Fr Cireneo Matulac

A Tale of Two Communities

By Fr Cireneo Matulac

One of the communities in China visited by Fr Matulac

The author is from Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay, in southwest Mindanao. While a seminarian he spent two years on First Mission Assignment in Chile. After his ordination he went on mission to China. He is now Vice-Rector at the Columban House of Studies in Cubao, Quezon City. He has contributed a number of articles to over the years.

Recently I visited some small Catholic communities in the north of China. I visited one particular community, with little more than ten families gathered together, with the Parish Priest. He asked me to give a short talk to the congregation while he was hearing confessions. I thought I would say something on reconciliation and forgiveness. I introduced myself as a missionary priest from the Philippines, a member of the Missionary Society of St Columban.

How My Family Welcomes The New Year

By Father Cireneo Matulac SSC

Father Cireneo ‘Dodong’ Matulac was ordained priest in his native Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay, on 28 December 2002. He’s been working in Pagadian cathedral parish since then but headed for China in January 2004. Here he tells us how his family welcomes the New Year.

There’s growing excitement in our family as we prepare for the New Year’s celebration. My brother has just left for the población to buy ice cream, the only time we have it, a real New Year’s treat. I feel that this New Year’s celebration will be different. My mother has insisted on baking rice cakes which she hadn’t done for years. My two sisters are preparing their favorite dish and my other brother is preparing his usual pork and chicken barbecue. My family has certainly become a lot bigger. I now have seventeen nephews and nieces, the oldest in his early twenties, and all of them are extremely excited. I’ve heard the younger ones say, ‘Uncle will celebrate Mass for the New Year in Lola’s house.’

She Welcomed Me In Their Home

By Father Cireneo Matulac SSC

Father Cireneo is a recently ordained Columban priest.  He spent two years in Chile as part of his first missionary assignment.  Below he shares with us a story of a little girl he came to know in a barrio in Chile.

It was the beginning of fall in southern Chile.  I was visiting families I knew in Puerto Saavedra, especially those of the children I’d taught catechism a few months previously.  While walking from house to house in the barrio, I recognized this little girl of about seven from my catechism class.  She recognized me too and greeted me.  She welcomed me into her home, a small shack, which I hadn’t visited before.  It was fortunate that I came then because I was looking for shelter from the cold rain that was beginning to pour down.

At the center the fire was lit.  I sat in the corner trying to warm myself.  The cold wind entered through the gaps in the wooden wall.  There was no wooden floor.  The floor was of hardened soil.  In another room I saw a big bed in which, I reckoned, the whole family slept.