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By Father Cireneo Matulac SSC
Father Cireneo ‘Dodong’ Matulac was ordained priest in his native Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay, on 28 December 2002. He’s been working in Pagadian cathedral parish since then but heads for China in January 2004. Here he tells us how his family welcomes the New Year.
There’s growing excitement in our family as we prepare for the New Year’s celebration. My brother has just left for the población to buy ice cream, the only time we have it, a real New Year’s treat. I feel that this New Year’s celebration will be different. My mother has insisted on baking rice cakes which she hadn’t done for years. My two sisters are preparing their favorite dish and my other brother is preparing his usual pork and chicken barbecue. My family has certainly become a lot bigger. I now have seventeen nephews and nieces, the oldest in his early twenties, and all of them are extremely excited. I’ve heard the younger ones say, ‘Uncle will celebrate Mass for the New Year in Lola’s house.’
By Sister Maria Divina MC
…Be with us Mary along the way guide every step we take, lead us to Jesus, your loving Son. Come with us Mary, come…
We all smile as our pre-school children, from different denominations, sing with their angelic voices the hymn to Our Lady. I believe Our Lady is smiling too as she listens to their innocent prayer. Their song gives me hope and joy, that indeed we all have a great Mother who never forgets us. As we finish our apostolate prayer, joined by our pre-school children and sewing-class mothers, we Sisters go to our various assignments. During the day our garage becomes a classroom for the little ones, while the bigger children aged six and seven use the classroom. One of our Sisters is teaching them sewing and cooking to the mothers, along with catechism before the morning session ends. Sister Chunjin Rosa MC and I go on patrol to visit the villages along the river with our bilums (strong string general purpose bags, used throughout Papua New Guinea) loaded with medicines, teaching materials and sewing things needed for today's work.
By Sister Nellie Zarraga ICM
The consecration of Mongolia's first bishop, Wenceslao S. Padilla CICM, took place at 4:30 pm on 29 August 2003 in the Cathedral of Sts Peter and Paul in the western part of Ulaan Baatar. The procession included, along with young altar boys, two cardinals from Rome, bishops, monsignori, mission superiors, confreres and sisters from Kazakhstan, Philippines, Korea, Italy, Japan and India, in the age-old ritual in the newly constructed but yet unfinished church.
As the sun shone through the small stained-glass windows surrounding the dome of the Mongolian gir-like structure, my thoughts went to the meaning of the presence of the Church here.
By Aurora Cañete Luceña
I first came to Pakistan as a Columban lay missionary in 1994 with two other women. We were the third team from the Philippines in the Columban L ay Missionary Program (CLMP) and were nicknamed ‘RP3’. Pakistan wasn’t my personal choice but when I applied I was prepared to go anywhere on mission. I lived and worked with my team during our nine months of orientation, also a time of discernment. I came to know more about myself, my faith and working with others. I opened up to a new perspective on life and the call to mission. During orientation we were made to see some of the realities, challenges and even dangers that a missionary may have to face.
By Beatriz T. Millena
Betty, a midwife by profession, is from the Diocese of Digos in Mindanao. She joined the PIME lay mission program two years ago. She was sent to Cambodia, a Buddhist country, in 2001 to work with HIV/AIDS patients in Phnom Penh, the capital. She tells us about the sad reality brought by this epidemic to the people of Cambodia.
What I had in mind when I left for Cambodia was that I would be involved with community development projects, similar to what I was doing back in the Philippines. I never expected that of all kinds of ministry, I would end up working with HIV/AIDS patients. I wanted to back out. I was scared and I told myself, ‘I won’t do this work.’
By Serge Patrick MONDOMOBE CICM
The first Catholic mission in Mongolia in modern times was opened in 1992. The leader of the first three missionaries, Father Wenceslao S. Padilla CICM, from La Union, became the first ever bishop in Mongolia on August 29, ordained in the newly built cathedral in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital, that was consecrated the following day.
A bishop needs a cathedral but you need to have a bishop to bless a cathedral. The Church in Mongolia had neither. The Vatican decided a bishop should come first, with a cathedral the following day. Jan Pieter Cardinal Schotte CICM, the Belgian Secretary of the Roman Curia, pointed out a few days before the ordination of his Filipino confrere, Monsignor Wenceslao Padilla CICM, as the first ever bishop in Mongolia that it would be a miracle if the church were ready for that event. The cardinal didn’t seem reassured by the words of the architect that it would. The bishop-elect remained calm.
By Estefanio Argall Luceño
To be the father of the Columban lay missionary is indeed a rare privilege. I consider it precious gift from God.
My daughter, Aurora C. Luceño, a civil engineer by profession, was enjoying a well-paying job and a promising career in the Department of Interior and Local Government before being sent to the Columban Lay Mission Program (CLMP) she took part in the Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Program, which gave her a chance to visit different Asian countries, including Japan, as a goodwill ambassador of youth.
By Malyne G. Nim
I am 39, wife to my best friend, Arli, mother of Bea and Gioia. I'm a psychologist and consultant trainer. In September 2000, I concluded a pivotal training program with workers of the evacuation centers in Mindanao as part of a project with an international agency. Because of the success of this project, I was given a new assignment in another war-torn country. My bags were packed, my ticket confirmed. Then . . . I had a visitor.
News from an old friend
A childhood friend, he was now a well-known surgeon in our province. In Manila for a conference, he came to say hello that Sunday morning. In the course of our updating one another, I asked him to take a look at the lump in my breast, which gets painful when I am tired. For what seemed like eternity, he examined both breasts. Then he gave me "the look." I knew that look from way back- when he would tell me something serious and sad. To save him the effort, I asked: "Am I going to die?"
By Bo Sanchez
Let me share with you a simple secret about succeeding in life.
Don’t ever try to please everyone.
I’ve been a leader of Catholic organizations for two decades now. If
I tried to live up to all the expectations that people heap on me, I’d
need to be Padre Pio and Bill Gates and Francis of Assisi and John Rockefeller
and Clark Kent rolled into one.
Talk about severe schizophrenia!