Kota Kinabalu (Agenzia Fides) - "Given the needs of the territory, we hope that the pastoral care of migrants and itinerant people within the Archdiocese will be intensified and better organized": It is in these terms that His Exc. Bishop John Wong, Archbishop of Kota Kinabalu established a special "Archdiocesan Commission for migrants and itinerant people" (ACMI). As reported to Agenzia Fides, the new team of 14 members of the Archdiocesan Commission met with the Archbishop in recent days to officially establish the body and action plan. "Pastoral care for migrants has always been a priority within the local Church and has been one of the main objectives of the Archdiocesan Commission for Human Development in the last 10 years", said Mgr. Wong, thanking those present for their willingness to serve the Church and hoping that the previous experiences of the members in this area of pastoral service can be put to good use.
According to the Commission, "in each parish of the Archdiocese a specific "help desk" will be opened for migrants, which will be a listening center to meet them and respond to their pastoral, material and spiritual needs", said Father Ambrose. Spiritual Advisor of the Commission.
According to Catholic layman Dominic Lim, who will lead the Commission, "migrants need pastoral and spiritual guidance to face the challenges of life in the midst of the pandemic as their work and mental well-being are strongly affected. Our Commission wants to travel with migrants and be by their side in a a supportive and empathetic manner", he added.
"Migrants have to face many challenges such as being far from their homeland, their families and relatives. Some face the difficult process of legal recognition in the country they are in. It is the Church's job to welcome them, protect them, promote them and integrate them within the Christian community", said Lim.
ACMI, as part of its pastoral action strategy will focus on the four key words introduced by Pope Francis in his message of the 2018 World Migrants Day: "Welcome, promote, protect and integrate". "These will be the lines of thought and action for the work of ACMI and the parish ministry in favor of migrants", said Lim.
ACMI, through the parish ministry, aims to provide a widespread service, to assist the local communities in the various districts and to follow and accompany the life of migrants, at all levels. One of the objectives is to promote the harmonious integration of migrants into the life of parish communities. "It is the church's responsibility to take care of one another, in particolar of foreigners present in local parishes", it points out.
Most of the migrants present in Kota Kinabalu are made up of Indonesians, Filipinos, Chinese, Indians and other ethnic groups from the Sabah and Sarawak regions of Malaysia.
The Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu is located in the state of Sabah, Malaysia, on the island of Borneo and has 19 parishes, characterized by a multi-ethnic population. (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 15/12/2020)