The migration arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) hopes that the proposed establishment of a personal prelature for Filipino migrants will come to fruition.
Bishop Narciso Abellana of the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People believes that the idea will enable the Church to effectively carry out its work.
He emphasized that the prelature will be particularly beneficial in reaching out to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), especially those in territories without Catholic chaplaincies.
“So it becomes the work and responsibility of the prelature to provide services to these migrants. we hope that this idea of prelature for migrant workers prosper also,” Abellana said.
“This may have a wider scope in reaching our migrant workers since it does not depend solely on the present chaplaincies,” he said.
The bishop made this statement in his message for National Migrants’ Sunday, which falls on September 24 this year.
The discussion within the CBCP regarding the proposed prelature responsible for the spiritual and pastoral welfare of Filipino migrants has been ongoing for at least three years now.
The CBCP also established a special committee to conduct further study of the proposal.
During the CBCP plenary assembly in July, the bishops once again agreed on the need for additional time and further study before submitting the matter to the Vatican for a decision.
“This extension was deemed necessary to give for more consultation with the other episcopal conferences, especially in countries where Filipino migrants and itinerants are present,” said Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, CBCP president.
“The working committee was also asked to anticipate such concerns as logistics and the formation of priests for ministry to OFWs as well as the formation of migrant Catholics as missionaries especially in countries where Christians are a minority,” he said.