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Family choir helps migrants assimilate

Diocese hopes multi-cultural family singers will encourage greater harmony

Daejeon diocese has launched a multi-cultural children's choir (photo courtesy of Daejeon diocese)
Daejeon diocese has launched a multi-cultural children's choir (photo courtesy of Daejeon diocese)
  • Stephen Hong, Seoul
  • Korea
  • March 22, 2011
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Daejeon diocese in South Korea is hoping a new family choir featuring children and mothers from mixed cultural backgrounds will help migrant families settle and assimilate into society.

The choir comprises 37 children and mothers from China, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Migrants’ Pastoral Service Center in Daejeon diocese held auditions in January and selected 21 children and 16 mothers for the choir.

At the launching ceremony on March 19, Bishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik of Daejeon said it is time for Koreans and migrants to live in harmony with each other.

Bishop You said he hoped such harmony could spread widely especially through "songs and sounds."

According to government figures Korea now has over 1.2 million migrants.

Father Marcellino Maeng Sang-hak, chaplain to foreign workers in the diocese, said a television program about a successful amateur choir inspired him to start his multi-cultural idea as a pastoral ministry to help migrants assimilate into society.

Father Maeng said he expects the choir will become a platform for communication and communion among migrant mothers and children, which could lead to happier families.

Father Maeng said two backers have donated 25 million won (US$22,300) to help finance the choir and five musicians have volunteered to provide the music.

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