09/27/2010, 00.00
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Jesus too was a migrant, Singapore archbishop says

by Jeremy Lim
Locals and Asian migrants gather to celebrate World Migrants Day. The Church plays an important role in providing services to foreign workers.

Singapore (AsiaNews) – Mgr Nicholas Chia, archbishop of Singapore, celebrated Mass yesterday at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd on World Migrants Day, an event organised by the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant people (ACMI). This is the 11th time, ACMI marks the day.

In mentioning the story of Lazarus and the rich man, he told his audience that today, billionaires inhabit the same world as millions of people living in extreme poverty, and that many of the latter are migrants. He reminded them that Jesus too was a migrant, and that by serving migrants, we fulfil His teachings for, as the Good Book says, “As long as you did it to the least of my brethren, you did it unto me (cf Mt 25:31-45)”.

During the Mass, attended by Singaporeans and foreign workers, prayers were recited in various languages, including those of migrants.

During the offertory, special gifts representing each migrant community were offered. Representatives of each community dressed up in their traditional costumes, adding a touch of colour to the mass.

“It's like a family," said Maria Goretti from Myanmar, describing the friendly atmosphere of different migrant communities coming together to celebrate Mass.

Eva Catalan from the Philippines attended the service for the first time. "It's nice to meet people from different countries," she said. "And it's special because the archbishop celebrated Mass for us."

ACMI is supported by Caritas Singapore, and its mission is to be “a family” for migrants, providing them services like consulting, social assistance, education, and health care as well as food, training courses, legal aid and cultural activities.

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