Churchill Aguilar

Christi Simus Non Nostri, Let us be of Christ not of ourselves

By Churchill Aguilar

The author, who lives in Cagayan de Oro, was a Columban seminarian during his college years. He contributes regularly to the Mindanao Gold Star Daily, where this article first appeared. He wrote about his late sister in Remembering Ate Bem in the September-October 2012 issue of Misyon.

My last project left me so exhausted that I could not even write an evaluation report two days after it culminated. So I decided to grab the strongest coffee at my favorite coffee shop in Centrio Mall. Coincidentally, I met two missionary priests who were once my brothers in the Columbans. The bond we had brought me back to my seminary years. Let me share with you my vocation story.

Fifteen years ago, Fr Bernard Steed, an Irish Columban, visited my high school with his ‘magic bag’. From it he took lots of stuff, with each piece of which he shared stories of young men who crossed boundaries to experience the adventure of their lives. I couldn’t help but be drawn to the spirit in him as he passionately narrated how his friends broke the boundaries of language and culture and found happiness in far flung areas of the world.

A few months later, the experience shook me enough to change the career plans that I had prepared for years, to my Dad’s disappointment. I left my family to join Father Bernard’s group, the Missionary Society of St Columban. There I saw and experienced what he had shared in his stories; I had a good run.