Misyon Online - November-December 2014
Fr Jehoon Augustine Lee
In Dalgan Park, Ireland, where most Irish Columbans spent seven years preparing to be missionary priests, some of them to be killed in the service of the Gospel, FrSeán Holloway, to whom the Lord had given just over 93 years of life and almost 67 years of priesthood, was laid to rest.
Your editor was present at the ordination of Father Jehoon, a very joyful occasion celebrated almost entirely in the Korean language but with a real dimension of the catholicity or universality of the Church. There were Columban priests who had grown up Australia, Ireland, Korea, New Zealand and the Philippines and Columban lay missionaries from Fiji, Korea and the Philippines. Two of the Filipino priests were working in Mainland China and Hong Kong respectively.
By Fr Patrick McInerney
Meeting storekeeper in Jerusalem helped Fr McInerney reflect on where he was really from and meeting Pope Francis helped him reflect on where the center of the Church is.
When Cardinal Tauran presented the newly-elected Pope to the world from the balcony of St Peter's Basilica on the night of Wednesday, 13 March 2013 Pope Francis explained his origins as follows: ‘You know that the work of the conclave is to give a bishop to Rome. It seems as if my brother cardinals went to find him from the end of the earth.’
By Luda Egbalic
When I was a child I used to visit San Isidro Cathedral in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, where I grew up. I would go to the Mass Media Center and read stories of the saints. I was inspired by their good deeds and sacrifices for the Lord. One time when I was praying and gazing at the big cross on the altar, innocently I said to myself, ‘When I grow up, I will help you carry your cross. I will serve you.’
Malaybalay City, with San Isidro Cathedral, lower left.
After my college days, I joined the Canossian Volunteers Philippines. In this program, I was happy serving people in urban and rural areas of Mindanao and Luzon. We called ourselves ‘young missionaries’.
By Fr Chris Saenz
Ronald Daniel Perez Arbazua
Puerto Saavedra, Chile
February 14, 2014
Ronald Daniel Perez Arbazua, known as ‘Ronnie’, is a 69-year-old man who was born and raised in Puerto Saavedra in southern Chile. At the age of 15 Ronnie entered the Chilean Navy and served for eight years. After that he went to Santiago where he lived and worked for 23 years. In 1983 he returned to Puerto Saavedra upon the death of his mother.
In 1995, when I was a seminarian, I was sent to Puerto Saavedra, aColumban parish at that time. There I first met Ronnie as a chronic alcoholic. The few times I saw him sober he was timid and shy. The drink always made him aggressive and belligerent. Often, after drinking, Ronnie would enter the church. Sometimes he would cause a disturbance and twice I had to physically throw him out. I left Puerto Saavedra in 1997 convinced that he would never change and would die on the streets.
In 2001 I returned to Puerto Saavedraas a priest. When I celebrated my first Mass in the town I was surprised to see Ronnie stand up and walk to the lectern to proclaim the First Reading. He was clean-shaven and wearing a suit and tie, and sober! I was shocked by this miraculous change.He stopped drinking completely, reformed his life and was active in the church. For years I talked about Ronnie in my homilies but had never sat down and talked to him about his conversion, until now. Ronnie agreed to be interviewed.
Ronnie, how did you begin your road to alcoholism?
Previously I drank, but not heavily, on some social occasions. In 1983, at the age of 38, I returned to Puerto Saavedra when my mother died. I was an only child, my father had died when I was 23 and my mother was really the only family I had. When she died I entered into depression. That is when I began to drink heavily and continued to drink every day for 18 years.
To our departed brothers and sisters
And to all who were pleasing to you
At their passing from this life,
Give kind admittance to your kingdom.
(Eucharistic Prayer II)
Obituaries of Columban Sisters are from the website of the Missionary Sisters of St Columban: www.columbansisters.org
By Fr Thomas Rouse
Father Tom worked in Fiji most of the time from 1977 until this year. He is now based in Lower Hutt, near Wellington, in his native New Zealand. While in Fiji he served as Regional Director for some years. He served two three-year terms as Regional Director of the Columbans in Fiji, from 2007 until 2013.
It was to the credit of the Columbans that I was accepted as a candidate for priesthood. That was back in 1969 when I was completing Form Seven in high school at St John’s College, Hastings, New Zealand.
Nevertheless I was admitted into the seminary at St Columban’s College, North Turramurra, Sydney, Australia. But, by the end of my first year, it was evident that my speech impediment would be a serious handicap if I wished to progress towards ordained ministry since one of the principal tasks of an ordained priest is to preach. How could I effectively preach if people could not understand what I was saying?
This article first appeared in the Mabuhay section of Sunday Examiner, the English-language weekly of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong in one of its September issues. BethSabado, a nurse from Pagadian City, Zamboangadel Sur, is a Columban lay missionary and has been based in Hong Kong for nearly three years as Coordinator of the Lay Missionary Central Leadership Team. She worked in Taiwan before taking on that position.
HONG KONG (Mabuhay): Migrant workers in Hong Kong frequently describe themselves as milking cows in the eyes of their government and families.
A usual Sunday crowd in HK
But Beth Sabado, a lay missionary to Taiwan and nine-year veteran manager of a migrant refuge in Taoyuan, says that the Church should be added to the list of those seeking to squeeze the bit of extra money out of them.‘People back home think that just because they are working overseas that they have plenty of money’, she told Mabuhay on 17 September.
‘It is not uncommon for them to get letters appealing for money for a new chapel or something in their home parishes, when the workers themselves are really struggling to make ends meet’, she continued.
By Gracebelle Montecillo Parreño
Seven years ago, someone broke my heart. It was shattered into pieces to the extent that it even made me think that it couldn’t be repaired again. It made me weak and I lost my self-esteem. I started questioning myself if there was something wrong with me. Then my mother came into the picture and said to me, ‘Come to Him and pray for him; surrender all your heartaches to Him and you’ll be alright.’
From then on, I became a frequent visitor to the Adoration chapel. I always cried there and I spent months talking to Him, sharing my problems with Him. Every time I left that chapel, I felt great as, if I was whole again. I became strong; I got back my confidence and became a smiling person.
I was like that until I graduated from college. Then it was time for on-the-job training (OJT), I tried my best with all the companies that came to our school but I ended up a failure. At first I asked myself if I had done wrongbut then came to realize that I just needed to trust Him in whatever plans He had for me.
Three months later a company came along and I was hired as their new OJT employee. I met many people, learned practical things and befriended all of them except one. He was my mentor that time and we hated each other. He seemed to be so cruel to me; he didn’t want me to tag along with him. But on 1 May 2010, we were chosen to attend the production that day, only the two of us. It was the time that he knew I existed. We spent the whole day talking to each other and enjoying each other’s company.
‘If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.’
-Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Pope Benedict XVI, 2007 [Wikipedia]
‘Love of God and love of neighbour are thus inseparable, they form a single commandment. But both live from the love of God who has loved us first. No longer is it a question, then, of a “commandment” imposed from without and calling for the impossible, but rather of a freely-bestowed experience of love from within, a love which by its very nature must then be shared with others. Love grows through love. Love is “divine” because it comes from God and unites us to God . . .’