Studies show that more and more Filipinos are joining the migration force. Our country is among the largest migrant countries of origin in the world, and acclaimed by the leaders as a strong force towards sustaining economic development through the input of foreign currency. But migration has also affected the state of the Filipino family and torn Filipino seafarers and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from their families. Apart from financial incentives, Filipinos migrate for their desire to live abroad, enjoy the comforts of a more developed culture, have a brighter future, and other reasons.
Nonetheless our migrants, particularly domestic workers, remain vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, including contract violations, sexual harassment, inhumane conditions, notwithstanding the psycho-spiritual trauma felt in loneliness, poor or no communication, and forms of family conflicts and brokenness. Thus the rise of the migrant apostolate that caters to the plight and safety of our migrant workers, while also attending to the migrants’ families in the country, as well as incoming migrants from other cultures.
Noteworthy, however, is the missionary spirit promoted by many lay Catholics who give time to participate and help in the building up of the ecclesial communities they belong to. The faith they probably practiced on an ordinary routine level back home is now challenged for them to shine as models in quiet, humble ways as gratitude and service to the God who granted them the opportunity to find a more promising employment in a foreign land. This becomes a way of ‘evangelizing’ by example and discovering God’s rewarding graces through fraternal charity and apostolic sharing. Our father in faith Abraham journeyed to a foreign land in obedience to God, a stranger not knowing what would happen. He endured many trials but found his strength in God. (cf. Heb 11:8-9) We pray for our migrants that as they go through storms in life, they be strong in carrying the light of Christ, opening the doors of multi-cultures to the God of love: “Let Christ enter, the King of Glory!” (Ps 24:0).