Welcome Filipino friends

A new community from halfway around the world has recently been establishing itself in Minot. For at least three years, nurses and other medical professionals have been coming here from the Philippines to provide essential help at Trinity Hospital and their families have also made the move to the area.

Many of these new residents have also become registered parishioners at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in Minot.

According to the Rev. Dave Zimmer, priest at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church, the residents from the Philippines seem to be very happy to be here, thank God to be here and are grateful for the opportunity to help the community by helping with the nursing care that Minot is short on.

“They seem to be so joyful and enthusiastic about coming here to work that one of them suggested having a special Mass of thanksgiving, thanking God for the opportunity to come and work in Minot,” Zimmer said. “Many of them arrived in the winter and they’re very grateful and joyful about it.”

The new Filipino residents have been in Minot since last year, Zimmer said. The first ones here did not have winter coats or had not seen snow and had to adapt to the weather and environment, he continued. They are very faith-filled people, Zimmer added, and within their first days here were looking for a church to join.

Zimmer thought people already living here could learn to be more grateful for what they have. The people from the Philippines come from a country that has a lot less than we do, he said, and it’s humbling to see them be so grateful for what they have. Also, the Filipino residents have come a long way to a very different culture, he said. When they were shivering from the cold, they were still smiling, Zimmer said, and they’re a good example of adaptability. Also, the community of Minot became a little more international with the new Filipino residents moving in, he added.

“When they were hit by the typhoon, they were very affected,” Zimmer said. “Some hadn’t heard from their families and that’s when they realized how far they’d come. You could see the concern and fear. The sacrifices that some people make will help them and we should be grateful for the sacrifices they have made to be here.”

Zimmer said he hopes people here are as open with the Filipino residents as the Filipino residents have been with them. “It’s an opportunity for us to learn about the Filipino culture and the gifts they bring to us from another part of the world.” They’re not just here working and filling empty spots at the hospital, Zimmer noted, but also living here. He thought it would be good for people here to celebrate the Filipino culture. “What they bring from back home, we should welcome them to offer their services here.”

Recently, retired archbishop Fernando Capalla from Davao, Philippines, came to Minot to visit with the newly established community of Filipino residents and perform a wedding. However, it was not possible for the wedding to take place, so a special Mass of thanksgiving was held instead. A catered meal featuring Filipino dishes was also prepared for them, which was donated by an anonymous member of the parish. Zimmer said aside from the regular parishioners, there were about 120 Filipinos who came to the event.

“I would like to find special feast days to help them celebrate and they can learn about our own practices,” Zimmer said. “We need to find out what the celebrations are so they can introduce them to us.”

A collection was also taken to provide relief for the Philippines after the recent typhoon, Zimmer said. People here were very kind and generous in their donations and the collection will be sent to the villages that Capalla was responsible for. The villages have since been wiped off the map and need help with rebuilding, Zimmer said.

“I think there should be sensitivity on our part for the distance they have come to be with us,” Zimmer said. “They’ve come a long way from their families and culture. I’m hoping the community is recognizing that they’re a blessing to the community.”