“When I first stepped into The Angelic Inn, my heart felt something...Even though I did not see where God is, I saw the love of God manifested within the brothers and sisters.”
This was shared by Mr Guo Yong Jun, a construction worker from Hebei, during a Mid-Autumn Festival celebration at the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Sept 15. Approximately 160 people comprising Chinese migrants and some locals attended the celebration.
Speaking about the Angelic Inn, a monthly ministry outreach to the migrant workers at Church of St Mary of the Angels (SMOTA), Mr Guo said its volunteers have been caring towards migrants’, including providing food, teaching them English and bringing them from the dormitories to the church.
“During these two years, I have come to experience God’s great love,” Mr Guo said.
The Mid-Autumn Festival celebration was organised by the Commission for Apostolate of Mandarin-speaking Catholics in Singapore’s (CAMS) evangelisation team, who have also organised other outreaches such as a Christmas celebration last year.
The migrant workers who attended the event were from various parishes, including the host church, SMOTA, and Church of the Holy Trinity. A Chinese Catholic group from the Church of St Michael was also present to lend a helping hand and to participate.
According to Fr Henry Siew, CAMS’ spiritual director, migrants especially miss their families and loved ones on an occasion like this. He said, “This gathering provides an occasion when love and care are expressed, and the warmth of a family can be experienced.”
The evening’s highlights included dinner and entertainment – karaoke, a solo traditional dance performance, as well as a singing competition. A group of Chinese migrant workers from The Angelic Inn also performed three songs.
Fr Siew and Fr Zhang Wei, a Chinese priest, also spoke at the celebrations.
In his short speech, Fr Zhang spoke about the Mid-Autumn Festival in relation to the Catholic faith. He said that the significance of the festival is that of “coming together” and “reunion”.
Participants also received a goodie bag with snacks, a bath towel, toothbrush and toothpaste. Prayer cards with the contact information of some of the lay volunteers serving migrant Chinese workers were also distributed.
The migrant workers that CatholicNews spoke to said they were happy that such an event had been organised for them.
A non-Catholic Chinese migrant worker, Mr Meng, told CatholicNews it is his first time attending a function in a church, and he described his experience as “heart-warming”. A Catholic migrant worker, Mr Chen, said that the faith formation activities in Singapore, such as Bible study and talks, contain much depth.
Having a faith helps the migrants cope with their lives and work, Mr Chen added.
Mr Yue Cai Long, who has been coming to church for activities, said he feels that the church has done quite a bit for the migrants such as organising activities and teaching them English.
Fr Siew said, “Many migrants are touched and moved by the service and care of local Catholics, and through these opportunities of contact and interaction, some will later take on another step of wanting to know the Gospel of Christ and the Catholic faith.”
By Darren Boon