LABUAN – The 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees or known as Migrant Sunday was locally observed on 23rd Sept 2018 by Blessed Sacrament parish here as an opportunity to deepen the harmonious integration of migrants existing in the parish.
The celebration began with Mass presided by Msgr Primus Jouil, followed by fellowship at the Multi Purpose Hall.
Some 500 migrant parishioners from the various migrant communities (Indonesian, Filipino, KadazanDusun, Chinese, Indian) and other ethnic groups from Sabah and Sarawak participated in the celebration.
The parishioners, led by Msgr Primus and the new Labuan Parish Pastoral Council (LPPC) line-up, proceeded to the hall, accompanied by a bevy of Indonesian traditional dancers.
Referring to Pope Francis’ message for the occasion, entitled “Welcoming, Protecting, Promoting, and Integrating Migrants and Refugees”, Msgr Primus reminded all of their responsibility towards caring for one another, especially the strangers in our midst.
Migrants are to be welcomed as part of our community, in the Church, or at place of work. They face many challenges such as being away from their homeland, their families and relatives, as well as having to face legal requirements of the country where they are in. He reminded that our concern is to be manifested by our “welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating” them into our community.
Organizing chairman Danny Ligunjang, who is also the coordinator of the Labuan Parish Human Development Committee, stressed on the equality of every human being and reminded that all of us are ourselves migrants in this world, while PPC chairperson Jocelyn Yeo took the opportunity to call on all to ponder on “How we are to integrate with one another”.
There was the usual ceremonious cake cutting by the parish priest, who was surrounded by children of the parish, followed by lunch. The celebration was enlivened by dance performances, personal sharing and testimonies from several representatives of the various communities and ethnic groups, and lucky draw. – Julita Kantod