A Chinese migrant looks at a mini Christmas tree he received and decorated during a Christmas party held by the Church of St Mary of the Angels.
The Church of St Mary of the Angels has launched a ministry called The Angelic Inn to reach out to Chinese migrants.
The parish began the ministry on Dec 11 with a Christmas party attended by about 70 migrant workers. Organisers chartered a bus to ferry some of them from their dormitories in the Jurong Road and Jurong West areas to the church, while others made their own way to the venue.
Canossian Sr Josephine Ng, parish pastoral worker for the Mandarin-speaking community, shared with the guests the meaning of Christmas for Christians – the gift of Christ to the world.
The workers received gifts such as a mini Christmas tree as well as decorations to adorn their own trees. They also received three booklets on how to cope with life’s challenges printed by Commission for Apostolate of Mandarin-speaking in Singapore (CAMS).
The day’s activities also included carolling by the parish’s Mandarin-speaking choir.
Sr Josephine told CatholicNews that the parish’s Mandarin-speaking community wants to reach out to migrant workers, students and new immigrants from China “to show our care and concern, [to] befriend them, and make them feel accepted in our society and ... part of our community in God’s big family”.
As such, the The Angelic Inn ministry would be organising monthly gatherings for migrants.
The ministry hopes to help them meet fellow countrymen and exchange news from their home towns. It also aims to offer them a place where they can be “recharged and have the courage to face the challenges that each day brings”, said Sr Josephine.
There are plans to offer lessons in English, music, and art and craft.
Community bonding activities such as sing-along sessions, video viewing, and reading are also being planned. Through these activities, it is hoped that “some will get to encounter the presence of God”, said Sr Josephine.
Meanwhile she described the Dec 11 event as fun-filled and noted that the guests appeared to look forward to the next gathering on Jan 8.
The nun is also appealing to members of the Church community to help in conducting lessons in basic English, art or music; to help with the logistics of the gatherings; or simply assisting at gatherings.
“Generous hearts and hands are needed in all areas. We invite you to come and be the witnesses of Christ and be a friend to our brothers and sisters,” she aid.
Other parishes that have ministries for Chinese migrants include Church of St Michael and Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Mandarin Masses at 8pm on the first Sunday of the month and on the third Sunday of the month are available at Church of Sts Peter and Paul and Church of St Vincent de Paul respectively.
By Darren Boon