FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead the Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican, August 29, 2018. (Reuters)
BY LESLIE ANN G. AQUINO
For an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People, Pope Francis’ statement that Filipino women are “smugglers” of faith was a testament of how overseas Filipino workers practice and live their faith.
“It is for us in CBCP ECMI especially for me it is complimentary, affirmative and positive rendition how our OFWs practice and live their faith,” CBCP-ECMI Vice Chairman Bishop Ruperto Santos said in an interview Monday.
“In spite of threats and danger to fulfill their Catholic teachings in those countries, most in Middle East, they remain firm and fearless to observe and share their Catholic faith,” he added.
Santos said OFWs stand strong and steadfast with their faith even with tempting offer of monetary or labor benefits.
“So, they inspire others and become evangelizers and catechists of our faith, so much so ‘smugglers for faith,'” he said.
During a Mass at the St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on Sunday, the Pope said: “In Rome Filipino women are ‘smugglers’ of faith! Because wherever they go to work, they sow the faith. It is part of your genes, a blessed ‘infectiousness’ that I urge you to preserve.”
The pontiff presided the Mass for the Filipino community in Rome for the celebration of the 500 years of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.
In 2019, when Pope Francis led the Philippine traditional “Simbang Gabi” Mass with the Filipino community in Rome, he also acknowledged the role of OFWs in the growth of Catholic Church throughout the world.