Updated: March 16, 2021 07:23 AM GMT
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.
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.