Members of the Tamil-speaking and Mandarin-speaking communities pose for a photo with Archbishop William Goh during the Oct 1 celebration.

The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd was filled beyond capacity on Oct 1 when members of the various Catholic migrant communities gathered to celebrate Migrant Sunday.

The event was organised by the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
(ACMI).

In his homily, Archbishop William Goh noted that Singapore would not be what it is today without migrants because the majority of locals have forefathers who were migrants.

He also cited Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees where he affirmed the Church’s response to migrants in four principles: “to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate”.

Archbishop Goh explained that to welcome migrants, the local community needs to recognise their dignity and value.

It is important that women and children in particular are not exploited and the best way to ensure this is to provide proper training and education for them, he said.

To protect them means to give them their rights and dignity, while to promote or empower them is to give them the skills and formation “so that they can contribute to the community,” Archbishop Goh added.

Commenting on the last principle, he said, “they [migrants] must be integrated into the host country to avoid the danger of them being isolated and building an enclave, because this can lead to fear and be threatening to the host country.”

He reminded participants that in building a united community, the challenge today is also for migrants to reach out to the locals.

Members of the Myanmar Catholic community at the Mass.

ACMI chairman Mark Goh echoed the call for “greater integration and immersion among the different cultures and races” and reiterated the commission’s commitment to work to build the community of faith as one Church.

Mr Daisuke Watanabe, 46, and his wife Josephine, 43, shared that as a Japanese Catholic family in Singapore, they have been embraced as part of the community at the Church of St Ignatius.

Although there are no Japanese priests or Masses here, they shared that the priests in their parish always keep them informed if there is a visiting priest from Japan so that he can minster to the Japanese Catholic community.

Submitted by: ACMI

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