Report of the International Migrants Day Gathering

The Commission for the Migrants in the Archdiocese of Bangalore organized the annual International Migrants Day gathering at Good Shepherd auditorium (Sisters of the Good shepherd), Bangalore on 14thJanuary, 2018.

Around 700 participants comprising of North East, African, Adivasi community from Jharkhand, Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, people from Orissa,  Hindi speaking communities from different states and other ethnic groups along with the fathers and sisters who are caring in various ministries for the migrants gathered for the programme. Most of them came for the programme in their traditional attires and showcased their cultural items. Fr. Edward Thomas SDB, the Joint Secretary of the commission welcomed everyone and expressed his gratitude for the response of the participants for making the day a memorable one.

The day began with “Praise and worship” led by the SRM (Spiritual Revival Ministry) and Brothers of Betharram fathers and friends from African continent. The groups let the audience into a prayerful mood through their prayers and devotional hymns. During the praise and worship, participants were given time for Sacrament of reconciliation, Spiritual direction, etc…Rev. Sr. Theresa Meera RGS, the provincial superior of the Good Shepherd congregation addressed everyone and  gave a message in which she stressed about oneness of the Migrants community living in and around Bangalore and their various contribution to our local church and society.

The Eucharistic celebration was celebrated by Msgr. S. Jayanathan, the vicar general of the archdiocese of Bangalore, along with 9 con-celebrants who are involved in various ministries of the migrant community in Bangalore and helping as spiritual directors for various migrant communities. During his sermon, Msgr. S. Jayanathanin  said, “we welcome every migrant person in this archdiocese without any reservation and offer them our service” .  The eucharistic  celebration was enhanced with traditonal hymns by the different communites from Hindi speaking, African nationals and Nepali communities.

Archbishop Bernard Moras welcomed and assured support to every migrant community and individual who is in the archdiocese of Bangalore. He expressed his wholehearted support towards every concern of the migrants in the archdiocese and encouraged everyone to come out of their fear and live happily   He said, “We are called as shepherds of the new flock and I assure you all assistance to make your lives meaningful”.  He asked the participants to raise their views and concerns of the ministry of the archdiocese towards the migrants in the archdiocese, and a few of them shared their life situation during the time of interaction. Mr. Sanjay Khalkho, hails from Jharkhand, working as a faculty trainer in presidency college of Hotel Management said, “I feel at home and enjoy being with gathering of migrants. The commission make great effort to bring us together and support us various ways”.  Dr. Rini Ralte, the Co-ordinator for the help desk of the North-Eastern communities in Bangalore interacted with   the participants.  She shared various inputs from her work experience for a better stay in places like Bangalore and other metropolitan cities.

The afternoon was devoted to various cultural programme in which different communities showcase their traditional attire in the form of songs and dances.  The BCCM (Bangalore Christian Community of Meghalaya), the NECCB (North East Catholic Community of Bangalore), the Nepali Christian community of Bangalore, the garment workers from Garo hills, members of the Chota Nagpur and Adivasi Community from Jharkhand added more enthusiasm and colour with their traditional singing and cultural events.   Fr. Joy SDB, who works among the migrants in Kerala, shared his joy of being with the migrant community in Bangalore today. He said, “the caring for migrants and the programmes like this is a like an open wide the door for Christ in today’s challenging world”. Fr. Solomon Thezii, a priest from the diocese of Imphal said, “I feel happy that the archdiocese welcome everyone without any reservation and accept them in their midst”.

Fr. Shaju Kalappurakkal SCJ, executive secretary for the commission for the migrants in the archdiocese of Bangalore expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the people saying “My heart is with the migrant people and I was very happy that everyone turns up with my expectation for the programme, and it is you who make the gathering successful. One of the participant, Miss Jacinta Khozawl, who hails from Haflong Parish, Diocese of Diphu, remarked , “ the gathering was a sign of unity among people of migrants in Bengaluru and our dream has come true”. Fr. Martin Puthussery SJ, the general secretary expressed his gratitude and said that we are blessed with a blessed group of people who come from different cultures and enrich us to go more social and global in our understanding. The archdiocese of Bangalore formed the commission for the migrants in October 2015 and CRI unit of Bangalore has taken a great initiative to work out the various ministry for the migrants along with the pastoral care .  Soon after its formation, the commission have been organizing various programmes for the migrant communities in the archdiocese of Bangalore.