January-February 1998

We Come To Serve

By Sr. Lawrence Consulta, PDDM

Sr. Lawrence is from Tinambac, Camarines Sur and comes from a family of nine children. She graduated from St. Paul’s College, Quezon City with an AB degree in Psychology. After her formation in Antipolo, she was sent by her congregation to Taipei. Here she shares with us something about the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master in Taipei.

The church of Taiwan is dominated by an aging clergy. Due to the fact that Catholics are a minority and the society is becoming more and more industrialized, vocations are scarce. Therefore, a young priests are few. Our response to this situation is Eucharistic, Priestly and Liturgical Apostolic. Particularly in the Archdiocese of Taipei at St. Joseph’s House, we assist priests in the exercise of their priestly ministry, in their sickness and old age, and even at their death bed. In Taiwan, we are composed of eight members: one Chinese and seven Filipinas.

The Harvest Is Great

By Fr. Ernie Amigleo, CICM

Fr. Ernie Amigleo, though a Filipino, is a Novice Master in an Indonesian Seminary on the island of Celebes. Here he tells us about an exposure program to help the students enter into dialogue with their Muslim surroundings.

Eleven novices with knapsacks on their backs left for the city to start a new program called Dialogue of Life with Islam Families. For two weeks, novice lived with is foster parents’ who belonged to he low-income Javanese Islamic families in the city of Ujung Pandang.

Facing The Dark Night Of The Soul

By Charles Ringma

‘But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.’ 
(Luke 22:32)

When we become Christians, well all wish that life from here on will go fairly smoothly. This clearly is not always the case. Sometimes life becomes even more complicated as we go through the adjustments that being a Christian entails. These adjustments come as a result of God’s Spirit fine-turning us to live in God-honoring ways.

There are also times when God seems so distant that we doubt whether we will ever again experience His presence. This deeply troubling experience sometimes occurs when we are emotionally or physically exhausted in the midst of active ministry. We may be busy praying, preaching and helping others with equally positive results, but there may be a gnawing emptiness in our soul and a sense that God has forsaken us.

Angola Diary

By Fr. Efren de Guzman, SVD

After I got back to Angola from my medical check-up in the Philippines I was expecting to see better changes in the life of the people here in Luanda. But, to my dismay and deep sadness, the situation here is getting worse everyday. The poverty of the people is becoming more insupportable, the rate of criminality is rising, the number of the unemployed is growing by leaps and bounds. The general picture of Angola is a country beset by all forms of human affliction and torn apart by conflict and division.

Like beasts

Here in the city of Luanda, children are dying en masse without getting the benefit of minimal medical attention. Uncollected garbage clutters up the streets of the capital. Gun-totting members of the Armed forces and the police prowl the city thoroughfares like beast, desperately trying to augment their meager earnings through corruption and intimidation. The daily income of an ordinary man is eight million Kwanzas, equivalent to eight bottles of beer. Eight million Kwanzas cannot ever buy a can of NIDO milk in the only viable supermarket in the city. (Kwanzas is the peso of Namibia. The exchange rat of Kwanza in dollar is 1:1, 500, 000).

In the face of this vast scene of suffering and sorrow, I could only sight with a sense of helplessness. You may note that what I’m telling you is all bad news. Yes, but I have also some good news to tell – things that pertain to my pastoral activities here.

The Nobles Aikewars

By Sr. Alice Lansang, ICM

Indigenous people all over the world are under pressure. Their humble forest homes are coveted by miner and ranchers. We have told the story in every issue in the Urgent Action section of MISYON. Nowhere in the pressure so strong as in the Amazonian region – the last vast remaining rain forest in Latin America.

A Filipino nun, Sr. Alice Lansang, ICM, has chosen to live here with the Suruis people, a branch of the Aikewar nation. Here she tells of the humble part she played in trying to protect their land from the ‘lowland’ invaders.

Travails Of Being A Woman

By Auring Luceno

A young Columban lay missionary from the Philippines tells of the difficulties of being a woman in Muslim Pakistan.

Wherever I have new experiences here in Pakistan I always think of home, and that gives me a lot of strength and encouragement. At the same time, the people in the barrios have become a source of life for me and the visits to the families are the things I always look forward to. As ever, I thank God for my own family at home in the Philippines – from whom I first came to know what trusting and real loving means: the same love and trust brought me here and keeps me going.

A Story Of Love

By Sr. Ann Rita Centeno, SSC

More and more competent women are emerging in pastoral ministries. Usually sisters give homilies at special liturgical occasions. Sr. Ann Rita gives the homily at the first profession as a Missionary Sister of St. Columban of he namesake, Sr. Ann C. Carbon. Some highlights from the homily appears below.

I’m very happy to see all of you this afternoon. Whether we have come from far away Cagayan de Oro City, Davao, Cebu, Ozamiz, Ireland, Pangasinan or from nearby Quezon City or San Juan. We have come with a common purpose, and that is, to be witnesses to a story of love. Aren’t vocation stories love stories? Aren’t vocation stories basically deep personal experiences of a loving God? Maybe this is a good moment to recall our own vacation stories.

Mid-Life Switch

By Sr. Natividad Lucila, OSB

Sr. Natividad Lucila, a Filipina Benedictine, spent many years in Campus Ministry and vocation work in Batangas. But she has know been assigned to the novitiate in Nairobi, Kenya. Here she shares her first impressions....

I always had the impression as a child that the whole continent of Africa was a very hot place to live in.  But I was mistaken in thinking so.  For in some parts of Kenya , like Nairobi, the climate is cool, especially in Karen where our convent is situated. No wonder that a variety of flowers, plants and fruit trees abound. Had I the charism of St. Francis of Assisi I could have added an epilogue to his Canticle of Nature. Because Kenya’s virgin forest and green vegetation and less polluted environment, the country is favorable for maintaining wildlife, one of God’s beautiful creations.

On The Borders Of Thailand

By Sr. Zosima R. Dalena, OSA

I encourage the people to minimize the use of plastics by using the baskets or re-usig plastic bags instead.  Through this we can keep the environment clean and green.  And at the same time we can also help the government solve the garbage disposal problem.  While giving free reflexology to members,  I also campaign for use of herbals.  People here are heavy users of drugs.  Prevention is being promoted also--no sale of liqour and cigarettes in the store.  I am the only one working here fully convinced of the harmful effects of heavy drinking and smoking.   Education is a lifelong process.  But, there is great hope.

Why Not?

By Bella Sarenas

Statistics show that at level 3B of lung cancer, a patient has from three to six moths to live. Yours is level four,” the doctor told Berting. My husband and I just held on to each other that morning of August 8, 1995 in Davao where we lived. We would need each other’s strength from then on.

Berting had to be confined in the hospital for more tests. While packing for the hospital stay. Berting and I avoided looking at each other, afraid of seeing the pain our eyes could not hide. When our eyes did meet, we clung to each other and cried together. “Lets us pray,” I said, stiffling a sob.

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.

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

Mag-Beer Muna Tayo

His name is George but I have forgotten his surname. He was a police inspector, and his most tedious work which he dreaded most was autopsy. In a big hospital in Kumasi, regional capital of Ashante Region, he was describing in vivid detail his horrible experience in one of the morgues where 20 to 30 cadavers were just lined up waiting to be claimed. He was once called to identify a corpse. He went around the different rooms, squeezing in his feet between corpses lined up one after the other.