May-June 2005

A Heavenly Farewell

By Father Seán Coyle

In Ireland and Britain the robin redbreast appears on Christmas cards and decorations. This comes from Victorian times in Britain when mailmen wore a red uniform and delivered letters even on Christmas Day. The robin too is the only bird in that part of the world that sings right through the winter.

Love Is A Decision

By Bishop Vicente M. Navarra, DD

Bishop Vicente M. Navarra, born in Mambusao, Capiz, became auxiliary bishop of Capiz in 1979. In 1988 he became first Bishop of Kabankalan and in 2001 fifth Bishop of Bacolod. This is a slightly edited version of the homily he gave on Pentecost Sunday, 2004, at a Mass for the Silver Jubilee of Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WME) in Bacolod.

Bishop Vicente M. Navarra, DD
Bishop of Bacolod

Healing The Sins Of Evangelization

By Fr Chris Saenz SSC

Father Saenz, a Columban from Omaha, Nebraska, USA, was ordained in 2000. He had part of his formation in the Philippines.We are now observing the Year of the Eucharist. His article shows how a debate over the role of the Eucharist helps heal wounds caused by ‘the sword and the cross’ in Chile and Argentina.

Ever since childhood I was always taught that the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, were the cornerstone of our Catholic faith. During my training as a priest, it was reinforced that the Eucharist is the center of our faith, the most sacred Catholic celebration. Jesus Christ’s body, broken and shared, brings healing to his people.

Ines Arango Velasquez: Passion For The Mission

By Sister Adela Paternina TC

Sister Adela, from Colombia, came to the Philippines in March 1999. She celebrated her Golden Jubilee in Bacolod on 8 December 2003. She was a friend of Sister Ines.

Ines came into this world on 6 April 1937 in Medellín, Colombia, the eleventh of twelve children of Fabricano Arango and Magdalena Velasquez. She was baptized four days later, confirmed on 6 October 1940 and received her First Holy Communion in 1944. Like two of her sisters, Fabiola, the eldest, and Cecilia, she joined the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters. Another, Angela, left as a junior sister.

Out In The Fields With God

By  Ma. Norma L. Plata

The author is a member of Christ the King Association International – Asian Region, popularly known in the Philippines as Ligaya ng Panginoon. She has been a lay missionary in Thailand for six years now. Here she shares with us how she discovered where God was calling her.

In 1983 I experienced a great stirring in my heart to serve the Lord full-time. After three years of discernment, I left my banking career and joined the mission team in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, a few months later. After two years in Mindanao, the Lord led me to a church-based NGO, the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA). Then in February 1991, I worked full time for Lingkod ng Panginoon. They were seven years of the most memorable moments of my life.

‘PNG Baptism’

By Father Francis Vega

Twenty-eight years ago Father Francis Vega arrived in Papua New Guinea with Father Nestor Ubalde.They were the first Filipino SVD priests to be assigned there. Father Francis now works in Hilongos, Leyte. Here he shares with us his experiences during his first year in PNG.

I arrived in PNG with Father Nes on 6 September 1977. We were sent to the highlands to learn thelingua franca of the country, Pidgin. We were provided with a Pidgin book and a language tape. Then we were left to ourselves to read the book and to listen to the tape. After six weeks of language study, Father Nes was assigned to the coastal Diocese of Madang and I to the Diocese of Goroka in the highlands.

Fostering Bonds Of Unity

By Sr Ditma Luz Trocio MIC

A missionary from Baroy, Lanao del Norte, Sr Ditma Luz Trocio is well aware of the plight of migrant workers, particularly that of domestics, in Taipei. Her various commitments in the parish allow her fruitful occasions to meet some overseas contract workers and learn more about their life experience. Sr Ditma Luz was executive secretary of the Asian Meeting of Religious (AMOR) when the secretariat was based inTaipei. AMOR is an organization of Asia-Pacific religious deeply concerned with the empowerment of oppressed women. She speaks to us about this ministry where together people try to find, and open, spaces of solidarity and justice.

It is a well-known fact. Since about 1990, Taiwan has become one of the favored destinations of a large number of job seekers and capital investors from all over the world. This country’s economic miracle and financial prowess have thus attracted multicultural groups, who as a whole, form a complex society. Workers from Thailand, presently the most numerous, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, India, from African countries and some from the West, have flocked to Taiwan as Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs). Forced by circumstances to work as domestics, migrant workers are hired for specific jobs and are expected to leave Taiwan at the end of a two-year contract. This policy seeks to avoid keeping undesirable migrants in the country as much as it is meant to prevent abusive practices by employers. Issues of injustice, of human rights violations, sex exploitation and other social problems have sprung up. On the other hand some ‘quiet’ churches have become alive because of the presence of Catholic migrant workers who flock to them every Sunday. Some domestic workers who are professionals and deeply committed to their faith have, by their Christian witnessing and sharing of the basic tenets of the faith, influenced the families they work for.

ICM Presence Remains In Burundi

By Sister Agnes Minerva ICM and Sister Josephine ICM

Sr Josephine serves in the Diocese of Bujumbura, Burundi, as nurse. Sr Agnes Minerva shares life with children with mental disabilities. They belong to the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the ICM Sisters, popularly known in the Philippines before as ‘the Belgian Sisters.’ The background to this story is the war that began after the assassination of President Melchior Ndadaye in an attempted military coup on 21 October 1993. Ten years of war led to 300,000 deaths, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The estimated population in 2004  was around 6, 200,00, but its difficutlt to get accurate figures.

Message For World Day Of Migrants And Refugees

An edited text of Pope John Paul II’s message

‘Pluralism That Goes Beyond Mere Tolerance and Reaches Sympathy’

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. I would like to consider migration from the perspective of integration.

Many people use this word to denote the need for immigrants to be truly incorporated in the host country, but neither the content of this concept nor its practice is easy to define.

Dear Fr Seán Coyle,

Good day and peace! My name is Anne Concepcion G. Pozon from St Scholastica’s College, Manila. The stories in Misyon made me reflect on and understand the difficulties in my life. In the September-October 2004 issue, I was particularly touched by the story of Blessed Gianna Beretta Molla, the mother who risked her life for the sake of her baby.

I felt a connection of that story to my life. When I was five months old, according to the stories I’ve heard from my parents, I nearly died. They said that I had meningitis, which nearly took my life. My mom and dad were really on the verge of despair. The doctor said that I might never wake up.


By Janelle Darien Tan

This year I turned 13.  I am now at the threshold of my teen-age life.  Gone are the days of my childhood when everything in my life depended on my mom and the people around me.

Now things are different.  Aside form the physical changes, I am given more freedom to decide on things affecting myself.  I am free to choose my friends, what to wear and where to go.  Of course my mom and my siblings give advises but it is me who ultimately decides.  I know that with this freedom comes responsibility, so much so that at times I am afraid to make decisions because sometimes I still am afraid to face the consequences of my actions.  I am still a neophyte in these things.

What Is A Marriage Encounter?

Worldwide Marriage Encounter offers a weekend experience designed to give married couples the opportunity to learn a technique of loving communication that they can use for the rest of their lives. It's a chance to look deeply into their relationship with each other and with God. It's a time to share their feelings, hopes and dreams with each other.


After the first Saturday Mass at Christ the King Seminary,Quezon City, an old woman asked me for a blessing. While she bowed her head, I took from her the plastic container that looked like a holy water bottle and started sprinkling.  But nothing came out except for a drop on her hand. To my surprise, it was oil, not holy water.  Whew, what a disaster had I sprinkled oil all over her white dress!