Franciscan Friar Julian Mariaratnam blessing the executive committee members of the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.
“God directed me to serve in this ministry although I had no knowledge or experience of migrants,” said Ms Elizabeth Tan, an Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ACMI) staff of 18 years.
She was speaking to Catholic News on April 8 at Agape Village after the thanksgiving Mass to celebrate 20 years of ACMI’s work and service.
Ms Tan noted that today, more Singaporeans are accepting of migrants and appreciative of their contributions as foreign workers, domestic helpers or foreign students.
“As a result of continued highlighting of the need to treat migrant workers fairly by religious and civil groups, their working and living conditions have improved,” she said.
Franciscan Friar Julian Mariaratnam, in his homily, reminded the congregation that through the risen Lord, Catholics are restored to full life and, as one Church, are called to act with mercy.
Members of the Sri Lankan Catholic community were present during the Mass and offered the hymn “I am a Vine” in Sinhalese during Holy Communion.
There was also a special commissioning for ACMI staff and executive committee members.
In his speech, ACMI chairman Mark Goh said, “Through your [the staff’s] work, you have acted as God’s agent to reach out to 4,835 client cases and 8,834 domestic workers in the training programmes, as well as more than 202,268 foreign workers in the dormitories. Since last year alone, our community building activities have reached out to 1,110 persons.”
He also reminded the team that all these actions and policies “have no meaning if we did not do our work with love.”
Mr Al Dizon, who played the guitar during the Mass, was among the earliest ACMI volunteers. He recalled being among those who helped to start up the training programmes at the Madonna Centre (formerly St Joseph’s Convent) and procured computers for use.