BALANGA CITY, Bataan: The chairman of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ Episcopal Commission on the Care of Migrants and itinerant People (CBCP–ECMI) on Sunday likened the life of overseas Filipino workers to the Season of Lent.
“It is like Jesus journeying to the desert but not only for 40 days but for months and years,” Bishop Ruperto Santos of the Diocese of Balanga and CBCP–ECMI chair, said.
He added that each time someone leaves for a foreign land in search of brighter opportunities, there are always sad partings bringing loneliness to all.
“Like what Jesus had experienced, there are always temptations of marital unfaithfulness and change of religion. But as the angels ministered to Jesus, there are also those assisting and really helping the OFWs,” the bishop said.
To Catholics, February 18 is the first Sunday of Lent when the faithful commemorate that the “Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert and remained there for 40 days.”
The Bataan prelate said priests during this season omit “Gloria” during the celebration of the Holy Mass. “There is no ‘Allelluia’ and even vestments of priests and altar cloths are violet. All these connote silence, solicitude. It is a gloomy and sad atmosphere,” Santos said.
The First Sunday of Lent is also national Migrants Sunday where the celebration was held at the Canosa College in San Pablo City, Laguna as the diocese of San Pablo was the national host.
Bishop Buenaventura Famadico was the main celebrant while Santos was the Homilist.
“With this national Migrants Sunday let us be the Angels of OFWs, praying for their safety and stable jobs, imploring God that they may have good and generous employers,” the Bataan bishop said.
“We can be their Angels as to protect them from unjust and inhuman treatment, to promote their rights and prosecute those who abused and made them suffer,” Santos added.