temporary one and should stop when the country could finally provide them better opportunities. (Jandel Posion/CBCPNews)