Dear Migrants,

This year's Migrants' Sunday falls on the year of faith with a theme - Migration: A Pilgrimage of Faith and Hope. Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI stressed the importance of the year of faith in the life of the people on the move.

The Year of Faith is a year of pilgrimage to rediscover, and share with others, the precious gift of faith entrusted to the Church and the personal gift of faith that we have each received from God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. A Journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ. The Holy Father wants us to rediscover a taste for feeding ourselves on the word of God, faithfully handed down by the Church, and on the bread of life, offered as sustenance for his disciples (cf. Jn 6:51). To approach the Year of Faith as a time of purification for the Church and for individuals, a summon to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord. To intensify our reflection of faith, so we acquire a more conscious and vigorous adherence to the Gospel, especially at a time of profound change such as humanity is currently experiencing. To profess our faith in the Risen Lord in our cathedrals and in the churches of the whole world; in our homes and among our families, so that everyone may feel a strong need to know better and to transmit to future generations the faith of all times. The Holy Father wants the Year of Faith to arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess the faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope.

Pope Benedict concludes with a beautiful expression of his hopes for us:
'Intent on gathering the signs of the times in the present of history, faith commits every one of us to become a living sign of the presence of the Risen Lord in the world. What the world is in particular need of today is the credible witness of people enlightened in mind and heart by the word of the Lord, and capable of opening the hearts and minds of many to the desire for God and for true life, life without end' (Porta Fidei, 15).

For the migrants in Taiwan, year of faith is a pilgrimage of constant renewal to their commitment to God, to His Church, and to their families who are the reason of their sacrifices in finding a greener pastures away from home.

The Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People of the Chinese Regional Bishops' Conference (CRBC-ECMI) is now in its 19th year since its inception to the pastoral care program of the CRBC in 1994 and in its 17th year since the first National Migrants' Sunday in 1996. The Migrants have journeyed so long in the rugged terrains of this beautiful island accompanied by our brave and courageous chaplains and missionaries. They have experienced so much pains, frustrations, sadness, joys and successes in life. Their journey maybe likened to the painful journey of Jesus to calvary but in the end the triumph of the human spirit enlightened by faith prevails.

The effort of our courageous migrants' chaplains, volunteers, and associate NGOs in seven dioceses of Taiwan gave impetus to the struggle for the protection of human dignity and rights and for the advancement of a civil society that is open to different cultures, faiths, and traditions.

I would like to acknowledge the effort of MENT (Migrants' Empowerment Network in Taiwan) for their consistency in bringing the plight of the migrant workers, particularly the household service workers, to the attention of the civil authorities for their legal rights and protection in accordance to the ILO Convention concerning decent work for domestic workers or known as C189 - Domestic Workers Convention that was entered into force in September 5, 2013. I am hoping that Taiwan's Legislative Yuan will adhere to ILO-C189 and consider in their legislative agenda the household service act which MENT has been lobbying since 2004 for the protection of the household service workers, foreign and domestic. The enforcement of C189 includes the mandatory regular day-off as stated in Article 7, letter (g) in which oftentimes neglected in local practices. Just recently, on August 20, 2013, the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) 2006 has come into force, meaning all the provisions in MLC 2006 will now be implemented for the protection and welfare of the seafarers and maritime workers as the bill of rights of the seafarers.

Pope Francis during his visit to Lampedusa, the island in Italy that hosts the refugees from Africa, expresses his disappointment on the plight of the immigrants. He expresses his apprehension on the proliferation of indifference which he called "Globalization of Indifference" in his homily. We hope that through our pastoral care of concern for the immigrants, migrant workers, seafarers and the like will start in our locality as we adhere to the universal call for justice, peace, and equality.

Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI)
September 29, 2013