I started serving at the Hope Workers’ Center (HWC) last year as a fulltime pastoral coordinator among the Filipino Community of volunteers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Zhongli, Taiwan. I also work in partnership with fellow Columban lay missionary Joan Yap and with the new Columban parish priest, Fr. Seaok Jinwook Antonio.
The first half of the year has been very busy with various activities in the church and the center. For our Filipino volunteers, this is their home in Taiwan as most of them spend their Sundays here after a tedious time at work for the entire week. Most of them are factory workers, and some are caregivers. We are blessed to be able to journey with them by making them feel at home through celebrating Filipino culture and festivities which are important to us.
We have around 200 volunteers who are grouped into twelve ministries of lectors, altar servers, lay ministers, choir groups, a charismatic group, usherettes, education and assistance group, and an immigrant group. I work closely with each of their coordinators. Without them it would be very hard to facilitate the three English Masses which are always jam-packed not only with Filipinos but also other foreigners who come to church. For many migrant workers, they would spend their day off shopping and touring around, but most of the volunteers would be at the center and are happy to spend time with church friends and even help out in the other activities of the center. I feel blessed to accompany them in their faith journey as they continue to work hard to be able to help their families back home.