This year Caritas Brentwood was organising the annual Mass for Migrants on behalf of the Dioceses of Westminster, Southwark and Brentwood (picture above from 2017). The Mass honours all those migrant workers who have made such a contribution to our society and is traditionally held near the feast of St Joseph the Worker. It was due to be celebrated at St Antony’s, Forest Gate on Saturday 2 May but had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
Fr Dominic Howarth, who is based at Walsingham House at Abbotswick, was involved in the organisation. He says: “We cannot gather in the usual way – but at a time when so many migrant workers are amongst those on the ‘frontline’ in the NHS and care homes, as well as working as delivery drivers, cleaners and caterers, this is a time to honour them in prayer. In addition, as so many within our migrant communities are amongst the most financially vulnerable, working on zero hours contracts or pay that is below the Real Living Wage, it is also a good moment to highlight the wonderful heritage of Catholic Social Teaching that recognises everyone as “our brothers and sisters”, calls us to tear down borders that divide and exclude any group of people, and has mandated us to pay a Real Living Wage ever since Pope Leo XIII wrote about it in 1891.”
He continues: “We will therefore be celebrating the Migrants Mass via the BCYS Instagram Livestream on Saturday 2 May, at 10.30am and on our new dedicated Brentwood Catholic Youth Service channel – the direct link is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBuTWplUUonmBuJVlRpEzPw
We will work on ways to include migrant voices within that Mass – hopefully we will be able to prerecord intercessions in a variety of languages, and I will be working with some of the ethnic chaplains to achieve this.”
All the Mass details – and how to access the livestream – are at www.bcys.net/events/migrantsmass. “One of the benefits of Instagram is that it allows people to interact with the Mass through adding prayers and sending greetings in their own language; such a time of “Spiritual Communion” may be very helpful for many exhausted or anxious people to know that they are connected with a wider community that is praying for them and cares about them, and that – through advocating the Real Living Wage – the Church is also campaigning in practical ways to ameliorate their conditions at such a difficult time.”