November-December 2005

World Youth Day Vigil Address

Pope Benedict XVI

This is the talk given by the Holy Father in Cologne, Germany, at the vigil on Saturday night, 20 August. It is believed that the relics of the Magi, ‘The Three Kings,’ are in Cologne Cathedral, hence the theme of WYD XX, ‘We have come to worship him’ (Mt 2:2). The Holy Father touches on the questions discussed by Cris Evert Berdin Lato in Our Hideaway.

Pope Benedict XVI

A Contemplative In Ireland

By Sister Mary Cynthia OCD

L-R Srs Concepcion, Rose Alice and Mary Cynthia

Years ago ‘mission’ was foreign to Filipina Discalced Carmelite nuns, since we’re contemplatives and normally stay for life in the community we join. Many Carmelite communities in Europe and the USA, because of the lack of vocations, are faced with the possibility of either closing down or joining together. To avoid that possibility, some European Carmels asked the Association of Monasteries of Discalced Carmelites in the Philippines for help. As a result of this, there are now Filipina Carmelite missionaries in France, Africa, Belgium and, most recently, in Ireland, where we are now. There are still requests from other countries.

Melody Lingers On

By Fr Fintan Murtagh

The author is a Columban priest who has worked in the Diocese of Iba, Zambales, since coming to the Philippines in 1964. He is a parish priest and also works with persons with disabilities.

Melody skiing with friends in Japan during the Duskin Leadership Training

Her name was Melody. It must be more than twenty years ago now since I first met her on a Saturday afternoon at the chapel in her barrio. A friend had transported her on a tricycle. She was able to maneuver herself from there. Melody had been severely affected by polio since she was only three or four. The lower part of her body was severely deformed because of this but she moved herself about in a sitting position by propelling her feet with her hands.

Simbang Gabi In Seattle

By Suzanne Goloy-Lanot

This article is reprinted by permission of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, where it first appeared first appeared on 19 December 2004. Suzanne Goloy-Lanot is originally from San Juan, Metro Manila, and her husband Leonardo, now retired from the US Navy, from Mandaluyong City. They live inBremerton, Washington State, with their daughter Adrienne Marie (23) and their son Jean-Lenard (19).

PHOTO: Bob Farmer

Christmas At The Margins

By Sister Nellie Zarraga ICM

Going to Mongolia feels like going to the end of the world.  From bustling Beijing or any other metropolis, one catches a plane or a train that flies or chugs over vast frozen steppes for a long time before one sees here and there evidence of life.

And life there is!

Sr Nellie, 2nd from the left, and Bishop Wens Padilla, far right, with friends outside a ger

From Baguio To Loughrea

By Sister Mary Concepcion OCD

White Christmas for Sr Rose Alice and Sr Concepcion

In His time, God fulfilled my desire to go on mission, although not to Africa. But His will be done.

When I was still newly professed in Baguio Carmel, our first Father Provincial, an Irish Carmelite, told the Association of Monasteries of Discalced Carmelites in the Philippines that a bishop in Ghana was asking for a Filipino Carmelite foundation of nuns. When this materialized after almost fifteen years I wasn’t permitted to go since we were only a few in our community.

Flight 387

By Mrs Rosie C. Cabillas as told to Mrs Roberta M. Luza

‘I’ll put down the phone now, Ma. I have to prepare yet to catch the nine o’clock flight for Cagayan de Oro. See you in March. I’ll meet you at the airport then so that you can attend my graduation. OK, Ma, bye.’ These were the parting words of my son, Artnee.

Archie and Artnee with their 
mom during happier times 

Letter From Sri Lanka

By Sister Rose Agnes MC

Dear Father Seán,

Greetings from Sri Lanka! May the joy, peace and love of Christ our hope be with you and all at Misyon.

I hope that you received my letter stating that Sr Paul Lynette has been sent to Jordan for her new mission. She was replaced by five of us Filipino Missionaries of Charity in Sri Lanka. Thank you so much for sending the magazine, which I pass on to the other Filipina Sisters. All look forward to each issue of Misyon.

A Little Story

By Sister Mary Rose-Alice Escote OCD

Ireland has sent many missionaries, including Carmelite friars, to the Philippines in the last 100 years. Here is one of three ‘little stories’ of Carmelite contemplative missionaries from the Philippines in Ireland.

At the baccalaureate graduation Mass at UST, Manila, after I finished a two-year course in Religious Education, I signed the profession of faith in red ink to signify by the color of blood that I wouldn’t refuse any offer when asked to go on mission.

When I entered Davao Carmel, I thought that was the end. It was unheard of for contemplatives to go on mission. Besides, my health remained delicate although I wasn’t sickly.

Blessings Of The Season

By Nicholas Murray

As I write these few lines I’ve just taken down my Christmas decorations and put aside my Christmas cards.  Both have decorated my apartment since well before Christmas and have served as useful topics of conversation and teaching aids for my students who regularly attend the office hours that are a requirement of our contract.  We are expected to make ourselves available for at least two hours a week for what is often referred to as ‘free talk.’

Posadas In North Carolina

By Charles Phukuta Khonde CICM

Elsewhere we have an article showing how Filipinos have brought the Simbang Gabi to the USA. Here a missionary from the Democratic Republic of Congo discovers a parallel Mexican novena in his American parish. Both articles show how migrants can enrich the Church by bringing and adapting their religious traditions to the countries where they settle.

Advent means ‘coming.’ Hospitality is at the heart of Advent because it is a season of opening doors. During this time the community of Saint Eugene Catholic Church in Wendell, North Carolina, USA, prepares, like all other Christians around the world, for the coming of Jesus, born that first Christmas in a stable. Here, our Advent season is marked by two special traditions among others: the novena preparing us to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on 12 December, and the Posadas, a novena that prepares us for the celebration of Christmas. The Spanish word posada means ‘inn.’ ThePosadas begin on 16 December and end on 24 December. They are a reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem (Luke 2:2-7).

The author, now a high school senior, overcomes her reluctance to fulfill a class requirement as she is touched by two articles. 

Father Seán Coyle,

I’m Myla Patricia Aquino, a junior at St Scholastica’s College Manila. I’m writing to you as partial fulfillment of my requirements in Christian Living class. At first I never really wanted to do this task but, on the contrary, not only did I find one article that intrigued me, but I found two very interesting articles. Both are from your September- October 2004 issue.One is your own article on Gianna Beretta Molla, Choose the child – I insist on it and the other Life- giving Moments by Rosemary Taker. As I read these, I realized certain things that seem to be the answer to most peer pressure problems I, and people I know, face right now.

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD


My parish is divided into two major zones: Nsawkaw (Twi-speaking) and Banda (Nafana-speaking). After almost two years of organizing them, I was on the verge of giving up on the Banda people. They showed no sign of progress. Sitting under a mango tree, I was about to decide to close down the zone when out of the blue a hen with her chicks appeared from the bush. The hen started scratching on the ground and her chicks rushed but found no food. Then the hen started again … again … and again. Suddenly it dawned on me -- if the hen wasn’t giving up, then why should I? Call it craziness or what, but I literally ran to look for the hen to thank her for enlightening me!


By Cris Evert Berdin Lato

The author is in third year at the University of the Philippines, Cebu College, taking a BA in Mass Communication. She’s also active in Youth for Christ.

Imagine a world where no human exists. Animals and plants are there, the wind blows and rivers keep on flowing. Trees bear fruit and the sea continues to produce fish; yet no man exists. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west without catching a glimpse of a single individual. Now if we will try to go back to reality, nature still continues the same routine with the presence of one being - man. Everything is turning out fine without man, but we often find ourselves asking, ‘Why does man exist?’ Man came into this world and destroyed the blissful world God created. If this is so, why did God create man?

By Freya Carmona

Dear Sister Grace,

As I was reading your story Strange Encounter ((March-April) I was inspired by the goodness of the Lord in the way he worked a miracle for you. I can relate to your story.

One time I went to Bacolod, three hours from home, just to refresh myself after busy school days. I stayed at my aunt's house. After a couple of days I needed to go home for school the following day. When I went to the bus terminal I opened my wallet to find that I had only P70. I suddenlyremembered that my aunt forgot to remind me about the money my mom had left with her for me. I wanted to go back to her house but realized that if I did, I’d miss the last trip to San Carlos City and wouldn’t be able to go to school the following day. So I decided to wait until the bus left.

Zyra Louisee Aranzanso Corvera (First Prize)

 Zyra is a third year student in the high school department of Columban College, Olongapo City.

I often wondered why things have to be the way they are; why there are those people born with a silver spoon while others endure their downtrodden lives.  Why?  And so I continued upon my search until I came upon with this word that could offer an answer: Mission.

True enough, each one of us has our aim or goal in life.  Furthermore, I believe that even before we are born, God has already delegated a mission.  This mission does not only inscribe itself in serving God and Jesus Christ but the human race as well.

There are those soldiers who would defend and fight for their country as their end zone, doctors who would cure, care for, and continue to serve the ill, mothers who take care of their family, fathers who work assiduously to support their loved ones and children who bring smiles and laughter to each other.

Shanti Aubren Prado (Second Prize)

Shanti is a fourth year high school student in Divine Word of San Jose College, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.

I only heard of him from my mother.  Whenever I was faced with challenges in school, my mother always mentioned his name.  But I had not yet seen him in my life.

According to my mother, his and my family had been long-time neighbors in our town in the old days when there were still deer and flowers in the wild, and birds and butterflies to habitat the plants.

Lenie Rose Jurado Jimenez (Third Prize)

Lenie Rose is a fourth year high school student in Lourdes Academy, San Miguel, Zamboanga del Sur.

Everyone was given life for some individual and powerful mission to accomplish in this world.  We’re given life to cultivate and handle the creation of God for every living thing.  The human which He created in His image, different from everything, is placed in a higher rank among all His creation.  But the question is, does every human think that we are created in God’s image and that therefore we should follow Him?  Are we worthy to be the highest among all God’s creation?  Is our faithfulness enough to worship Him?