On the occasion of World Migrant and Refugee Day, which took place this Sunday, September 25, Cardinal Piat presided over a Mass at St. Anne’s Church in Stanley. The theme of the day was “Building the future with migrants and refugees”. A welcome center for migrants was inaugurated after the celebration.
The mass was followed by the inauguration of a place of welcome for migrants. In Mauritius, the migrant community consists mainly of foreign workers and students. A culinary exhibition and a cultural animation were then proposed by students and migrant workers of Malagasy, Filipino, Congolese and Kerala origin.
This office is specially dedicated to migrants and the responsibility has been entrusted to the deacon, Josian Labonté. “Welcome, protect, promote, integrate” is the motto of this office. These four verbs come from a message of Pope Francis and summarize a way of acting that the pope proposes concerning migrants and refugees.
“Refugees are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, with the same hopes and ambitions as us, but a twist of fate has tied their lives to a migration crisis of unprecedented proportions.” Tania Diolle, elected official for Constituency No. 18 and Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS), Dick Ng Sui Wa were among the guests at the inauguration of the CARITAS refugee reception hall by Cardinal Piat.
In Mauritius, the migrant community consists mainly of foreign workers and students. A culinary exhibition and cultural animation will then be offered by students and migrant workers of Malagasy, Filipino, Congolese and Kerala origin.
For several years, the Diocese of Port-Louis has taken various means to show its closeness to migrants. In addition to the annual Masses celebrated in all the parishes for Migrant’s Day, Cardinal Piat has strongly encouraged the Christians of the diocese to make a more sustained contribution to the reception and support of migrant workers in Mauritius.
He proposed that 2 or 3 persons per parish should bring this concern to their parishes and make the Christian community aware of building bridges in a sustainable way towards migrants: “Migrants/foreign workers are our brothers and sisters. They are looking for a better life for themselves and their families, they want to get out of poverty and are ready to make sacrifices. They also contribute to our economic development because without them, many factories would be forced to close. Let us welcome this presence of foreign workers as a chance, an opportunity to become more human and to grow spiritually. Let us make their presence an opportunity for mutual enrichment.
The Justice and Peace Commission of the Diocese of Port Louis has also compiled data on the reception of migrants in Mauritius.
In 2021, Cardinal Piat decided to formalize the reception of migrants: “In communion with the whole Church which, under the leadership of Pope Francis, is discovering more and more the extent of its responsibility in this area, I have created this small but modest team which is already doing a good job.