Ariel Presbitero

Filipino Brasiliero

By Ariel Presbitero

Hundred of thousands of abandoned children roamed the cities of Brazil. These children are used and abused and even gunned down by the police when it suits them. Pope John Paul II in his New Year’s message has appealed to us to open our hearts to these lost abandoned by the world.

Ariel Presbitero, a Columban missionary in Brazil, takes a look at one aspect of this growing third world problem.

Ang Brazil ay ang pinakamalaking bansa sa South America. Pagkatapos ng napakaraming pagsubok, lumalago ngayon ang ekonomiya ng bansa, sa katunayan ang Brazil ang pinakamamalaking exporter ng kape at asukal sa buong daigdig . Subalit di rin mapagkaila na marami pa rin itong problemang kinakaharap. Isa na dito ang mga kabataang makikitang palaboylaboy sa mga daan at kalye ng Brazil.

Vengo Ya!

By Ariel Presbitero

“VENGO YA!” The taxi driver shouted to the man on the roadside. He said he would be right back as soon as he had finished his service with the present passenger. The man hoped that the driver would come back soon but he was not exactly sure how long he would have to wait.

Vengo Ya is a common expression in Peru. If you invite somebody to your house, he’s say Vengo ya! If somebody is leaving the house to do some errands, he will say Vengo ya! I really find it hard to understand the meaning of this expression. Often I get confused with its concept of time.

In The Hills Of Peru

By Ariel Presbitero

The Fiesta of Señor de los Milagros is a very popular devotion in Peru. Every year, Peru is celebrating it like Lent so you could see people wearing purple, rich or poor, to commemorate this great devotion to a painting made by a black Peruvian slave. It is a painting of Jesus on the cross with the Blessed Mother, Mary and Mary Magdalene on both sides, God the Father on top of the cross with a dove, which symbolizes the Holy Spirit. This painting survived the big earthquake inPeru and people believed that many were healed through this painting. They even said that it is still making miracles up to the present.

Donna Cypriana Keeper of the Keys

By Ariel Presbitero

Japanese Filipino

On her favorite porch in front of her little two-room house, day after day, 78 years old Donna Cypriana sits quietly and watches as the streams of people pass along her street. I sense a little flicker of joy in her face ad she spots me, her ‘Japanese’ friend, approach. (For some reason, Donna Cypriana and most of the folk in this part of Brazil think we Filipinos are Japanese.)

Keeper of the Keys

Becoming Donna Cypriana’s friend didn’t come easy. Her little world is this little front space and her sparsely furnished sala and kitchen. Her son, Honesto, a cook in the nearby naval base lodges with her at night and on an occasional weekend, a grandson comes to stay with her. Her most important office is ‘Keeper of Church Keys’.

Raising Awareness The Paolo Freire Way

By Ariel Presbitero

The Chaos of Ignorance


Pedro Alves, 60 years old

Pedro Alves, 60 years old, spent most of his life in the farm. Planting beans, rice, fruit trees and vegetables was his world. His bare hands knew exactly what his family needed by the use of a hoe. He never imagined that outside his farm is the advancement of human technology. Education, he knows, is as important as planting beans. But school is not available in a remote place like Belem de Sao Francisco, 485 km. from the capital Recife. How to survive becomes the biggest challenge in his life – land, seeds, water and human energy.

What is the Color of God?

By Ariel Presbitero

On morning during one of my house visitations I encountered a very interesting question that went like this: “What is the color of God?” I paused and thought a while wondering where was this coming from? I never heard that God has color. As far as I know, I learned from my childhood catechism that man and woman were created by God according to His own likeness and image. It didn’t say what is the color of God. Does God really have a color? Is He white? Black, Brown, Yellow? Is He a mixture of all these colors?

100 Million in the World

By Ariel Presbitero

Can you believe it? There are hundred million children living on the streets of the world – a hundred million abandoned children. Brazil is now notorious for its street children – No wonder Ariel Presbitero, Filipino lay missionary, is concerned.

Nothing to Dream For

What has a child to dream for when life is so bleak because of social injustice and there is no hope for the future? I often asked myself this question: How can these abandoned children in the future will stay in this misery, or maybe worse, pass it on to the next generation?

The Day the Slaves We’re Freed

By: Ariel Presbitero

My name is Ariel Presbitero. I am a Columban lay missionary in Salvador, Bahia where majority are black people and Africa culture is very strong. It’s necessary to understand it’s historical roots: Slavery.

For example, the Good Friday tradition during Holy Week, in the community where I lived (called Terra Para Todos), the people are aware of the “jejum” (fasting) because it was taught by the first evangelizers. However, in practice it’s a feast (fiesta). With all the typical foods: with red wine, loud music, singing, visiting of houses, dancing and many forms of festivities. I was a bit shocked by these customs on Good Friday. Personally, I think that Good Friday should be a day of prayer, silence and fasting. So this Brazilian tradition surprised me.