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Vatican official cites OFWs’ contributions to world evangelization

Vatican official cites OFWs’ contributions to world evangelization

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, with Bishop Stephen Lee Bun Sang of Macau in the diocese’s Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady. PHOTO COURTESY OF IVAN LEONG/O CLARIM

By Roy Lagarde

March 8, 2019

Manila, Philippines

A Vatican official has recognized the strategic role the overseas Filipino workers play in the work of evangelization.

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, said OFWs are missionaries of their faith among the peoples they live and work with.

“Filipinos know how to evangelize in a very wonderful way, not only here but everywhere in the world,” Filoni told O Clarim, a Church publication in Macau. 

With an estimated 10 million Filipinos working abroad, he said that “they bring their witnesses everywhere”.

“This is wonderful! It means no borders: fraternity,” said Filoni, who previously served as Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines.

More than considering OFWs as migrant workers, he explained that they can also share “the treasure of their experience, of faith, of love”.

“And I’m sure the local church will take advantage also for the testimony or the witness they can do for their faith. They can bring love, they can bring joy, and also enrich the local church,” he added.

The cardinal’s statement comes as the Philippine Catholic Church will mark the annual National Migrants’ Sunday on March 10.

Government data showed around 219,000 Filipinos are working in Hong Kong and about 30,000 are in the neighbouring Macau.

Filoni was in the former Portuguese enclave, now a special administrative region of China, this week as part of his pastoral visit.

For two days, on March 3 and 4, he presided over a Mass at the Macau cathedral attended by local Catholics and a number of OFWs.

He also took part in a meeting with local priests, the religious and seminarians of the diocese and visited the University of St. Joseph.