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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

EMI 3rd Annual Conference

Commission members, consultants and observers with Bishop Paul Tan (5th from right)
Kuching : 13 Commission members and 4 appointed consultants (formation, media, advocacy and resource) from 9 arch/dioceses of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei converged at the Priests' Retirement Home sited at the Catholic Church of the Chapel of Mother Mary Stutong, Sarawak on 27th - 29th April. for the 3rd Conference of the Episcopal Commission  for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants (EMI).
The first day of the Conference, Wednesday 27th April 2011 was on presentation of reports  by Joachim Francis Xavier the EMI Chairman (2009 - 2011)  followed by reports from the various Arch/dioceses regarding activities pertaining to migrants and itinerants carried out for 2010.
Rt Rev Paul Tan, Bishop of the Melaka-Johor Diocese, the president of  the Catholic Bishops' Conference for Malaysia-Singapoe-Brunei and also the president of EMI presided over the Opening Mass, con celebrated by Fr Simon Poh of KK Archdiocese, Fr Mitchel Anthony of KL Archdiocese and Fr Benedict Daulis of Keningau Diocese.. 

The prelate reflected on the sufferings of Christ and called on all those involved in migration work to help the migrants, 'the modern slaves' in whatever way possible to alleviate their suffering.

Through such act of compassion, he said, we proclaim the Easter message of God's infinite love for all. The 'modern slaves' are  used also by God to go out to proclaim the same act through His love. Their presence in certain countries has make many Churches become alive. We all share the same mission of God, actively sharing the faith of God to the migrants by proclaiming His love. 'Our suffering makes up for the lack of suffering in Christ for His body, the Church.'
The dialogue session at Kg Ngimoris Community Hall
 With the local parishioners in their soon to complete Chapel
On the second day of the conference, Thursday 28th April more reports were presented by the other dioceses as well as consultants. In the later part of the day, commission members and consultants had the opportunity to learn from the folks of St Anthony's Chapel in Kg Ngiromis, some 20 kilometers from the city about their experiences while working in the Peninsular and Singapore. They also shared about the situation of their children either studying or working there.

In the evening, members were privileged to join the workers of Kim Hin Tiles Factory at the vicinity of the city, to celebrate mass presided over by Fr Simon Poh., rector of St Joseph's Cathedral, Kuching. More than 100 workers, mostly from the rural areas, who had moved to the city to seek employment , attended the celebration.

The third day, Friday 29th April was a session on charting the course of action for the year 2011. It was resolved that all Arch/dioceses focus on the process of concsientizing the faithful through awareness program on the need to respond to migrants.
L-R : Sr Susay rc, Sr Angeline rgs, Stanley, Joachim, Bp Paul Tan, Fr Albert mhm, Francis Tan, Dominic Lim
The following were elected as EMI Executive Committee for the term of 2011 - 2013;
  • President                :  Bishop Paul Tan
  • Chairman               :  Joachim Francis Xavier, Penang Diocese
  • Vice Chairman       :  Dominic Lim, KK Archdiocese
  • Secretary               :  Sr Susay Valdez rc, Singapore Archdiocese
  • Treasurer               :  Sr Angeline Lau rgs, Melaka-Johor Diocese
  • Member                 :  Francis Tan, Sandakan Diocese
  • Member                 :  Fr Albert mhm, Kuching Archdiocese
  • Member                 :  Sudhagaran Stanley, Penang Diocese
  • Co-opted Member :  Helena, Penang Diocese
Consultants L-R : Diana Carol, Cheryl Lee and Patrick Neo far right

Consultants in the following areas were retained for another term of office of 2 years;
  • Consultant (Advocacy) :  Josephine Muriel John, Melaka-Johor Diocese
  • Consultant (Formation) :  Cherly Lee, KL Archdiocese
  • Consultant (Media)       :  Diana Carol, Kuching Archdiocese
  • Consultant (Resource)   :  Patrick Neo, Singapore Archdiocese
As a Church we are concern about the plight of immigrants either international or local. Scripture calls us to care for the strangers and remain sensitive to their desperate plight caught in a world of poverty. 

In winding up the Conference, Bishop Paul Tan reiterated that if we do not respond to the plight of the migrants, people on the move, then the Church has failed in her mission.
Concluding Mass presided by Fr Mitchel Anthony 


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