Mary Joy Rile

How Do Candles Light a Life

By Mary Joy Rile


The author is assistant editor of and Columban Mission. She visited Light The Life Candles Community in Novaliches and in another occasion was able to interview two mothers. The sharing by Mrs. Joy Price Sullano was published in September-October 2017 issue of Here is the second one, a sharing by Mrs. Emerlyn Pollescas.

Emerlyn Pollescas (left) and Joy Price Sullano (center) on their visit at Misyon office in Singalong
In the picture, Emerlyn is showing the author the candles that she made.

How do candles light a life? To name some: it may brighten a dark room or maybe the darkness within; it may lit up somebody’s hope and bring ones prayer intentions to God. But for a woman I met, candles gave her a chance for a living, a new hope, and reconnected her with her children.

Will you shelter me . . . in your heart?

By Mary Joy Rile

Columban lay missionaries of the RP 18 group, Gertrudes “Ger” Samson, Jonah Jane “Jayjay” Enterina-Beddall and Rosalia “Rose” Basada, renewed their commitment with the CLM for another term. They had been assigned to the Region of Britain since 2010 working with asylum seekers and refugees.

I witnessed the renewal of commitment of Ger and Jayjay on June 28, 2017 at the Columban Lay Mission House in Cubao. At Mass, Jayjay expressed gratitude on behalf of RP18 for the support and prayers offered by family and friends, but even more, gratitude to God for the gift of mission and the richness of their experience. Ger on the other hand expressed the challenges they had to face in mission. A power point presentation of their mission experience was so moving it silenced all of us. Ger’s emotional sharing brought many of us to tears as we couldn’t help but feel and share in their sadness and pain.

A Light of Hope

By Mary Joy Rile

The author is Assistant Editor of and Columban Mission.

I first met the Light The Life (LTL) Candles Community of the Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy, Novaliches on their second anniversary and blessing of Light the Life Learning Center on May 6, 2017. Looking at the mothers and how excited they were at the products of their labor, I knew there was something more that I ought to listen to. Two months later, Korean Columban lay missionary Anna Noh Hyein, who initiated the Light the Life candle-making project, brought one of the mothers, Mrs. Joy Price Sullano, to our office, so I grabbed the opportunity to interview her.

Joy Price Sullano (left) being interviewed by Mary Joy Rile (right) at the Columban Mission House, Singalong, Manila

Parenting Parents

By Mary Joy Rile

This article first appeared earlier this year in issue 25 of Columban Mission, the 12-page newsletter published three times a year by the Columbans in the Philippines. Necita’s Tatay, Nieto, has since died, on 20 October. The light of heaven upon him.

Necita Fetalvero with her parents Nieto and Lucita

I was privileged in November 2015 to join a group of Columban lay missionaries (CLMs) and the Columban vocation team in visiting former CLM Necita Fetalvero and her parents Nieto and Lucita in Tubod, Lanao del Norte. Seeing the family for the first time tugged at my heart, not just because both parents are aging – with Tatay paralyzed for 25 years from a stroke and bedridden since last year and Nanay with diabetes and due to have a cataract removed – but because they are a symbol of a resilient family. As we listened to their love story Nanay’s humor was noticeable. We enjoyed it when she responded with jokes. We recognized that that’s one of the ways she copes with all the challenges she’s been facing over the years. Tatay is her first and last love. Despite the hardships, Nanay is not giving up on Tatay till death do them part.  

United with Father Vernon, a Pilgrimage to Remember

By Mary Joy Rile

The author is Editorial Assistant of and Columban Mission.

Prayer Service at St Mary Magdalene Parish Church, Pililla, Rizal

Columban missionaries and co-workers, with members of the Douglas family, gathered at 5:30am in Singalong St, Manila, on 28 September 2016, the feast day of the first Filipino martyr, St Lorenzo Ruiz. We were commemorating the life and death of Columban Father Francis Vernon Douglas, a New Zealander martyred in the Philippines in 1943. Riding on two buses, 68 of us started our pilgrimage with rain to grace our day, traffic to greet us in between and delays to test our endurance. But these challenges were a small sacrifice compared to the suffering that Fr Vernon bore.

Where His Heart Led Him

Ordination to the Priesthood of Fr Kurt Pala

By Mary Joy Rile

Bishop Elenito Galido of the Diocese of Iligan noted that Fr Kurt Pala was the first Columban from the diocese to be ordained. The Columbans first arrived in what is now the Diocese of Iligan in 1938 and over the years opened up most of the parishes in the diocese. The last Columban left only a few years ago.

Fr Kurt with his mother, Mrs Lilia V. Pala, and his sisters Karina Mae and Krisha Marie

I’ve known Father Kurt since I began working with Misyon in 2008. I have often asked him for photos and articles. We have been sharing each other’s journey and became prayer partners.  Attending his ordination was a grace. Knowing the struggles that he went through all these years, it was very special for me to witness his final YES to God! He recognized the feeling of fear as the day approached. ‘It is scarier than the deaconate ordination,’ he shared. ‘I’m so overwhelmed by the overflowing support, the excitement of everyone in the congregation, friends and relatives, Columban families who flew all the way from different and faraway places. It’s too much for me to contain. They expect so much from me. Can I even keep up with all of this?”  But love was greater. With the full support of his family, his love for God brought him all the way to the altar.

Vocation ‘re-Creation’

By Mary Joy Rile

I was awakened one morning in awe by a flashback of my childhood dream of becoming an astronomer. I loved the study of the planets, the universe, and all heavenly bodies in my elementary years. Then followed my recollection of Fr Vinnie’s sharing the day before on the birth of the universe with the Big Bang Theory, leading to our own births. In a sense we all have the same birth through the call of God when he declared Jesus to be the Savior of the world. Was the universe truly working on births and dates and on how we all started to live in it?

We’re used to reading vocation stories where people tell us how the Call started, what the manifestations were and how they live the Call. But Anne Gubuan, the assistant editor, and I were to see vocation from a different perspective when we went to visit Fr Vincent Busch in Ozamiz City. The encounter started with corn being popped, coffee being brewed and a few jokes. It then went on to Fr Vinnie’s many stories, each seemingly different from the others but all coming together to weave a cohesive web.

‘Keep Happy, Keep Free!’

By Mary Joy Rile

Last June Anne Gubuan, the assistant editor, and I went to Ozamiz City for the ordination of Fr Rodolfo Christopher Kaamiño IV. We availed of the opportunity to interview two siblings from there who are also Columban Sisters. Anne interviewed Sr Teresita E. Bernad while I interviewed Sr Regina E. Bernad, known to all as ‘Sister Inday’.

I was captivated by her gentleness and loved the simplicity of her words, which I hope will also find their way to your heart. Below is the account of my privileged encounter with Sr Regina ‘Inday’ E. Bernad SSC.

Q: How did your calling begin?

Born in what was then the town of Misamis, now Ozamiz City, we grew up with our parents who were really practicing Catholics. We owe our vocation to our parents who were very close to God.

I was teaching in the school when I decided to join the Columban Sisters. I did not need discernment nor pray because I knew I was called. Discernment is more difficult now because there are a lot of things that attract you. How many would want to become missionaries?

Hope For Midsalip

By Mary Joy Rile

There can be no peace without equitable development; and there can be no development without sustainable management of the environment in a democratic and peaceful space. This shift is an idea whose time has come. ~ Wangari Maathai ~

Mindanao, Ang Yutang Gisaad, ‘The Land of Promise’ to its people. The many stories I grew up with – of the diverse natural beauty, the multi-cultural nature, the many stories of struggles, frustrations, hopes and successes – in that part of the country fed my curious mind and a longtime dream of landing on Mindanao soil. That dream was granted when Anne Gubuan, our assistant editor, and I reached Ozamiz City on 24 June, our first stop. We were to visit different areas where Columbans are present. And on 27 June I went to Midsalip, Zamboanga del Sur.


Ordination Of Fr Chris Kaamiño IV

By Mary Joy Rile

Columban PriestThe thought of ordination, wedding, profession of vows and commitment rites always excites me. Every moment is special. I believe in the special grace received being present on those occasions. And I believe that God's hand is working through the newly professed.

I'd been invited to some ordinations before but never made it. So when I learned that I could attend Chris's ordination, I was truly happy. But I thought to myself, I had to control my excitement and believe only when I was there.

I was privileged to meet Chris three days before the ordination. Feeling my own excitement for that day, I was curious to know how it was for him. I asked how he truly felt and he said, 'sagol-sagol man' (mixed emotions), 'di ko kasabot' (I cannot understand). I guess he didn't have to elaborate. Those few words meant much already.