May-June 2003

Linkages Of Love

By Sister Josefina Estremera DC

On April 20, 1999, a fishing boat from Mindoro was wrecked during a storm. On board were the fishermen and some family members. Pepito Mateo and his son Jimmy survived by clinging to a bamboo pole for three days and nights till rescued by a Taiwanese ship. The Singaporean skipper and Filipino crew took care of the two until they docked five days later in Pattaya, Thailand’s popular tourist resort.

Two of the Philippine Embassy staff met Pepito and Jimmy and immediately took them to the Camillian Hospital in Bangkok. They were badly sun burnt. Jimmy had small wounds caused by fish bites all over his legs and Pepito had a large wound on his right foot from being struck by a plank.

A Love That Forgives

By Anton Meemana

Anton Meemana’s article, Long day’s Journey into Light, appeared in Misyon in November-December 2001. He wrote there about growing up in Sri Lanka, how he became a Marxist, and how a Catholic nun helped him to come to the Philippines where he was eventually to discover Jesus Christ. Here he reflects on God’s love for him and the demands of that love.


When I reflect on my 13 years in the Philippines there are certain things beyond any rational explanation. Why the Philippines? Why not Malaysia or Indonesia or Taiwan or some other country? I didn’t know a single Filipino when I arrived in 1989 and had only $ 250 in my pocket. How did I survive for thirteen years?

Paraguayan “Barquillos”

By Sr Amelia Bublo SSpS

I first set foot on Paraguayan soil on July 26, 1986, the feast of Sts Joachim and Anne. Next day I was invited to the blessing of a new Benedictine monastery in Misiones, a four-hour drive from Asunción, the capital. Despite my jet lag I left at 3:30 am with the other sisters. I couldn’t argue with them, as the only Spanish I knew was “Si” and “No.”

Nine bishops from Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay itself concelebrated Mass on this grand occasion. I didn’t understand a word but followed the advice given to new missionaries everywhere, “Observe and keep silent.” Shortly after that I went to another town, nine hours away. We were attending the wake of a student who’d had a tragic death. There was no electricity there so the people used candles or petromax and kerosene lamps.

Vietnam: The Long Road To Freedom

An edited version of an article by Fr Bernardo Cervellera PIME of FIDES that appeared in
World Mission

Pope John Paul in Manila in 1995 called on all Asian Catholics to evangelize their continent, the one with the smallest percentage of Christians in the world. This invitation certainly involves the Philippines but also the 8,000,000 Catholics of Vietnam who form ten per cent of the population there, the third largest percentage in the continent.

Little Ivy’s Mission

By Anna Bocar

On July 28, 1993, I lost my beloved daughter Ivy. She was two months short of three and the younger sister of Analou, who had just turned nine. They had gone to the house of my cousin Bernardo to play with his baby. Bernardo had just arrived in our place in Mindanao from Cebu and was drinking with some friends. When my children arrived he was already drunk and possibly under the influence of illegal drugs also. He was showing a gun he had brought with him to his buddies.

New World Disorder

By Eduardo Galeano

This is an edited version of an address given by the Uruguayan journalist to the World Congress of Christian Communicators. The original appeared in Spanish in Pastoral Popular.

Today’s world, under the symmetrical totalitarianism imposed by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the like, is a world without a soul, a world with no people, only markets; no citizens, only consumers; no nations, only business empires; no human relations, only mercantile competition.

The True Test Of Faith

By Marco Mura

In May-June 2002 Marco Mura wrote about his earlier life. He told us how he pumped an extra dose of heroin – ‘enough to kill a horse’ – into his veins in a derelict house and asked God, ‘Is there any reason I should live?’ Waking up in hospital next morning he realized God had answered his question.

Say, ‘Cheese!’

By Cynthia Empleo

Cynthia Empleo is one of six Filipino Columban Lay Missionaries sent to Fiji in 2000. Before they were assigned to different parishes, they made regular visits to various institutions to practice the local language. This was also their first apostolate. Cynthia was assigned to Vale Levu Hearts Home, a low-cost housing projects started by the late Columban Father Dermot Hurley. Local nuns now run it.

From Killaloe To Iba

By Fr Donal O’Dea SSC

My vocation journey was in many ways prosaic and began during my high school years, 1940 to 1945. There was a surge of vocations to the priesthood in Ireland at that time, especially for the missions. You certainly weren’t fighting against the current – and jobs were scarce!

Religious Background

Family-wise, we had strong ties with the clergy and religious. Two of my father’s brothers were priests in our Diocese of Killaloe. A sister of my mother was a nun, working at that time in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. Her brother had spent a year as a seminarian in the Columbans, a classmate of the late Father Aedan McGrath (Misyon cover story, Jan-Feb 1999.) We also got Far East, the Irish Columban magazine.

The Drama Of Padre Pio

Based on an article by John Cornwell

Padre Pio was canonized on June 16, 2002.  He died on September 23, 1968.  John Cornwell’s article, upon which this is based, appeared in The Tablet, the international Catholic weekly,

Padre Pio

Devotees of Padre Pio say that his life proved that God intervenes directly in human affairs.  He was a deeply religious child and believed he had visionary experiences of angels and conversations with Jesus and Mary.  He heard heavenly choirs and believed he was harassed by “assaults of the devil.”

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By Francis John Chua

I was in grade four when I first gained a sense of personhood, with my own thoughts and understanding, making my own decisions. That’s when I started to realize that everyone’s life, including mine, has value and significance. It was a real pleasure for me to converse with others, young or old, especially if I discovered that they had achieved something in life. I journeyed through those years grateful that I was surrounded by persons I valued and appreciated.