PAPAR – Some of the Papar and Limbahau delegates to the recent AMOS-3 conference shared on how the conference has broadened their minds on the migrant ministry.
Present at the 21-23 Sept 2017 conference in Sandakan were five delegates from Papar and six from Limbahau.
Papar has a significant population of migrant parishioners mainly from Indonesia and some from the Philippines.
William Charles Mindus spoke about the importance of eradicating negative perception towards migrants.
He lamented that because the migrants are being perceived as a threat, they are, in many instances, being alienated in pastoral activities.
“We need to soften our hearts and open the eyes of our heart to imitate Jesus Christ in His humility and mercy towards the poor and marginalised,” said Mindus.
Recalling that Mary, Joseph and Jesus were once migrants in the land of the Gentiles, and so did the early missionaries in foreign land, “we need to remind ourselves of the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church on how to treat others fairly and justly, especially migrants irrespective of their racial and religious backgrounds,” he added.
Mindus also reminded lay and church leaders to foster solidarity and inclusiveness in all aspects of the Church ministries: choir, youth, warden, women’s league, BECs (KKD), etc instead of reserving the migrant brothers and sisters to serve only during Migrant Sunday or on special occasions.
Mary Jimit shared that prior to AMOS-3 she was somewhat blurred on what AMOS is all about, and even unsure of her role in the PHDC.
AMOS-3 helped her to realise God’s calling and enable her to grasp the objective and the vast scope of migrant ministry. She opined that the conference had instilled an awareness within her to touch others through the migrant ministry, and so to begin to ‘walk the talk’ the social teaching of the Church.
She hoped to serve in the PHDC more from an understanding of it as Christ’s mission, not only in the migrant ministry, but also in other pastoral ministries as well.
Imelda Hayon reckoned that AMOS is part of her personal struggle as a Catholic serving in St Joseph Church.
She expressed her hope that the ministry members would serve in unity and share with others what they have learnt and experienced during the conference.
Sylvester Joseph commented that this conference was his second exposure, and shared that AMOS has created awareness in him in the migrant ministry, and to accept the migrant brothers and sisters as part of the church community.
He hoped that both parishes could always collaborate and contribute toward unity in migrant ministry and PHDC-related activities.
Though Limbahau parish rarely sees a high influx of migrant parishioners compared to Papar parish, he still envisioned the need to develop the migrant ministry by involving the migrant members in various pastoral activities such as rosary prayers and the BECs. – SOCCOM Papar-Limbahau