Due to the pandemic in 2020, I could not easily engage in charity work for migrant workers. So instead, I tried to write more English essays to contribute to the Thoughts of the Times in the hope of reaching out to many people. But I have never forgotten to pray for the welfare of migrant workers.
One day, one of our sisters brought in two long padded coats, a jacket, cards, and stickers, with the intention of sharing them with migrant workers.
At that moment, I thought of sending a parcel to the parish where the migrant workers' center is located. Later on, another idea came to me: "Why not invite more sisters in the community to donate something for migrants?"
So, for three days, I put a notice on the community bulletin, appealing for donations of gifts for migrant workers.
Within three days, the drive had resulted in the donation of 600 items. I was so happy and grateful for the generous and willing participation of the community. People donated whatever they could. Some even donated the best things they had.
Using boxes, I classified and organized those collected items into categories and wrapped them up individually to give away as gifts.
Because of COVID-19, people are not able to attend mass frequently, but they are still under the same sky of Korea.
In the end, together with a companion, I visited the Gasan Migrant Workers' Center near Gasan St. Thomas Catholic Church in Pocheon in far northeastern Gyeonggi province to donate the collected items on behalf of our congregation.
When I arrived there, I found a sack filled with various shoes and some other little things on the tables in the office.
It is said that about 10,000 foreign workers from the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, and Mongolia are living in the Pocheon area, which means foreign workers employed by small and medium business organizations in the area represent 10 percent of the population in Pocheon. Along the way, I noticed there are many container houses in the Gasan area.
Since 2003, the Diocese of Chuncheon has been offering free medical care, with medical staff and interpreters volunteering their services. In August 2019, the diocese constructed a new medical service center called the Jericho Clinic with new facilities near Gasan Catholic Church. At present, the Jericho Clinic offers a range of medical services twice a month.
When everything was well before the pandemic, it was so beautiful to see Legion teams from another Korean Catholic Church took turns to provide them lunch every Sunday.
In this way, without forgetting our demanding times of struggling with poverty after the Korean War, we try to be considerate of helping those in need regardless of race or religion.
It was very interesting to listen to the pastoral works of Sr. Ahn Theresa from "Sisters of Jesus the Good Shepherd" (SJBP: Sorores a Jesu Bono Pastores). At present, being responsible for the pastoral works for migrants and multicultural families in Gasan, she is raising funds to promote some initiatives for migrant workers, like giving each worker a plane ticket as a reward if they finish writing the whole Bible.
Fr. Patrick from "Missionary Society of St. Columban" (S.S.C.) presides over English Mass at Gasan Migrant Workers' Center every Sunday.
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