Filipinos celebrate May flower festival in Taiwan
Francis Kuo, Taipei
May 31 2010
It is a "brave witness of faith" to take a procession to the streets, Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan of Taipei told participants as he gave them his blessing.
A 90-minute procession passed through five downtown streets starting from St. Christopher's Church, which houses a center for migrant workers.
Participants gave roses to spectators while singing and beating drums along the route.
Chen Yeh-shin, director of Taipei's labor department, which sponsored the event, told participants that respecting the religious faith of migrant workers has always been a major policy of the department.
Sister Eulalia Loreto, who serves at the migrant worker's center, told UCA News there was a record turnout for the procession this year. St. Christopher's Church has been holding the festival for over a decade, though it is not celebrated every year.
The festival is centered on the virtues of the Virgin Mary and involves a procession commemorating Saint Helena's legendary finding of the Holy Cross of Jesus in Jerusalem.
Corazon Dy became Queen Elena of this year's festival from among 12 other "kings and queens" who took part in a beauty pageant during the festivities. Supporters had to buy NT$25 (US$.078) charity tickets in order to vote for them.
Father Leonila Mantilla, the migrant center director, said the festival raised about NT$10,000 through charity ticket sales.
There are about 38,000 migrant workers working in Taipei with around 7,500 coming from the Philippines.
TA09884/1604 May 31, 2010 (304 words)
Flowers of May festival draws on Marian virtues
Nun calls for employers to respect religions
Marites Flor, a Filipino woman, was kidnapped with two Canadians and a Norwegian in September
Vatican spokesman treads lightly in response to events occurring inside China
Villagers in Bago Division destroyed parts of a mosque, a madrassa and some houses following an argument
Francis Atul Sarker vows to boost Caritas services for more people
Reintroduction will see many innocent and poor people executed in the Philippines, they say