Ushering in the New Year with our Migrant Brothers

  • Feb 06, 2022

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us. We love, because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:11-12, 19)

Fun and games galore! Photo: ACMI

The team at the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ACMI) collaborated with parishioners of the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour (OLPS) to spend a joyful and meaningful New Year’s Day with about 750 migrant brothers from the dormitories at Tuas South Recreation Centre.

This event was inspired by OLPS’ Growing with Mary project for their 60th anniversary last year where parishioners were invited to reveal a portrait of Our Lady through faith actions, one of which was the Preferential Option for the Poor.

Thoughtful preparation, joyful celebration

In preparation for the outreach event, 50 OLPS parishioners spent three evenings packing toiletry bags containing daily necessities like facial and body wash, toothbrushes and toothpaste. ACMI and OLPS also organised two separate preparatory sessions for the volunteers who had to split into two groups in view of the Safe Management Measures. Following a spiritual formation session by Cenacle Sister Mel Benedictos, ACMI’s Formation Coordinator, volunteers were briefed on what they could expect and their roles on the event day by Veronica Wong, Chairperson of the OLPS 60th Anniversary Celebration and the Migrant Outreach Project.

On the day of the event on Jan 1, 2022, over 90 parishioners from OLPS welcomed their migrant brothers as they arrived at the dormitories, giving out the toiletry sets and facilitating various carnival games, bingo and a lucky draw. All these were a hit, especially as the emcee, Poobalan Morgan, was able to engage with the audience, speaking and performing songs in Bengali and Tamil. The volunteers also distributed briyani bento sets at lunch time.

It was indeed heartwarming to see their joy. Murugavel Sivaraman and Ramasamy Saravana Kumar echoed each other saying, “I am happy, and all of us migrant workers here are very happy to celebrate at this festival together. Thank you, ACMI and OLPS!”

Our migrant brothers participated actively and enthusiastically. Photo: OLPS

All children of God

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted our migrant brothers in so many ways, and we thank them for their hard work. We hope that this brought them some joy ushering in the new year, especially since they have been away from their country and families for a long time.

As OLPS parish priest Father Kenny Tan said, “Migrant workers count as they are also sons and daughters of God’s Kingdom too. Moreover, they have contributed much to the well-being of Singapore and her people.”

Clarissa Sim, an OLPS parishioner, said, “I have been blessed to be able to share this experience. Hope to be able to have more of such outreach events in the future!”

Indeed, Jacob Soo, ACMI’s Executive Director, shared, “We need to come together and stand in solidarity with our migrant brothers and sisters. We hope to have more of these initiatives and look forward to working with more parishes, Catholic organisations and communities keen to support the migrants’ cause.”

Published on Catholic News on Feb 6, 2022.