Thursday, February 5, 2009

Maryknoll Philippine Center in Japan

Mission and Vision

Fr. Pat O’Donoghue, Regional Superior of Maryknoll Missioners of Japan suggested a few years back on a reach-out program to Filipino migrant communities as pastoral mission of Maryknoll Missioners in Tokyo. The center was named “The Maryknoll Philippine Center and it coordinator has been Mrs. Marian Tanizaki. There was a perception that unless active spiritual support comes regularly from religious centers parishes parishes and communities in Japan, the Filipinos will lose their spiritual values or fall pray to evangelisms of new religions in their pursuit of economic gains in Japan.

The new wave of migrant catholics and their needs.

The religious Society of Maryknoll Missioners in recent years has to redefine its mission that serves the flock of Catholic migrants living everywhere in Japan where 30 years ago there were mainly Japanese Catholics. Filipino migrants legal or otherwise have formed groups and parish communities everywhere and a new need has sprung up.

These Filipinos continuously practiced their religious faith and joined the parish religious circle but their integration has been mostly felt “subordinated” to the Japanese inner core. Perhaps because of cultural differences,Filipinos and Japanese for a variety of reasons have kept to themselves. However, bi-cultural children of Filipino-Japanese parents are integrating more effectively and these are the children and their parents who need continuing religious education in Japan where most teenagers do not have any religion at all.

Revitalizing one’s faith in a community of less than 1% of population.

Japan’s Catholics consist of less than 1% of population and Roman Catholics even less than that. Without strong support, Filipino communities will stagnate and eventually decline in Japan where religion does not influence lives as much as in the Philippines. Church support systems in the Philippines are stronger and the voice of Cardinal Sin rings louder and more influential than even the President of the Philippines. Thus one’s faith can live and grow in Philippine religious climate but it may not grow that strong here in Japan. Losing one’s faith here makes one just like the majority of the Japanese becoming a member of non-practicing religious on no-religion majority. The opposite happens in the Philippines where the majority are Christians.

The flocks, the shepherds and the internet.

Keeping the flocks together is near impossible here in Japan. The Maryknoll Missioners has found long time ago that reaching to this thinly and widely spread flocks should not be left Japanese parishes with aging priests and nuns. These flocks are migrants and mobile christians whose residences are often determined by emplment opportunities and community support systems. Even the “shepherds” are unable to track them so that catholic centers have been set up all over Japan for migrants to come for assistance.

Maryknoll Philippine Center is an internet-based catholic center. Designed literally to assist “moving” as well more stationary bi-cultural catholic families in Tokyo and the neighboring cities, its goals are:

·  to make it easy for Filipino migrants to contact for assistance.

·  to improve Maryknoll Missioners reach-out programs and reduce the cost of communications by having the information on assistance, programs and news on the internet for many to see and print.

·  to make it easy for Filipino migrants learn about the Maryknoll Philippine Center.

·  to serve as bulletin board for exchange of information among migrant communities.

What are these programs.

Twice (2x) a year, a group of professionals from Ateneo de Manila University,
University of the Philippines and an NGO comes to Japan for a series of - Seminars, workshops, legal forum and retreat on:

  • Christian parenting, retreat, “trainors” training by Ralph and Karn Ocoma, parenting counselors and retreat masters from Ateneo de Manila University
  • Culture of Peace and concept of Active Non-Violence (ANV) Dr. Ramon Pedrosa, Doctor of Laws, August Twenty-One Movement (ATOM) founder and Chairman, Philippine Chamber of  Commerce.
  • Legal Forum for migrants by Professor Merlin Magallona, past Dean of College of Law, University of the Philippines and Director, Institute of International Legal Studies, Diliman, Quezon City

Schedule of Programs

  • 1st and 2nd Week of Novermber 2000
  • 1st and 2nd Week of May 2001

For reservation, please call:    Mrs. Marian “Chiquette” Tanizaki
                                       Maryknoll Philippine Center Tel: 03-3265-5075

It is advisable to contact the Center 3-2 months in advance for schedule seminar in your parish community or groups. The legal forum and seminars on Active Non-Violence is for Filipinos, Japanese and everyone.

You may register an individual. Fee is “voluntary” and nominal.

Year-long Support Services to Migrants

  • Counseling
  • Computer class every Sunday (10:00-12:00 A.M. and 2:00-4:00 P.M.)
  • Crisis intervention in migrant cases
  • Legal assistance and documentation      It’s Address:

 6-2 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan 102
 Tel: 03-3265-5075 Fax: 03-3222-0726     Coordinator:  Mrs. Marian Tanizaki
 ( In front of Hotel New Otani. Accessible from Yotsuya and Akasaka Mitsuke stations)

What are links?

Links refer to Maryknoll Tokyo pastoral networks. Conceptually, it is a star network with central source at the Maryknoll Philippine Center, Tokyo. This pastoral reach-out program is designed to respect independence of parish communities and other migrant centers. It is more than a central light house. It reaches physically to parish centers and communities where there are links by way of visits, seminars, retreats, workshops and forum. It’s website is the central repository of information that are helpful to Filipino migrants.

Network link list of Maryknoll Philippine Center:

1.  Samahan Ng Mga Migranteng Pilipino
     Solidarity Center for Migrants
     Catholic Diocese of Yokohama
     1098 Kashimada, Saiwai-ku
     Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan 211-0958
     Tel: (044)549-7670/78
     Fax: (044)511- 9495
     Contact persons:  Leny Tolentino, Lay missionary
                                     Lia B. Eugenio - Re-Integration Program

    This center is run by the Catholic Diocese of Yokohama and serves
    migrants from many countries like Korea, South American and other
    Asian countries including the Philippines. The Philippine Desk handles
    migrants from the Philippines.

2. Chigasaki Parish Filipino Community
    Chigasaki-shi, Kanagawa-ken
    Filipino members > 30 persons 
    Mr. Felipe Fabricante - Filipino Church Community leader
    Cell Phone: 090-3106-3457
    Ms. Elvira Paz - Filipino Church Community leader
    Cell Phone: 090-4076-6389
    Filipino Community contact perso:  Mrs. Rose    
    Cell Phone:  090-4539-3090

3. Katase-Fujisawa Parish Filipino Community
    Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa-ken
    Filipino members > 30 persons
    Mr. Eliseo V. Cabrera - Filipino Church Community leader
    Tel: 0467-53-39-09

4. Narita Filipino Community
    Narita-shi, Chiba-ken
    Filipino members > 30 persons
    Mrs. Imelda G. Kondo - Filipino Community leader
    EST Plaza 406, Kaburagi-cho 981-1
    Sakura-shi, Chiba-ken  285-0025
    Tel: 043-485-4537

5. Kasukabe Filipino Church Community
    Kasukabe-shi, Saitama-ken
    Mrs. Pat Shiozawa - Filipino Church Community leader

6. Kawaguchi Filipino Chuch Community
    Kawaguchi-shi, Saitama-ken
    Ms. Susan “Ai” Ranin - Filipino Church Community leader
    Kamiaoki-nishi, Kawaguchi-shi
    Tel: 0482-82-7955  Cell Phone: 090-9645-0433

7. Goi Catholic Church
    Chiba-ken, Ischihara-shi
    Goi 2430
    Tel. 0436-21-38-30
    Fax: 0436-23-5078
    Contact Person:  Fr. Dave Padrnos, SSC

8. Matsudo Filipino Community
    Matsudo, Tokyo
    Anthony - Matsudo Church Filipino Community leader
  

Legal Assistance Organizations

Tokyo:

1. Lawyers for Foregn Laborers’ Rights (LAFLR)
    3-F-B Toei Mansion, 12 Aizumi-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160
    Tel: -03-3357-5506    Fax: 03-3357-2207
    Chairperson: Ms. Masako Owaki (Representative) Contact: Mr. Tadanori
    Onitsuka (Secretary General)

    Objectives: 

Founded in November 1990 to support foreign laborers in cases of human human rights violations, solve problems of discrimination and oppression, including labor issues, civil and criminal cases and cases concerning Immigration Law.
    Activities:   

Give legal advice through telephone services and organize meetings and symposia on foreign laborers, refugee assistance, women’s rights, human rights, legal issues and emergency assistance.

2. Phlippine Embassy
    5-15-5 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 1068537
    Tel. 03-5562-1600
    Contact:  Atty.   Cortel

Yokohama:

1. Kalabaw No Kai
    303 Kanaoka Bldg., 3-1-13 Kotoboki-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa 231
    Tel: 045-662-5699   Fax:  045-663-2262   Chairperson: Mr. Hidetoshi Watanabe,
    Contact: Ms. Megumi Imaizumi

    Objectives: 

Founded in May 1987 to protect the rights of foreign workers in Japan and solving problems in industrial and work site accidents, unpaid wages and dismissals and to create solidarity among them.
    Activities:   

Advise and assistance in industrial and construction accidents, unpaid wages, legal appeals, health examinations and activities topromote solidarity.
    Publication: 

“Kalabaw”, a bi-monthly newsletter

 

Effective Parenting

Why the need for effective parenting?

The 1999 International Conference of NGOs in Seoul, Korea discussed and offered solutions on many issues, one of which is violence on children. Months before that Columbine High School shooting incident in United States shocked the world about violence in youth. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippineshas reseach report that the suffering victims of Filipino migrants were their members of their families. News covered violence made to children but no headlines made on the need for good, Christian parenting for migrants. This is one need the Maryknoll
Philippine Center is trying to fill.

Why do we need it for migrants here in Japan?

Effective parenting is needed everywhere but if Philippine cultural support systems is absent when migrants become bi-cultural parents or parents becoming mobile migrants and separated from families, effective parenting becomes a challeging task. Thus two challenging fronts exist - one for bi-cultural family of Filipino and Japanese and another of mobile migrants. In the Philippines, extended families are common while in Japan, “atomic” and very private families are the norm. An abused child can find refuge in extended families but often are “solitary” victims in Japan. This program for effective parenting is “generic” because it focuses on parents and puts an analogy of the Holy Family in the practice of good family formation and parenting styles. Ralph and Karn Ocoma connected with Ateneo de Manila University and has conducted seminars on Parenting for more than a decade.

Schedule of this program

Year 2000      1st and 2nd week of November
         2001      1st and 2nd week of May

Contact Maryknoll Philippine Center for reservation: Tel. 03-3265-5075

 

What is Active Non-Violence (ANV)?

Definition:    

A system of personal, social and international change, based on the force of truth and the power of love and forgiveness in order to

Aim:              

overcome evil, obtain justice and bring about fraternal relationship and reconciliation.

Assumptions:

a. The goal is not to win or to prevail but to arrive at the truth of the situation.
b. Both the victim and the agggressor share a common humanity.
c. ANV appeals to the humanity of the aggressor in the hope of triggering a reciprocal response from him.
d. ANV seeks to destroy enmity, not the enemy.  The Non Violent (NV) person is willing to accept the consequences of his NV actions.

Characteristics:
a. It is aggressive (not passive) against injustice.  It is insistent in remedying the unjust situation.
b. It suffers for and weeps over injustice.
c. It understands the logic of violence and finds alternatives. It is creative.
d. It never gives up.  It is full of hope.

Principles:  

a. Life is sacred.  Human life is an absolute value.
b. ANV believes in the conscience of persons.
c. ANV relies on the power of truth and love.
d. ANV develops means/strategies to bring about justice and reconciliation. There is purity of means and ends. The means is already the end in process. The vision must be embodied in the means.
e. The willingness to suffer and to lay down one’s life.
f.
 ANV starts from where most people are most deprived of their right and are suffering from injustice.

Recall Mechanism of ANV ( 6 P’s):

  1. Proclaim the truth
  2. Protest Injustice
  3. Penetrate the conscience of the adversary
  4. Part from injustice yourself
  5. Pay the price
  6. Pray incessantly.

Definition of Violence:
Violence is any force that is injurious to quality of life examples of which are willed destruction of human life, treating  a person (who is a subject) into an object or thing and any acts that limit the potential of a human being.

Forms of Violence:
       - personal and structural
       -  physical and psychological
       -  verbal and non-verbal
       -  overt and covert.

 Summary of Seminars, Workshops, Retreat & Legal Forum

A Project of Maryknoll Philippine Center, Tokyo

April 19 – May 2, 2000

Length of  time:  12 days everyday

Topics :   

·  Christian family/parenting  given to Filipino Christian communities

·  Parenting on Filipino battered housewives

·  Active Non-Violence (ANV) & Culture of Peace in handling violence in daily life

·  Training of Trainors of Basic Christian Community

·  Retreat and workshops for 2 days and 1 night in Yamanakako, Yamanase-ken

·  Legal forum for Filipino migrants and members of Philippine Embassy

·  Meeting with Japanese members of International Fellowship of Reconciliation

 

Number of communities reached out:   

11 Filipino Christian communities, 

1 Japanese group

Average attendants per seminar/forum:  30 with low of 8

Status:  All were married, some divorced, separated and mostly women

Participants in the retreat: 36

Main communities:  Metropolitan Tokyo

Others:    Kanagawa-ken

Saitama-ken

Chiba-ken

 

The Christian communities of Fujisawa , Chigasaki City (Kanagawa) Kasukabe City and Kawaguchi Saitama-ken), , Matsudo and Narita City ( Chiba- ken ) Philippine Pastoral Center staff and members, parishioners of Roppongi chapel center, members of Solidarity for Migrant of Yokohama Diocese Filipino migrants from Tokyo and representatives of Philippine Embassy ,NGO s,  Religious, Lay Missionaries and the Japanese group of International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR, Japan).

 Objectives:  To enrich its Christian pastoral reach-out programs to Filipino migrant workers and families in Tokyo and its surrounding cities, the Maryknoll Missioners through its Maryknoll Philippine Center, Tokyo has introduced regular seminars, workshops, retreats and fora to address the problems of migrants and their families and improve their Christian lives.

 Identified Problems:  The need for on-going pastoral reach-out  to Filipino Christian migrants and families in an aging priests, sisters and lay missioners in Japan. According to Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, the Filipino migrants remitted 32 Billion dollars to the Philippines in 16 years but at the sacrifice of their Christian families. The pursuit of economic solutions in Japan has detached them from their Christian communities in the Philippines. Migrant Filipinos abroadbring about 700 deaths per year and legal problems have jailed an average of 1,000 Filipinos spread in many countries around the world every year.

 Members of  Seminar Team:

Fr. Patrick O‘Donoghue - Maryknoll Japan , Regional Superior  

Ralph Ocoma - Parenting counselors and retreat masters , former trainor of Jesuit volunteers

Karn Ocoma - Institute of the Social Order                   

Dr. Ramon Pedrosa - Doctor of Laws and Chairman of Pag-aalay Ng Puso Foundation, AKKAPKA and many others

Prof. Merlin Magallona - Past Dean of College of Law, University of the PhilippinesProfessor of Law and Head of International Institute for Legal Studies, University of the Philippines

Narciso Dalumpines - Director, Pag-aalay Ng Puso Foundation

 Marian Tanizaki - Program Coordinator, Maryknoll Philippine Center, Tokyo      

Summary of seminars, forum and their effects on participants:

 A.      On Christian family/parenting seminar:

    The parenting style, the focus that a child is “mahalaga” (lovable,valuable, respectable), the reasons why children misbehave, the example of holy family, the importance of “presence” of a father and the discussion on positively empowering the parents are some of the topics that touched the hearts of all the mothers in the seminars. Only now do many of them realize that parenting is partnership with God. In bi-cultural families (Japanese father), the mothers resolved to inform the Japanese father that he must spend more that the 8-minute average that Japanese fathers spend for their very young children in Japan  Many of them responded that they were violent because of their parents. They came to know that violent parenting can be handed down to their children. Also, they enjoyed those points that good parenting must start with wife and husband loving each other. In parents who love one another, young peaceful and happy children are developed for they see in their parents examples of care, trust and love. This was emphasized in the seminar with the life of Jesus under Joseph and the Blessed Mother. 

The saddest parenting experience was with a group of Filipina housewives who have been physically, sexually and mentally battered by their Japanese husbands. All experienced the pain of court proceedings and family break-up.  Filipina women did not expect that they will go through this trauma of cultural intermarriage that make children and themselves victims of violence by their husbands. Their fear and anxieties were visible in their eyes and their stories spoke that economic emancipation is not the road to happy marriage life. Many have found refuge in the catholic communities where they have been given counseling and temporary homes until they get remedies from Japanese courts. The seminar ends up with all mothers emotionally moved in tears and fully aware of    responsible Christian parenting. The session ends with prayer of healing and blessings.

 B.  The retreat/ trainors training workshop with Active Non-Violence module:

        Active Non-Violence (ANV) has been introduced as a movement in response to the violence that must be responded in “non-violent way”. For Filipino participants the example of EDSA peaceful revolution against a violent dictator Marcos is often put as an example. ANV starts with oneself and focuses on “forgiveness” as the core concept of application of non-violence.  Jesus exemplified this on the cross when he said “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do”.  ANV applies to everyone, regardless of religion and must be implemented within the cultural context as in the case of the Philippines EDSA revolution in 1986 where the statues of Blessed Virgin Mary and child Jesus prevented the soldiers from shooting civilians. 

The response of participants was mixed. They played actual role playing of violent scenarios e.g. violent, drunker father fighting this wife in the presence of children and handling slum land disputes. Many tried hard to implement the methods of implementing ANV but managed with difficulty.  The lessons of this retreat is that ANV is not learned in a single retreat but should be learned and practiced daily if this has to grow in oneself, in the family and communities. Many participants have never heard ANV but are familiar with Japanese peaceful and safe cities. Maybe, they  thought many Japanese practiced ANV without their knowing it. Dr. Ramon Pedrosa, has always been fascinated  with introducing ANV to the Japanese.

                          

C.  Legal forum for Filipino migrant workers.

 This was delivered by Prof. Merlin Magallona, past Dean of College of Law of University  of the Philippines and now heads the U.P.Institute of International Legal Studies. He discussed the legal issues on migrants, the international laws and countries, signatories to international rights of migrants.  Two lawyers from the Philippine Embassy participated. Many complaints were aired, solutions were given and new systems is to be introduced to better serve the migrants problems  at the Philippine Embassy. Dean Merlin Magallona has exhorted the Filipino migrants to be united for they are often the source of economic help to the country but have been left inadequately served. Many migrant communities are also divided and have taken their catholic religion lightly in place of material gains. Dean Magallona discussed in details structural economic violence by rich countries that resulted in displacement of citizens of countries like the Philippines by way of financial aid in exchange for change of government control.

Devaluations, cruel  currency manipulation and instigation of capital flight are new schemes of rich nations that result now in illegal movements of labor around the globe. The Filipino migrants are true testimonies of rich nations and corrupt politicians under bribe working together. A recent incident of death of Filipino undocumented migrant worker in Chigasaki is an example of cooperation between the Maryknoll Philippine Center, Tokyo led by Mrs. Marian “Chiquette” Tanizaki, the parish community of Chigasaki City, Fujisawa City and Katase, Kamakura City in Kanagawa-ken and the Philippine Embassy. The remains were successfully shipped to the Philippines to be seen and interred  by his family who has not seen him for 13 years.

 D.    ANV and Culture of Peace orientation of Japanese members of International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR).

The Japanese members never heard of Active Non-Violence movement (ANV). There were 5 Japanese IFOR members present and all have not heard ANV as a movement for a Culture of Peace.  One Japanese professor did not believe in it for his experience on peaceful approach to solving conflicts did not succeed. Perhaps, the process of court litigation is necessary. But the ANV does not apply where the victim seeks remedies in courts after the incidence of violence. ANV is applicable for “in-process” act of violence. The EDSA peaceful revolution in the Philippines in 1986 against Marcos was ANV in action.  ANV is the process of confronting violence. 

There were mixed reactions from the Japanese and they remembered the atrocities of Japanese soldiers in World War II. One young Japanese cried and asked for apology from Mr. Ramon Pedrosa for Japanese abuses during the war.  There was a long discussion on the concept of peace as put together in the “Hague Appeal for Peace” U.N. international conference in the Hague, Netherlands in 1999. Reactions from Mr. Pedrosa and Dean Magallona was that The Hague Appeal for Peace Conference was a non-event given the heavy bombings in the name of peace while Kosovo was being ruthlessly bombed by NATO warplanes. The meeting ended with the Japanese IFOR and Filipino IFOR participants promising to meet once more since there is a need for more consultations on the issues that interest IFOR Japan and IFOR Philippines particularly with the issues that International Fellowship of Reconciliation have interests as in Hague Appeal for Peace, conflicts of NGOs and governments’ programs and IMF, World bank, ADB programs that seriously degrade the independent governance of borrowing countries.

 E.       Evaluation and Projection

 Areas discussed in the evaluation:

They expressed need for a full year calendar of activities. The feedback information voiced by participants in seminars is that while they have organized communities as way back 20 years ago, there has been no clear program calendar of Christian parenting seminars, Christian counseling on battered Filipina housewives, no legal forum for Filipino migrants and above all there was no “continuity” of these programs. Communities come to life with insufficient support systems and many felt that Catholic church have had inadequate programs to support Filipino migrant communities. Many Filipino communities feel that especially here in Tokyo that they have been given

“2nd” class preferences compared to Caucasian Christians and Japanese. Feedback point to some Filipino attitudes and culture  that have come in conflict with parish policies. There was a need to educate some Filipinos on the culture of Japanese and other nationals. One clear development is the joint effort of Fr. Ely and Pat O’ Donoghue of Maryknoll Missioners, Tokyo to reach out to these Christian communities in Tokyo and surrounding cities in sustaining their Christian lives by way of Christian parenting and ANV seminars, retreats Workshops, legal forum and counseling that has started 4 years ago. Presently, these seminars and forum are scheduled 2 times a year. Many participants hope to attend the second time around for many felt there is a need to sustain their Christian spirit and parenting skills. They also felt important and wanted as “migrants”. For some once a year is enough. But there is always a need because there are more than 30,000 Filipinos in Tokyo and surrounding cities. Two seminars in a day in two distanced places are tiring experiences.  i.e. Narita City, Chiba-ken in the morning and one in the evening in Kawaguchi City, Saitama-ken. 

Many sessions can be held here at Maryknoll Center but it was suggested that only one (1) seminar should be scheduled outside Tokyo in a single day. On legal issues of migrants that migrants are afraid of. There are many legal issues voiced by Dean Magallona after consulting participants during “The Legal Forum for Migrants” on May 1. He suggested that perhaps 3 Law professors with specialty on Family, Labor and Migrants Law may be scheduled to come to Japan to assist and have firsthand experience with migrants here in Japan. Jailed Filipinos, battered housewives, serious physical injuries taken on the job and even handling of death are some of the many problems and cases that need legal help for Filipino migrants and families. 

On coordination problems with other communities and the Maryknoll Philippine Center

There have been conflicts and misunderstanding with regards to program budgeting and scheduling of seminars.  There is a need that Maryknoll Philippine Center Coordinator, Marian Tanizaki to plan, design and implement with Fr. Ely. Likewise post seminar evaluation and corrected suggestions will be made. There has been some scheduling and command responsibility problems. Some communities want to be independent and have different agenda.  This may be good for the Maryknoll Philippine Center because it  relieves Mrs. Marian Tanizaki of many work if community leaders plan, design, implement and maintain their own programs. However, the need to maintain good Christian families remains a problem that there is a continuing education for “trainors” on Family Parenting. Community leaders lack the skills on good parenting, much less on legal issues. Projection and suggestions of future actions:  scheduled for seminars should be informed at least  6 months before since communities have yearly calendar of their own. 

Mon Pedrosa and Dean Magallona suggested for a national congress of Filipino migrants to be held possibly yearly in any major city here in Japan. For every prefecture here in Japan there should be at least one representative Filipino. The focus will be on the issues of migrants in Japan.  This congress will set an example how migrants can be united and be a force with influence on their future.

Future financial planning and budgeting

Community leaders have discussed that this  program should not be dependent on Maryknoll Missioners for financial help alone.  Target Filipino communities benefiting these seminars and legal assistance must share in the financial burden in amounts they can afford. It was suggested by Dean Merlin Magallona that perhaps in the future, Philippine Airlines can help by way of discount tickets to some of the members of the delegation from the Philippines.  After all, the trip is to help the Filipino overseas migrant workers who are the biggest source of income of PAL.  Dean Magallona will get in touch with the Chief Legal Counsel of Lucio Tan, the owner of Philippine Airlines.

 F.       Conclusion and Recommendation

The seminars, legal forum, retreat and workshops have often reached closed to midnight and mixed with sad stories and reawakening which only tell that problems have been  identified and solutions reached. Participants have been touched and some wounds with their families refusing to heal for many years have only started to heal through parenting seminar, Active Non-Violence and retreat.  For all of them, these became moments of forgiveness, of reconciliation with their families and the Holy Family.

For the first time, participants have the occasion to listen on legal issues from the Dean of College of Law of the premier university of the Philippines. More legal help will be coming. There is an urgent need for unity  among community leaders and individual differencesmust never sacrifice the common goal of unity. Filipino communities have been known to be divided among themselves. According to Dean Magallona, unity is a “condicio sine qua non” if Filipino migrants are to be recognized as a true force that can be appreciated by their home country and Japan. Participants took turns thanking the Maryknoll Missioners, Fr. Ely and community leaders for these seminars will never be available to them without these pastoral reach-out programs. It is recommended that these pastoral reach-out programs be supported by both the MaryknollMissioners  and Church migrant communities.  Community leaders should be trained as future seminar and retreat masters. It is hoped that in the future an important conference or  “Congress of Filipino Migrants” can be held here in Japan with a representative for each prefecture as a sign of unity that migrants can manage their lives and future and become a force of influence.

 

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