July-August 1999

Much is Forgiven...

By Fr. Miguel A. Bernad, sj

There are hundreds (perhaps thousands) of photograph of the beautiful and popular Princess Diana. Many of them bring out the beauty of her face. Not all of them are edifying, for it must be admitted that the Princess did not live a blameless life. She herself admitted having been unfaithful to her marriage vows. This, and the seemingly mad pursuit of pleasure (including the questionable relationships with the playboy who died with her) call into question the seriousness with which she took her essential roles as a wife and as a mother.

And yet, this seemingly pleasure-loving and apparently irresponsible woman was also involved with very serious concerns. Among other things, her crusade against landmines; her efforts to help find cure for AIDS; her concern for abandoned and suffering children.

The Day I Meet The Lepers

By Gee-Gee Torres, editorial assistant

Sr. Mater Leal, dc comes from Quezon province. She has been a missionary in Thailand for the past 14 years and has been involved in various social works. For several years she has been assigned in Phud Hong Leprosarium. Here Gee-Gee tells her story.

Phud Hong Leprosarium

It was a long trip to Nakon Si Thammarat province in Southern Thailand. We passed through rugged limestone mountains and vast plantations of rubber, coconut and pineapple. Along the way I focused my attention at the beautiful landscape of the countryside; I didn’t want to think of the people we were going to visit in Phud Hong Leprosarium. But no matter how hard I tried, something deep inside was telling me to accept the fact that I was going to Phud Hong Leprosarium to visit lepers. I was scared. Yes, I was afraid to see a leper face to face. I was afraid to touch them or even go near them lest I get infected. I wasn’t sure if I could handle myself well if a person with a decaying nose should extend his hand to me, I would soon discover.

A Chalice For China

By James McCaslin, ssc

A bamboo curtain came down around China when Communism took over in the early ‘50s. Missionaries were imprisoned or expelled. Native Chinese priests were executed, tortured and imprisoned. A pall of sadness settled over Christians who went into hiding like in the catacombs of Rome in the time of Nero. China was struggling to stand up and declare her independence before the world and the Church-so associated in some Chinese minds with excessive colonial powers in the past – suffered in the process. We wondered in fear what was happening to the four million Catholics especially during the excesses of the cultural revolution. Then after the death of Mao Zse Tung that bamboo curtain began to part a little. Christians emerged from the catacombs and we suddenly realized with joy that they were alive and well and that the terrible pruning had born much fruit.

A Stone To Touch Our Hearts

In Rizal Park, there is a strange stone placed in the ground and surrounded by railings. This stones commemorates the shocking conditions of the poorest of the poor, the most forgotten. At this stone, every 17th of the month, volunteers of the ATD Fourth World Association meet for inspiration as they struggle to walk with the outcasts of the world.

Angola Diary

By Fr. Efren de Guzman, svd

Long ago, in the time of Noah, it is said that the Lord placed the rainbow in the sky as a promise of peace. As we go to the press war has flared up again in Angola as Fr. Efren feared. We ask our readers to pray that the rainbow of peace will return again to Angola. Everything else has failed. Prayer is all we have left and prayers are always answered.

Dead Man Walking

By Sister Helen Prejean, csj

Sr. Helen Prejean, a nun in the United States, was asked by a death row prisoner to be his spiritual director. She said yes but never realized what anguish awaited her. Her story has appeared in the famous movie Dead Man Walking. Here she shares it with us.

I went into the women’s room because it was the only private place in the death house. I put my head against the tile wall and grabbed the crucifix around my neck and said, Oh Jesus God, Help me. Don’t let him fall apart. If he falls apart, I fall apart.” I was scared out of my mind. I had never watched anybody being killed right before my eyes.

The Angels Have Left Us


The Rwanda Tragedy and the Churches

By Hugh McCullum

It’s now the five years since the mind-shattering tragedy of Rwanda when the world awoke one morning to witness on its tv screens one of the worst massacres in human history. No one, as yet knows the exact number of the dead, but the estimated figure is given as one million people. This was due to ethnic fighting between the Hutu’s and Tutsi’s. Only now, some five years later, are the real causes being clarified.

In his carefully researched book, The Angels Have Left Us, Hugh McCullum, who was a journalist in Rwanda, tries to uncover the causes and what he has discovered is not very pleasant.

Bow & Arrow To Pen & Ink

By Sr. Angela Jamola, fmm

Landing at Port Moresby airport, seven months ago, I thought I was in Awang airport in Cotabato City, my home province. The scenery looked familiar- the majestic coconuts, nipa palm trees, beautiful clear waving seashores which greeted me joyfully. The view changed as i bounded towards our mission station in Seim. It was just breathtaking, with the winding brown Sepik river, mountain ranges and thick rainforest.

Prayer For Busy People

By Bo Sanchez

How to pray when you’re not a priest or nun but a regular office employee who rides the Tamara FX to work for two hours, raises three kids who need help in their homework and does the family’s laundry during weekends.

Do What Works

There is no one way of praying. Continue to search for the way of prayer that enriches you, that blesses you, that allows God to speak to you more or work in your life more. You’ll know. Because I’m a writer, I pray by writing in my journal. And that blesses me immensely. I get up from my prayer time refreshed, restored, and energized! If you were to tell me that this isn’t the proper way of praying and that I should kneel down and be quite for thirty minutes, I’d tell you to ask Him why do I feel more blessed with my improper way of praying and feel totally bored and tired with so-called ‘proper’ way. Does He like to torture me and make my time with Him totally unenjoyable?

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD


The Sunday first reading was Dan 12:1-3.

It is all about the last judgment at the end of the world. The reader who happened to be among our new recruits stumbled at the end of the reading and instead of saying, ‘This is the Word of the Lord.’ She said, “This is the end of the world.’ And the people unfazed responded, “Thanks be to God.”