Women of the Philippines was the focus of this year’s World Day of Prayer observed in Christian churches around the world. New Hope Lutheran Church in Regina hosted this year’s ecumenical observance which attracted participants from several nearby churches in Regina’s northwest. Holy Trinity, Holy Family, and St. Peter’s Roman Catholic churches had large representations of their Filipino communities. Kennedy Presbyterian church also participated.
The service was prepared and written by the World Day of Prayer Committee of the Philippines and adapted for use in Canada by the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada. Some of those attending the service wore representations of their local costumes and read stories that were written by women and children contained in the service booklet. Several stories told of Typhoon Yolanda, known internationally as Typhoon Haiya, which struck on November 8, 2013. The storm devastated Southeast Asia. It set a record as to the most severe tropical storm ever to make landfall. The Philippines was the hardest hit, causing billions of dollars damage and killing over 6,000 people in that country alone. Stories described their hardscrabble life, on farms and in cities, even before the Typhoon hit; some people in the hardest hit areas still live in makeshift huts. The stories talk about the need for fair laws both within The Philippines and in the countries to which Filipino women migrate looking for work and a better life. The theme of this year’s observance, Am I being Unfair to you, fits with the stories and prayers written by the women.
The Philippines is among the largest of migrant countries of origin in the world. In Canada, Tagalog, the official Philippine language is the fastest growing language group in the country. Philippine women are visible as servers in many fast food outlets and restaurants; and there is a large number of Filipino nurses in Saskatchewan thanks to an aggressive recruitment campaign by the Saskatchewan government. There is also a large number of Philippine religious and clergy who provide a ministry in the Regina Archdiocese. The service booklet states that about 80% of Philippine people are Roman Catholic.