Fr. Romy Cagatin SVD

Greetings from Benin

By: Fr. Romy Cagatin, SVD

Different but The same

I have been in Benin for a little more than a year. After having been formed in our in our beloved country, the Philippines, for the past 28 years, being here “undresses” or “de-construct”, they say, all our own cultural paradigms. In the beginning I was a bit naïve to believe that there is not much difference between me and our African sisters and brothers. The longer I am here the more I realize that we differ to a great extent in many things. It is wrong to say though, that we are completely different from each other. People keep me calling me before (Whiteman). It hurts me, honestly speaking.

Recently, a young man was ordained priest, in spite of the fact that his mother practices traditional religion, while his father is a Muslim. Never heard in the Philippines? Or does that African way is not our way (Mt. 16:23). Entering into their culture whilst preserving my “Filipino-ness” and their “African-ness” is not at all an easy process.