SINGAPORE – The Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ACMI) celebrated its 10th anniversary on Sunday Jun 29. The event was held at its Soup Kitchen and Training Centre grounds at Hillside Drive.
Main celebrant Msgr Eugene Vaz said, "We are so proud of our ACMI who, in their own way, like Jesus Christ, pour out their life for migrant people. They stand up for them and help them attain what’s due to them."
Msgr Vaz also acknowledged that "members of ACMI go through hardships, difficulties and pain" in their ministry and he encouraged them to continue to "stand by and stand for our people, especially those who are weak, poor and marginalized". He also affirmed their efforts with a reminder that "It is in this that the church becomes relevant, true and the church is all of us who found our life in Jesus Christ".
ACMI was commissioned on Jun 15, 1998 by the late Archbishop Gregory Yong and its constitution was endorsed by the Senate of Priests in October 1999. Since then, ACMI has steadily increased their pastoral programmes to include skills training for foreign domestic workers, soup kitchen for construction workers, hospital visitation services for migrants warded in hospitals and counselling and befriending helpdesks.
Since 2002, the commission has been running a crisis shelter for migrants in distress and launched a "Let’s Give Our Maids A Rest Day" campaign to encourage employers to recognize their workers’ right to a day off.
ACMI’s new vision "to be family to the migrants in Singapore" from 2005 led them to collaborate with the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, to give assistance to migrant spouses seeking help, as well as with Good Shepherd Centre to provide temporary shelter to distressed migrants.
The man who started this commission, Archbishop Emeritus Gregory Yong, died the day before the celebrations. -By Joyce Gan