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2019.02.05 07:02

5001(I)_Welcome to Taiwan!

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Migrant ministry in Taiwan - Filipino Salesian experience sharing

By Fr. Peter E. Porio, SDB
FIS missionary in Taiwan

Tainan, Taiwan, 4 February 2019 -- On the occasion of New Lunar Year of the Golden Pig, I would like to share with you the need for missionaries for Filipino migrants in Taiwan (R.O.C). Here are some facts and some personal experiences that might wake up some Salesians to volunteer for the next 5-10 years for this beautiful mission!

What is the general situation of the Catholic community in Taiwan?

There are 298,000 Taiwanese Catholics among the 23 million local population. That means only 1.3% are Catholics. There are 7 dioceses in Taiwan. This is the real characteristic of Taiwan Catholics:

  1. All 7 Bishops are Taiwanese,
  2. A good number of the priests are Vietnamese,
  3. The majority of the faithful are Filipinos.

As of 2018, there are 154,306 migrant Filipino workers in Taiwan who are predominantly Catholics. So, they need many missionaries to take care of them. There are some Filipino missionaries dedicated to taking care of the migrants but very few, who are scattered in different places in Taiwan. In Tainan diocese, there are 30,000 Filipinos. I am the ONLY FILIPINO PRIEST assigned here in Tainan, to take care of the human and spiritual needs of the Filipino migrants.

Don Bosco community in Tainan and Migrants?

The Salesian community in Tainan looks after the mission - care of the migrants coming to the parish of Mary Help of Christians in Tainan. Since the majority of church-goers are Filipinos, the Salesian community needs a Filipino priest for them.

In 2009, the Salesian community in Tainan requested FIN and FIS Provinces, through Fr Andrew Wong, former Regional Councillor for the EAO Region, to send a Filipino priest to Tainan and I was sent for this mission.

Don Bosco and MHC Parish in Tainan with Migrants?

In MHC Parish, there are about 400 faithful at the Sunday Eucharist. Many volunteers organize the liturgical services and some help organize sports and cultural activities for the Filipino migrants. Some form religious organizations such as: Legion of Mary and El Shaddai Prayer Group.

Don Bosco Oratory in Tainan?

Every year, the Pinoy Pastoral Community organizes the Pinoy Basketball League, to give the Filipino migrants a wholesome and meaningful sports activity. Before every game, a short catechism is given to the players. Usually we gather 25 teams, with 20 players of each team. We have more than 500 people for this league. We organize the league's officials. I train the Basketball referees and table officials. We are finishing the 2018, 15th season of the basketball league.

Migrants Within Tainan Diocese?

As the only Filipino priest in Tainan, I organize and coordinate the spiritual and human activities of the Filipino migrants in the diocese. Every Saturday and Sunday we celebrate Masses in 7 parishes and 10 dormitories. On weekdays, we facilitate other migrants activities such as: Bible-sharing, recollection, retreats, rosary rallies, etc.

We also form and facilitate Religious organizations in different Filipino communities, for example;

  1. Legion of Mary (LoM) and El Shaddai in Mary Help of Christians Parish.
  2. Children of Mary (COM) and Vincentian Youth Movement in St. Joseph Parish
  3. Children of Mary in 3 Manstrong dormitories.
  4. Mary Mother of God (MMoG) in 3 Champion dormitories.

"The harvest is plenty, but the labourers few?"

In 2016, Bishop of Tainan, Bosco Lin (Salesian Cooperator) and ECMI Migrants Chairman, appointed me as the Diocesan Migrants Coordinator. My tasks are:

  • to coordinate all the activities and affairs of all migrants in the diocese of Tainan. Most visible of them all are the Vietnamese, Indonesians, Filipinos, Thais and other nationalities.
  • to organize the migrants' community leaders, who are the facilitators of the activities in their respective migrant communities.
  • to animate the migrants' community leaders, who are the animators of their respective communities.
  • to coordinate all the spiritual, cultural, sports, educational and other activities.
  • to facilitate or provide priests to celebrate English Masses for the migrants in the 7 parishes and 10 dormitories, every Saturday and Sunday and holy days of obligation.
  • to organize the celebration of Tainan Migrants Day, every 4th Sunday of September, or the Sunday nearest to September 28, the feast day of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, the Patron of Migrants.
  • to organize fellowship and bonding activities among the migrants.

As OFW (Oversea Filipino Workers) Chaplain?

  • Need to facilitate or provide priests to celebrate the English masses for the Filipinos in the 7 parishes and 10 dormitories. on Saturdays, Sundays and holy days of obligation.
  • Need to hear the confessions of migrant Filipinos, who prefer to confess in English or Tagalog.
  • Need to organize faith-formation activities, such as basic catechism on the catholic faith, bible-study, bible-sharing, liturgical formation, pre-baptismal seminars, pre-cana seminars, etc.
  • Need to provide opportunities for spiritual direction and counseling for the migrants.

Happy New Lunar Year!

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