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Sunday, September 25, 2016
Mass for Migrants at Westminster Cathedral
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Mass with Nigerian Chaplaincy
More than 2,000 Catholic migrants living and working in London are expected to attend a special Mass for Migrants, which will be celebrated at Westminster Cathedral on Monday, 3 May, the Feast of St Joseph the Worker) at 10am. Nigerian and Vietnamese Catholics will play a central role in this year's celebration.

The Mass will reflect the tremendous diversity of London's Catholic community, with music from across the globe. A number of dignitaries, including mayors from a number of London boroughs and ambassadors from EU and other countries are expected to attend the Mass.

For the first time since his installation as Archbishop of Westminster in 2009, the Mass will be celebrated by the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, who will give the Homily. This will be the fifth Mass for Migrants to have been organised jointly by the Diocese of Westminster, the Archdiocese of Southwark and the Diocese of Brentwood and supported by their Justice and Peace Commissions.

During the Mass, the Procession of Gifts will be carried out by the Nigerian community.  "Migration has its painful and most discomforting challenges" writes Fr Albert Ofere, ethnic chaplain for the Nigerian community in London. "Religious challenges are no less exceptional. The Chaplaincy has got a legal surgery and a project team to help point people in the right direction in settling. The Chaplaincy also creates a family and friendly atmosphere for interaction and networking."

"Our Nigerian Masses, devotional activities, cultural activities, youth activities and pilgrimages are meant to meet religious challenges. The Nigerian Catholic Community is a growing but exciting community. Like every other growing community it has its challenges but thanks to God our help in ages past and our hope for years to come. With Him on our side and with the continual love, trust and support from the local Church the Chaplaincy will be yielding more positive and useful results." 

The Procession of Thanksgiving will be carried out by the Vietnamese Community. The Vietnamese Chaplaincy is based in East London, in Poplar. Fr Paul Chanh is the chaplain serving the 3,000 Vietnamese Catholics that live in and around London.  Fr Paul explains that the main reason people use the Chaplaincy is so they can celebrate Mass in Vietnamese. "They want to say Mass in their own language, and they want to teach their children the catechism in their mother tongue."

The Chaplaincy has been successful in uniting the Vietnamese community in London and one of the ways it has done this is by providing a place for them to socialise. "Every weekend we feed everyone because it's a good way to gather them. We have a cooking group which cooks for every parishioner. That's the best way to support and gather the community - through their work they come to know each other."

The Vietnamese will be represented in good numbers at the Mass for Migrants and Fr Paul explains that this is because the community want to return some of the diocese's generosity: "We owe a lot to the diocese. The community feel that the diocese supports us and feel that it gives them everything they need. That is why, if the diocese ask them to do anything, they do their best to get involved."

 
Further information at:  www.rcdow.org.uk/massformigrants

For a full list of Catholic Ethnic Chaplaincies in London see: www.rcdow.org.uk/ethnicchaplaincies

The 2008 Catholic Bishops' Conference Publication, 'Mission of the Church to Migrants in England and Wales' called for a more visible culture of welcome, hospitality and solidarity with migrants. It can be downloaded at: www.rcdow.org.uk/massformigrants/default.asp?library_ref=27&content_ref=1869653
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