03 April 2009

Does emigration destroy families?

Photo: Filipinas in Hong Kong registering to vote in next year's elections in the Philippines (Sunday Examiner).

The following item appears in the Mabuhay section of the 22 March issue of Sunday Examiner , the English-language weekly of the Diocese of Hong Kong edited by my Columban colleague from Australia, Fr Jim Mulroney. ‘Mabuhay’ [maBOOhi] is a Tagalog word meaning ‘Long Live’ and is used in such phrases as ‘Mabuhay ang Pilipinas’, ‘Long live the Philippines’, and ‘Mabuhay ang Santo Papa’, ‘Long live the Holy Father’.

I’ve dropped the name of the person featured in the item, written by Lynn C. Salinas of the Love of God Prayer Group, Choi Hung, since I’m focusing on the values in the article. ‘NN’ is a Filipina working in Hong Kong.

Forty-four-year-old NN is a softly-spoken mother of five lovely daughters and a faithful wife to her husband. She has been working abroad for 12 years. During that time, her daughters were left in the care of her husband, who has been their father and mother.

NN’s faith was put to the test when the man whom she trusted gave in to the temptations of the flesh, while she worked away from home.. Upon learning this, she stood firm in her faith and prayed for the strength to confront him.

Full of humility, she forgave her husband’s infidelity for the sake of their daughters and the vow they made in matrimony before God. Her patience and understanding somehow helped to open his eyes and pushed him to work harder as the father and mother of the family.

He has been fortunate of late and got a job as a skilled worked in Canada. Their eldest daughter is now working in Dubai. NN has never regretted giving her husband a second chance. She said, ‘If our hearts have no space for stubborn refusal to forgive, revenge or anger, the blessings of the Lord will flow easily into our lives’.

Amid trials, she has shown her unshakeable trust in the Lord by dedicating he time to humble service of others. Currently she is the coordinator of the Love of God Prayer Group.
NN longs to be with her husband and children soon. However, life is full of uncertainties, so she just surrenders everything to the will of Our Father for her family.

The January issue of Inside the Vatican carries an interview with Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki of Lviv of the Latins, Ukraine, in which he is asked ‘You often say that the family is a big problem in Ukraine . . .’

The archbishop replied, ‘It’s true. There is a sky-high divorce rate in Ukraine. It is a big social and moral problem. Families split up on account of emigration, especially the emigration of women who leave the country in search of a job. Children are often left with their fathers. The family is then one of our greatest concerns. We therefore promote movements to act in support of the family, like the Family Oasis and the Family Movement, and provide spiritual assistance for children and young people.’

I would welcome comments on the above.

1 comment:

Fr Seán Coyle said...

This is a comment sent by email from a friend who is very active in Worldwide Marriage Encounter and who is a wife/mother/grandmother:

Nw, re one spouse working abroad for the almighty $. Ths really a BIG cncern and is quite complex.

Iam really against husband or wife working abroad for years. Frst of all the family is the primary educator and what is a family if one spouse is missing (except when one is dead of course what can you do)? Te chances of infidelity are really GREAT for both parties due to temptation, biological needs, etc.

When it comes to the children, they grow up with enough money which the parent sends and no longer realize its value and don't even appreciate how that parent works and sacrifices for them. Many grow up spoiled brats because now they can afford to hire household helps.

A study at the University of the Philippines (UP) has shown that 65%of premarital sex is done in the home because there are no parents around (special mention of OFW [Overseas Filipino Worker] families)

Some families may be poor but they see the efforts of both parents make both ends meet, the value of sacrifice, prayer in the home and they come out ok.

But the problem is also sooooooo real...there are not enough jobs here. Because of this many kids would not also be able to go to college or even high school due to financial reasons and when you don't have a degree or diploma here you can't land a good job..... so it's a vicious circle. I am really scared with what is happening to the Filipino family.

We can't just say that our home is safe, our kids are ok, our grandkids also have a good home. But they are sorrounded by these other kids and so???????????????

Oh, Father, this is really such a big concern... When I think about it I am frightened and yet I feel so helpless. That is why we have to continue working for the family unity and for now I can't do anything much but pray...that GOD will take care of us, the Filipino family and our country.

There should be something more we can do, please God enlighten us what to.... how to!