By Julita SOCCOM Tawau
Tawau : The Holy Trinity Parish, Tawau located at the far south-east coast of
Sabah has an estimated 13,000 Catholics both locals and migrants. The 2010 statistic
saw the district of Tawau having a population of 412,375 of
which 171,409 are said to be migrant workers and family members, mostly from Indonesia and the . Philippines
The bulk of migrants in the Parish are the Filipinos and Indonesians, both actively contributing and serving in church ministry or groups and are involved in the BECs. The Filipinos are mostly construction workers while the Indonesians are employed in the plantation and agricultural sectors. .
Mgsr Nicholas Ong presided over the Eucharistic celebration, the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time at Holy Trinity Church, at the same time celebrating the World Day of Migrants and Refugees on Sunday, 30th September 2012. The Parish Integral Human Development Ministry presented a video clip on issues concerning migrants. A few points for all to give a thought about migrants;
1. Fact that they help to improve our lives
2. Do we ever spent time to listen to their story of migration?
3. Do we help them to find God in our midst?
4. Do we appreciate them?
The theme for World Day of Migrants and Refugees ~ 'Migrations and The New Evangelization.' Reflecting on the Gospel reading taken from Mark 9: 38- 43,47- 48, Msgr Nicholas reminded parishioners to live wisely, following Christ examples especially in extending hospitality to others.
Msgr Nicholas continue to say, 'We must work with one another, care for each other, not to compete but to complement, not to be exclusive but to be inclusive. Everything we do, we do it for one reason , all for Christ.'
He said, 'Parishioners of Holy Trinity consist of many races and cultures including the migrants and as God loving people we all must live in community, in harmony and peace without distinction.'
Msgr. Nicholas announced that Holy Trinity has responded to the call to reach out to the poor and marginalized by setting up a school for children of migrant workers. Currently there are 290 children from different faiths enrolled in the school.
|Jeff Fernandez, a Filipino serves as an EMC|
Bishop Julius' message on Migrant Sunday calling the faithful that our spirit of hospitality and welcome should align us to Hebrew 13, 'Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers for by doing so, some have entertained angels without knowing it' was read out and distributed to all parishioners.
|L-R : Gabriel Nunang, Chairman of IPC and daughter|
|Naomi, an Indonesian, committed with the Youth Apostolate|
|We blend well, an Indonesian and a Kadazan serving the Lord|
For Holy Trinity Parish as well other parishes, the essential role of the migrants in the Church Mission cannot be denied. They have been there since before and still serving in many ways to be closer to God and most of all, as instruments to spread the Good News among members of their community.
INTERVIEW WITH SOME OF THE MIGRANTS:
Petrus Boki aged 74 years, from Indonesia came to Sabah in 1958, some 54 years ago. 'Life was tough back home. Together with my wife, we made the decision to migrate to Sabah, the then British North Borneo. I worked as a rubber planter in Abaca Company. We had a moderate income and life was stable. We were contended with what we had so we stayed on.' He admitted that the local parishioners are very welcoming and hospitable. He felt very much at home. He is actively involved as a warden in the BM Mass.
Ceasar Bilones 76 years, a Filipino arrived Tawau in 1950 from the Philippines. He worked as a Chief Clerk in one of the cocoa company in Tawau. He found that members of the various church groups interacted very well in Holy Trinity. He has nine grandchildren and one of his daughters is married to a Kadazan.
Bernando 75 years, from the Philippines came to Sabah in 1960. Work was aplenty then. He worked in Sandakan as a tractor operator and moved to Tawau in 1964. He is married to an Indonesian Chinese, the current Chairlady of the Catholic Women's Apostolate of HTC. He is always seen assisting his wife to help out with the CWA food sales every Sunday.
Julie Kho now 61 years, from the Philippines arrived Tawau with her brother in 1973 in search of jobs. She has been staying in Tawau for the last 39 years. After getting married in 1975, she has been actively involved in the Church. She is a member of the Catholic Women's Apostolate and the Legion of Mary. She is active in her BEC and is reaching out to members of the Filipino community. She shared, 'The community in Holy Trinity is very friendly, accepting us as members of the large family. We blend well with all other members of the Church.'
|L-R : Maria Missa, Alice and Florentina|
Maria Missa, Alice and Florentina, came to Tawau following their husbands. They have been with the Indonesian Pastoral Community ever since. All three have been faithful servants of God. They can be seen each Sunday doing the collection as wardens. They are active members of their respective BEC.