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Filipinos working worldwide urged to help refugees

MANILA (Agencies) : The more than one million Filipinos working in Europe, as well as others over the world, have been urged by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of The Philippines to join Pope Francis in providing concrete help to refugees from countries in conflict like Syria.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, president of Caritas Internationalis, was quoted by CBCP News as saying that it is high time for people to be in solidarity with refugees who are fleeing death from war and hunger.

“After seeing the horrendous images of the ongoing refugee migrant problem in Europe… it is lamentable that many continue to be blind, deaf, and mute,” the cardinal said.

Cardinal Tagle lamented that it took children to die and get washed ashore in Turkey for the refugee crisis to catch the world’s attention.

“Emotions of the world were stirred by the picture of the boy that came out… It is regrettable but we have to thank that picture since it moved many people,” said Cardinal Tagle.

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, the head of the Philippine bishops’ migrant ministry, also called on overseas Filipino workers in Europe to join the Church in showing mercy to the refugees.

Bishop Santos said this is another chance for Filipinos to show how much they care, especially for those who need help, by making donations.

He said even the parishes and the dioceses in The Philippines can do the same thing.

“This is for us to show that Filipinos are caring people and in solidarity with those who are suffering and in need. Let’s help in our own little way,” he said.

As former rector of Pontificio Collegio Filippino for several years in Rome, he also headed the Italian Conference on Philippine Migrants.

He said as overseas workers, they, too, were welcomed by their host countries.

“So we reciprocate. We return the favour. We open our hearts and hands to accept and pray for them. We offer what we can offer,” Bishop Santos said.

On September 8, Pope Francis called on parishes, convents, and monasteries across Europe to take in refugees arriving on their shores.

In fact, the Pope himself promised to provide homes to two refugee families, as he called on other Catholic institutions to do the same.

In response to the appeal of the supreme council of the Knights of Columbus, members of the association in The Philippines have pledged to help refugees from the Middle East who are fleeing to Europe by the thousands.

Justice Jose Reyes, Jr., president of Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of The Philippines, Inc. and the state deputy of North Luzon was quoted by the CBCP News as saying that aside from the charitable works offered to the refugees there, the group will also offer spiritual and financial support.

He added, “Because of the situation now in the Middle East particularly in Syria and in Iraq, we encourage our brother knights to offer prayers in that regions.”

Members of the association in The Philippines have also received a letter from Supreme Knight Carl Anderson asking for financial assistance, which says, “Every penny of your donation directly supports humanitarian assistance and raising awareness for persecuted Christians and other religious minorities, especially in the Middle East.”

Reyes said its supreme council in the United States of America has been providing considerable financial assistance to the refugees and he encouraged all the members in The Philippines to do the same for the greater glory of God.

The group also reportedly plans to supply food to thousands of families that have been displaced by the takeover of Mosul and Nineveh in Iraq by the Islamic State.

Those interested to donate may visit www.christiansatrisk.org for more information.