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EMI president calls on members to remain faithful to their migrant ministry

tanYear in year out migrants have thronged our shores for search of a better life. Year in year out various interest groups, including the EMI have taken in cognizance and documented the numerous problems and challenges that the migrant community have faced in the course of finding that better life in our countries. Yet, the issues that plague and oppress the migrant community remain and persist. It would be understandable if proponents of migrant rights feel a sense of frustration in dealing with these issues. Maybe even a sense of failure.

I am reminded of the words of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Theresa) – “We are not called to be successful. We are called to be faithful”. We would do well in taking heed of these words which reminds us that even as the world judges all our efforts in terms of how much ‘success’ we have chalked up, God only requires us to be persistent in carrying out His will including reaching out to migrants and their families in their time of need and desolation.

No doubt the year has been a challenging one for the Catholic Church, particularly so in Malaysia. The “Allah” issue has been blown into a national unity and security issue. The issue although primarily a Malaysian one, has a profound impact on both Malaysian and non-Malaysians, particularly Indonesian migrants who practice the Christian faith in Malaysian churches during the course of their employment.  Needless to say, the ban on the issue of the word “Allah” impeaches on the freedom of Malaysians and Indonesians to freely practice their faith.

In the face of these challenges, EMI has much to do. I would like to affirm the good works that is being done in all the churches across our three countries. May you continue to organize programs and activities that are beneficial to the migrants living in your area. Let us contribute in whatever little way we can to make this world a better place to live in.  I hope that the EMI has been able to provide you with some assistance in organizing the Migrant Sunday event at your parish.

I would also like to thank the migrant ministry volunteers for their hard work and commitment and exhort you to stay faithful to the mission that has been entrusted to you. Seek the Holy Spirit and may He guide you, strengthen you and defend you.


Bishop Paul Tan Chee Ing, SJ


Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants (EMI)

Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore Brunei

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