Life Is Beautiful

By Fr. Niall O’Brien, ssc

I hope you have seen Life is Beautiful. But in case you have not, the plot goes like this: Italy, 1939, young man falls in love, he is Jewish, she is a Catholic. Italy is in alliance with Hitler’s Germany and has been infected with German racism – seeking the pure Aryan breed, superior to everyone else. Everyone is swallowing the new ideology. Well, not everyone, Guido, our hero, laughs at it, naturally, because he is a Jew – one of the “inferior” races.


By Sr. Nenita Derama, PDDM

Little by little I am learning to understand the people I am present to through my mission and apostolate. I cannot be like them for I am a Filipino through and through but I can be present to them in a meaningful way trying to bring to them the “Menschlichkeit”, a humanity which reminds them of the God-made-man for us.

Advent in Frankfurt

By Sr. M. Nenitas Derama, PDDM

This is my third Christmas in Germany, and it’s only now that I am beginning to understand the beautiful preparations that they make during Advent. At first, I found them all too hard and austere, especially on Christmas Day when no one could be seen on the streets and there is no sound. Everything is silent. ‘Wala man lang paputok at putukan.’

The Girls in Blue

By: Sr. Mary Necitas Derama, PDDM

All over the world, colonies of Filipinos overseas workers are to be found. Behind the sheep come the shepherds! So missionaries are coming in reverse mission from the Philippines to Germany. Sr. Mary Necitas Derama, PDDM is from the Philippines. She is one of the members of a new community in Frankfurt, Germany.

Two Fold Presence
This is an international community with some Filipino participants. They have a two fold presence: 1) Contemplative-silent adoration before the Blessed Sacrament which they do in Frankfurt’s ancient Gothic Cathedral (above); 2) Active-they run a liturgical center for all Christians. In the center they provide (at a reasonable price I hope [Editor] liturgical items. They even do designers and sculpt some of the items themselves.

Not Just Action
The ‘girls in blue’ when praying in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament wear a blue robe and make sure that the altar is beautifully decorated. In this way they remind us that not just action but prayer and presence is necessary for life. Action without true direction brings disaster.

I was there when the Wall Fell

By Fr. Hermogenes Emmanuel Bacareza, SVD

“The Berlin Wall will stand for a hundred years!” said Erich Honecker, President of East Germany, on a TV program I was watching one evening in July 1989. Yet on November 9 of that same year, a few minutes before midnight, his successor as head of state in East Germany, Egon Krenz, announced: “All citizens of East can go anywhere they want!” Next morning the newspapers printed in bold letters:”Die, Mauer funkioniert nicht mehr!” (The wall doesn’t function any longer!”) I could hardly believe it. It was just too good to be true.