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Charismatic prayer group unites Filipino migrants in Macau

As the Philippines marks 500 years of Christianity, it is time for El Shaddai members to renew their faith in God

UCA News reporter, Macau

UCA News reporter, Macau

Published: March 15, 2021 05:00 PM GMT

Updated: March 16, 2021 07:23 AM GMT

Charismatic prayer group unites Filipino migrants in Macau

Members of the El Shaddai charismatic group hold a prayer meeting in Macau. (Photo: Jornal O’Clarim)

A Catholic charismatic prayer group, dubbed the largest of its kind in the Catholic-majority Philippines, has been a unifying force for thousands of Filipino migrant workers in Macau for nearly three decades.

El Shaddai (Hebrew for God Almighty) was founded in 1984 by Brother Mike Velarde, a real estate developer turned preacher. The movement is recognized by the Church and is believed to have more than 10 million members worldwide.

The charismatic movement arrived in Macau, a former Portuguese colony and now Chinese-ruled territory, in 1994 thanks to the migration of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in the casino-cum-resort city. The territory has more than 15,000 OFWs, according to the Commission of Filipinos Overseas.

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In Macau, the movement is led by a four-member council and 60 volunteers who arrange for weekly prayer sessions at Our Lady of Fatima Church that draws thousands of Filipino migrants.

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