Migrant Mass returns to Westminster Cathedral
The world came to Westminster Cathedral on the bank holiday Monday, May 2, as an international congregation of over 2,000, many in their national dress, carrying colorful banners and flags, transformed for the annual Mass of migrants to celebrate the feast of St Joseph the Worker. (It was the first in-person mass for migrants since the pandemic closed churches in 2020.)
Organized by the Caritas and Justice and Peace agencies of the three dioceses of London: Brentwood, Southwark and Westminster, with the participation of the ethnic chaplaincies and the citizens of London, Bishop Michael Campbell OSA was the main celebrant, as well as about thirty chaplains ethnic and other priests. Ecumenical guests included the Church of England Bishops of Chelmsford and Islington, Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani and Dr Ric Thorpe.
Father Dominic Robinson SJ, parish priest of Farm Street Church, who chairs the Westminster Justice & Peace Commission, welcomed the congregation. In his homily, Bishop Campbell spoke of the huge contribution that migrant communities make to the UK – particularly working in health and care services. “This work is deeply Christian and deeply human,” he said. Bishop Campbell continued, “Jesus said, ‘Whatever you do to the least of your brothers and sisters you do to me.’
Emphasizing that Jesus came from a working class family, he said, “There is a dignity in working. …”In this Mass of Thanksgiving for the Migrants among us, we express our appreciation for the contribution they make to London and our society… You come to us with many human gifts, skills and talents. It’s just that they get just a fair job for the job they do.”
Moving the Story of Creation Bishop Campbell reminded those present that God created man in his own image. “Each human person has a unique and transcendent dignity bestowed by God,” he said. “The ancient Israelites learned to welcome the stranger among you.” Bishop Campbell thanked the migrants saying, “We are all the richer for your presence among us.” .. “As Christ has welcomed us, we must welcome one another.”
During the Mass, speakers testified on some of the issues that affect refugees and migrants. Currently, asylum seekers, regardless of their qualifications, are not allowed to work. While some receive a very small payment (currently £5.65 a day), many are completely dependent on charitable donations from churches and organizations like Jesuit Refugee Services.
Fr Andriy Tsyaputa, who serves the Ukrainian community in Luton, gave a very moving speech on the situation of churches in Ukraine, saying they “are still open and launching large-scale humanitarian aid during the war”.
‘”While others are fleeing, local churches are stepping up. They bravely rush in to help those in need at this time. They are unstoppable in the face of this crisis. Local believers are visiting those fleeing and sharing the love of God with them.”
“And we all understand that the church in Ukraine is still standing, thanks to your help. Please pray for Ukraine. Please help us.”
The music was conducted by Ss Michael & Martin, Hounslow, Youth and Caribbean Music Ministry. The Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral Choir added to the commemoration with several post-communion hymns. They were warmly welcomed by the congregation.
The Migrant Mass has been celebrated annually since 2006, when it was initiated by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, then Archbishop of Westminster, at the suggestion of the citizens of London. The cardinal called for fairer treatment of migrant workers during this first Mass, an important act of witness. Each year Mass is held annually, held in turn by one of the three dioceses of Brentwood, Southwark and Westminster for the feast of St Joseph the Worker as a celebration of the valuable contributions made by so many migrants to the life and the economy of London. and surrounding counties. Mass is also a sign of solidarity of the Catholic community with refugees and asylum seekers.
Full text of the testimony of Father Andriy Tsyaputa:
Dear priests, brothers and sisters in Christ. First of all, I want to apologize for my accent and my English language, which I’m still learning.
I would like to tell you about the situation in our Ukrainian churches, I came from Ukraine recently. Churches in Ukraine are still open and launching large-scale humanitarian aid during the war. Christians provide help to all who need it. Supported by your prayers and donations, every Catholic Church in Ukraine provides food, clothing, medicine and all necessary equipment to thousands of people. Many Ukrainians have no place to live as war breaks out around them. They therefore live in churches, monasteries or seminaries. Thousands of displaced people are safely housed in churches every night.
Churches across Ukraine continue to provide spiritual and material support to war victims, even in areas heavily attacked or already overrun by Russian forces. The Catholic Church continues to be active in all regions, even in those under occupation. They gather for services and prayer and organize help for whatever they can.
As others flee, local churches step up. They bravely rush to help those in need right now. They are unstoppable in the face of this crisis. Local believers visit those who are fleeing and share God’s love with them.
And we all understand that the church in Ukraine is still standing, thanks to your help. Please pray for Ukraine. Thanks for your help. Thank you for supporting Ukraine. I know the UK helps more than other countries. God bless you. God bless the UK.
See more photos on the Diocese of Westminster Flickr page: www.flickr.com/photos/catholicwestminster/albums/72177720298581088
We will also soon post more photos on the ICN Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Independent-Catholic-News-ICN-195368037167900/?ref=bookmarks
Source: ICN/Diocese of Westminster
Keywords: Ukraine, Migrants Mass, Westminster Cathedral, Fr Dominic Robinson SJ, Bishop Michael Campbell OSA, Fr Andriy Tsyaputa, Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, Dr Ric Thorpe
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