July-August 2017

From the Editor

Peace to all!

I began my work as the new editor of MISYONonline.com with gratitude and hope. I thank Fr Seán Coyle, the former editor, whom I have known since 1984, back in the days when the House of Studies of the Columban students was still in Cebu, where we gave the CHOICE weekend to all the students. He was instrumental in my becoming a Columban lay missionary, and now as his successor. It is not easy to follow somebody’s footsteps, especially when the person’s repute is quite high, but salamat sa Diyos (thanks be to God), I take comfort in the thought that I’m in a role which allows a certain degree of freedom in exercising one’s own creativity. And what a relief (with a smile)!

With Fr Seán… with smiles of gratitude

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Human Love of Creation

By Fr John Leydon

Fr John Leydon is Vice-Director of the Missionary Society of St Columban in Philippine Region. He has been part of the team in Our Lady of Remedies Parish, Malate, Manila, for many years, some of them as parish priest. He has been involved with the Center for Ecozoic Living and Learning (CELL) in Silang, Cavite and was one of those who established it in 1998. Fr John is a member of the steering committee of Global Catholic Climate Movement, became one of the co-convenors of GCCM for the Philippines and currently its chairperson. The idea of GCCM came in 2014 and in June 2016, GCCM-Pilipinas was established.

How do we convince people to take climate change and other environmental concerns seriously?

This is the key issue of our times. Up to very recently the situation was very bad. Scientists as early as 1992 said that humanity and nature are on a collision course. If we don't change our ways, we will experience irreversible changes in our world. Scientists spoke clearly about the present ecological crisis but not enough people were listening. The corporations were plainly making money out of the situation. And the politicians who had utang na loob (sense of obligation to return a favor) to the corporations were obliged to give in to their demands. Laudato Si’ changed all that. Laudato Si’ was a hulog ng langit talaga (heaven sent)...

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A Saunter Experience with God

By Elbert Balbastro

The author is from Oton, Iloilo, Panay. He entered the Columban seminary formation in June 2012. Elbert and Jerry Lohera had their first aggregation as temporary members of the Society of St Columban on 27 June. They are on their two-year First Mission Assignment in Pakistan at the time this article is published.

Elbert reading his commitment, First Aggregation to the Society on 27 June

Life is full of surprises because we have one great God – He who treats us unique and special in every way.

When I left the house on 3 March 2013 for a pilgrimage I carried with me a lot of worries about many things. We were to walk about 168.1 kilometers from Malolos, Bulacan to Manaoag, Pangasinan. I started to feel all those fears and apprehensions in my heart. I asked God for the grace to know Him in the image of every person I met and to guide me in acknowledging my limitations and weaknesses… and to work on them. I knew it was going to be a long walk but what I did not realize was that the entire journey would truly become a life-changing experience for me...

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By Lorna Cañete

The author is from Bacolod, Lanao del Norte. She has been in Chile as a Columban Lay Missionary (CLM) since 2015 with the two other members of PH22, Michael Javier and Gilda Comayas. They are the first group of CLMs from the Philippines assigned in Chile.

If the Philippines has Chocolate Hills in Bohol, the Northern part of Chile has mountains of “chocolates”, no green, just all brown soil.

I never imagined living in a desert in my whole life. Each time I read a passage in the bible which mentioned about wilderness or desert before coming to this place, I could not relate how it would feel like being in the desert, until I found myself in the middle of one...

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A Journey of a Seminarian

By Jerry Lohera

The author is from La Victoria, Kauswagan, Magsaysay, Misamis Oriental. He joined the Columban seminary formation in June 2012 and is leaving for Pakistan on 7 July for a two-year First Mission Assignment (FMA).

Jerry giving an advent recollection to selected inmates at the Medium Security Compound, New Bilibid Prison, Muntinlupa City, December 2016

Love hurts. I think it is fair to say that. I first left my lonely dad at home when I decided to enter the seminary in 2012. While I was happy realizing that this is what my heart desires, a part of me felt the pain of “separation”, although the relationship I had with my father was like a roller coaster before we became close to each other. From the outset, I knew that formation life will be very tough for me...

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A Knight in Shining Armor

By ‘Cheska’

Vase with Cornflowers and Poppies, Summer 1887, Paris
Van Gogh [Web Gallery of Art]

The author, who is known to the editorial staff, prefers to use a pen name.

Just like any other young girl, I went through that stage when I dreamed of a ‘Prince Charming’, my ‘Knight in Shining Armor’. Maybe I got so attached to that dream that it took me sometime before I got married. I spent 14 years teaching in a Catholic institution and during that time I would sort of wonder if there would be a ‘happy ever after’ for me. During this waiting time I met my husband, an American, through a common friend. I actually met him first through the internet. He emailed me, I emailed him back, we chatted and that started the rest of our story. I left my life as a teacher in the Philippines to be with him in the United States...

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To Search is to find

IS IT A SIN TO BE GAY? This is a question which was sincerely asked by one male, or should I say a gay, college student in my encounter with them. I am throwing this question in the hope that the answer may bring enlightenment since it is a concern on their part who oftentimes feel that they are but a mistake and struggle to be accepted. Thanks in advance.

The simple answer is: NO! It’s not a sin to be gay. The official teaching of the Catholic Church is that to be gay is not a sin. But to engage in homosexual acts is a sin. Let’s look at what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about homosexuality...

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Coffee and the Blind Man

By Ivy Lyn S. Vergara

The author

This article was sent to us a few years back. The author is currently working at a call center in Bacolod City.

By nature I am a silent person. But as time goes by I have become one of those people who are very inquisitive. Lots of questions bother my mind, mostly based on my observations and experiences in life. I would ask people around me, especially those who are close to me, and they sometimes feel irritated because I keep on asking and asking questions about life, like, “Why is it that justice is better served for those who have money?”; “Why are there broken families?”; “Why is there an unequal distribution of wealth?” and so on. These questions have been lingering on my mind. People tried to offer answers to some of it. As I continue to ponder on these questions and my quest for meaning in life, I put my trust in God...

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Peace by Peace

Dorothy Day, 1934 [Wikipedia]

We plant seeds that will flower as results in our lives, so best to remove the weeds of anger, avarice, envy and doubt, that peace and abundance may manifest for all.

~ Dorothy Day, Journalist, Activist (1897 – 1980)

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