Bishop leading migration ministry visits OFWs in Jordan, Lebanon

Bishop leading migration ministry visits OFWs in Jordan, Lebanon

Filipino Catholics sing during Mass at St. Joseph Church in Beirut, Lebanon, Dec. 7, 2014. The Philippine government said there are about 30, 000 Filipinos working in Lebanon. DALIA KHAMISSY/CNS

By Roy Lagarde

August 9, 2019

Manila, Philippines

The head of the bishops’ Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People has embarked on a pastoral visit to Filipino chaplaincies in the Middle East.

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga left Manila on Aug. 7 to meet with Filipino workers in Jordan, his first destination.

Accompanied by Scalabrinian Fr. Restituto Ogsimer, his secretary in the ministry, they will stay in the majority Muslim country until Aug. 13.

“We desire to let them feel that our Church is with them, walking with them and working for their welfare and wellbeing,” Santos said.

The Filipino chaplaincy in Amman was established in 2016 with Fr. Gerald Metal of the Antipolo diocese as its first Filipino chaplain.

About 26,000 to 28,000 Filipinos are living and working in Jordan, according to the Philippine embassy in Amman.

Christians in the country are a very small minority with only about two percent of the overall population.

Bishop Santos is also expected to meet with officials of the Latin Patriarchate of Jordan and the Philippine embassy in the area.

“We would like to express our partnership and collaboration for the promotion and protection of our OFWs,” he said.

From Amman, Bishop Santos will travel to Lebanon where there are approximately 30,000 Filipinos, most of whom are women working as domestic helpers.

The prelate is also expected to hold masses and meet with OFWs and Philippine embassy officials in Beirut, where he will stay until Aug. 20.

Although Islam has a strong presence in Lebanon, a country of about 5 million, Christians are free to practice their faith. CBCPNEWS