Some 500 migrant workers and students attended the launch of Migration Week on Jan. 7 at Don Bosco Youth Center in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Do Manh Hung of Ho Chi Minh City, the head of the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, said the local church has a duty to receive, protect and integrate migrants into the local church and improve their lives.
According to Bishop Hung the city is home to 300,000 Catholic migrants. During Migration Week, the migrants are guided to look after their health, deal with family problems and conflicts at boarding houses, save money and seek jobs.
In Vietnam as part of pastoral activity, the commission offers migrants online information on Mass schedules at churches, and addresses of hospitals, schools, boarding houses, and job centers. Migrants are also given legal advice. They are given rights to join parishes, attend catechism courses, hold their marriage celebrations and funerals at churches, and take part in church activities.
The theme of this year’s ‘World Day of Peace’ which is celebrated on January 1 was, “Migrants and Refugees: Men and Women in search of Peace.” Pope Francis in his message for this day appealed on their behalf to the international community not to extinguish their hopes and stifle their expectations for peace. He has urged that during the new year, all work with “generosity to create a more supportive and welcoming world.” (UCAN)