My First Fiat To God's Call

By Jude M. Garceniego

The author is now studying in St Joseph Regional Seminary, Jaro. His sister Cherryl is a novice with the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters of the Holy Family in Talisay City, Negros Occidental.It was during a high school retreat in Sacred Heart Formation Center, Bacolod, that I made my first ‘fiat’ to God in His calling me to priestly formation.

Our adviser, Ms Alicia Calexterio, now Mrs Alicia Dalanangbayan, the faculty and staff of Our Lady of Lourdes High School, Candoni, Negros Occidental, decided to have the retreat of the graduating class on 6-7 December 2000, with our outing the following day.

Our Hideaway

The Joy I Found with the Youth

By Ma. Fe Corazon P. Arienza

Ma. Fe Corazon "Azon" Arienza is from Cabadbaran City, Agusan Del Norte. She was a youth leader of the Parish Youth Apostolate in Candelaria, Cabadbaran and a member of the Oasis of Love Community. With Hazel Jean Angwani, she is currently undergoing the Columban lay missionary Orientation program.

Columban Lay Missionary PH 25 in Orientation: Ma. Fe Corazon Arienza and Hazel Jean Angwani

My love and passion for service sprang from my experience with a Diocesan priest back at my hometown. His name is Fr. Isaac Manuel Moran. Me and my childhood friends used to accompany Fr. Moran when he celebrated mass in Pirada, a small town in Cabadbaran City. I love how he made all of the people there happy with just his presence and the way he made them feel that they are cared for especially the little ones. When I thought it was Fr. Moran who gave so much joy to those people, he told us instead that it’s the other way around. I found it hard then to understand, until I joined the Parish Youth Apostolate.

I Have Found My Inner Joy

By Jinky Ucol

Evangeline “Jinky” Ucol is from Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro. She joined the Columban lay missionary team PH 24 with Lily Faunillan and Jake Lunor, and left for Fiji in October 2017 for a three-year mission.

At 2AM, the phone rang asking me to bless the dead. By the time I reached the hospital room, the family was grieving and the dead body was already covered. That was good timing, otherwise it would have been difficult for a first-timer like me to bless the dead person. I was a bit scared and hesitant. Questions came into mind: What do I do now? How will I show my sympathy to the family? Basic questions that we are confronted with in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE).

Chased by God’s Love

A Reflection on My Prison Ministry

By Louie Q. Ybañez

Louie Ybañez is a Columban student from Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. He is presently studying Theology at the Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila compound, Quezon City.

As part of our formation program, I go to the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa under the Philippine Jesuit Prison Service for my pastoral ministry every Saturday. We usually start our day at the Reception and Diagnostic Center where we give values formation classes to new inmates considered as juvenile offenders. We facilitate this class through a group reflection on the gospel. Then we proceed to the Medium Security Compound to do some counselling with inmates who have long been held in prison or visit the inmates who, for a long time have not been visited by their families.

November-December 2017

From the Editor

November – December 2017

Life, Death and the In-Betweens

This issue of focuses on life, living and death. In November, we celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day wherein we remember the lives of all those who have gone before us – how they had lived their lives and the mark they left on us. In December, we commemorate the birth of Jesus, the Word made flesh, the fulfillment of God’s love for humanity and all of His creation. Jesus showed us the way how to live life fully, inviting us to follow Him in loving obedience to the will of the Father...

Read more

The Impact of Columban Formation on My Life

By Jose Isagani Flores

This is an extract from the sharing of Jose Isagani Flores, PhD, from Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, a member of the first group of seminarians to enter the College Formation Program of the Missionary Society of St Columban in Mabolo, Cebu City, in 1994. He is on the college faculty at Colegio San Agustin, Bacolod City, where his wife, Jo Ann A. Flores, PhD, RN, is Dean of the College of Nursing.

When asked to share at our Homecoming on ‘The Impact of Columban Formation on Our Lives’ I felt both nostalgic and hesitant.

It was through the Columbans that I learned to live in a community where there is friendship and love. The Columbans taught me the importance of caring for those who are in need, whose rights are not respected and are trampled upon.

Blessed to be a Columban, Blessed to be a Parish Priest

By Fr Leo Distor

Fr Leonito Distor is from Marbel, South Cotabato and is the fifth of six siblings. He was installed as the First Filipino Columban Parish Priest of Our Lady of Remedies Parish, Malate, Manila on May 1, 2014. He is currently a member of the Regional Council of the Society of St Columban in the Philippines.

Before I became a Columban, I was with the tribal people in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato for six years, teaching elementary grade school students and working as kind of a liaison to the different tribal communities in the area. That's where I was coming from. I discovered that I have the inclination to this kind of work and I found joy in it. When I learned about the Columbans’ understanding of mission, which is very different from those I had in mind, I told myself that this is where what I experienced and what I learned will have a place, where I can grow as a missionary.

A Light of Hope

By Mary Joy Rile

The author is Assistant Editor of and Columban Mission.

I first met the Light The Life (LTL) Candles Community of the Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy, Novaliches on their second anniversary and blessing of Light the Life Learning Center on May 6, 2017. Looking at the mothers and how excited they were at the products of their labor, I knew there was something more that I ought to listen to. Two months later, Korean Columban lay missionary Anna Noh Hyein, who initiated the Light the Life candle-making project, brought one of the mothers, Mrs. Joy Price Sullano, to our office, so I grabbed the opportunity to interview her.

Joy Price Sullano (left) being interviewed by Mary Joy Rile (right) at the Columban Mission House, Singalong, Manila

Our Hideaway

The Man in White Garb

By Gregorio O. Pelaez III

The author is a nurse from Cagayan de Oro City and hopes to be in Ireland in October to practice his profession.

The author

After graduating from high school I had nothing in mind but my ambition to become a lawyer and I was ecstatic about it. It was a grand plan that I laid down for my future, and I was convinced that going through four years to get a bachelor’s degree and another four for law school is never a pick-and-shovel undertaking. I was young, full of vigor, and was up for the challenge. With my parent’s backing, I was certain of the steps to take ahead to become a lawyer. But, the inevitable adverse event unfolded on May 11, 2003 when my father died of Hemorrhagic Stroke just a month before the school year opened. Consequently, my dream of going to law school remained just a dream and the financial constraints and hard choices that followed were the biggest impediments I had to endure throughout my college years.

A Saunter Experience with God

By Elbert Balbastro

The author is from Oton, Iloilo, Panay. He entered the Columban seminary formation in June 2012. Elbert and Jerry Lohera had their first aggregation as temporary members of the Society of St Columban on 27 June. They are on their two-year First Mission Assignment in Pakistan at the time this article is published.

Elbert reading his commitment, First Aggregation to the Society on 27 June

Life is full of surprises because we have one great God – He who treats us unique and special in every way.

When I left the house on 3 March 2013 for a pilgrimage I carried with me a lot of worries about many things. We were to walk about 168.1 kilometers from Malolos, Bulacan to Manaoag, Pangasinan. I started to feel all those fears and apprehensions in my heart. I asked God for the grace to know Him in the image of every person I met and to guide me in acknowledging my limitations and weaknesses… and to work on them. I knew it was going to be a long walk but what I did not realize was that the entire journey would truly become a life-changing experience for me.