Hong Kong

Woman - behold thy Son

By Gloria Greganda

The author, from Calamba, Laguna, returned home this year after having worked for 25 years in Hong Kong. This article first appeared in the Mabuhay section of Sunday Examiner, the English-language weekly of the Diocese of Hong Kong.

I am always struck by the thought of what Mary, the mother of Jesus, experienced as she watched her Son being crucified. I always imagine her pain. Her anguish over her Son’s suffering must be really incomparable.

This reminds me of when my daughter gave birth. As I watched her suffer the labor pains, I wanted to take away her pain and bear it myself, so she would not suffer—how much more Mary, whose Son died before her very eyes. Truly, a mother’s endurance is worth admiring.

In the world we live in, many stories have come and gone, stories about mother and child, some very touching and moving, some painful and some inspiring.

As migrant mothers, we too have our share of ups and downs whether in work or in personal life.

Care For Creation Is High On Pope Benedict's Priority List

By Fr Seán McDonagh SSC

Care for creation has become a central theme of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate. In July 2008, he told the dignitaries gathered to welcome him at Government House in Sydney that ‘the need to protect the environment’ was of paramount importance. The following day, addressing a crowd of more than 250,000 young people who had gathered for World Youth Day 2008, he spoke about the feeling of awe for God’s creation which he experienced during his long plane journey from Rome to Sydney. ‘The views afforded of our planet from the air were truly wondrous. The sparkle of the Mediterranean, the grandeur of the north African desert, the lushness of Asia’s forests, the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, the horizon upon which the sun rose and set, and the majestic splendor of Australia’s natural beauty . . . It is as though one catches glimpses of the Genesis creation story – light and darkness, the sun and the moon, the waters, the earth, and living creatures; all of which are “good” in God’s eyes, Immersed in such beauty, who could not echo the words of the Psalmist in praise of the Creator, “how majestic is your name in all the earth”’. 

It was against this background that he delivered his message about environmental destruction. ‘Perhaps reluctantly we come to acknowledge that there are also scars which mark the surface of the earth: erosion, deforestation, the squandering of the world’s mineral and ocean resources in order to fuel an insatiable consumption’. He went on to challenge the young pilgrims: ‘the concerns for non-violence, sustainable development, justice and peace, and care for our environment are of vital importance for humanity’.

Finding My Home

Dearest Father Seán and staff,

Prayerful greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus! I was inspired to write after reading three issues of MISYON which my aunt lent me.

I had already become interested in obtaining a copy of your magazine after reading some stories from it in the Sunday Examiner. So it was a great blessing to have it through my aunt. I considered it as God’s manifestation of His unconditional love for me. All the contents nourish my soul. All the life stories of our dear missionaries are very inspiring and challenging. When I read the January-February 2006 issue only last May due to numerous borrowers, I was really struck by the life shared by Melissa Andrea M. Kayahon when she said, ‘I have learned the deeper meaning of happiness and fulfillment – that this can be achieved not by seeking fun and pleasure alone but by giving one’s self, including your time, talent and resources to make others happy’. This is really true for us migrant workers, especially my fellow workers who commit themselves to volunteer in religious organizations during our holidays.

Door-To-Door – From Hong Kong With Love

Sr Leticia Bartolome ICM

Are you going 'door-to-door?’ A question Filipino migrant worker often asks one another. A positive reply gets a second question: ‘Jumbo, regular, half or bulilit?’ What funny and strange names, I thought. One night, coming home from a meeting with the board and staff of the Asian Migrant Centre here in Hong Kong, I felt exhausted and fell into a deep sleep. It was then that I met Jumbo, Regular, Half and Bulilit in a dream. We talked for a long time.

Meeting Mother Teresa

By Fr Michael Mohally SSC

The first time I was to have met Mother Teresa was in Hong Kong. I was asked to bring a package to her there from where she was to accompany Sisters into China to set up the first foundation of the Missionaries of Charity there. When I got to the convent I was told that the China foundation was on ‘hold’. Newspapers had got hold of the story and said that she was going there as the representative of the Pope. Rather than wait around Mother Teresa had gone to Hanoi to set up a new foundation there.

Made In Hong Kong

Over 120,000 Filipinos work in Hong Kong.  Before the British left in 1997 there were many European officials who needed nannies and household help and were willing to pay good wages and give good conditions.  That has changed now that Hong Kong has reverted to China.  Life has become harder but that message has not got back to the Philippines.  Sr.  Leticia Bartolome, ICM who has worked there for years sends a letter to a friend and tries to change her mind about coming to Hong Kong.

We would like to thank Sr. Leticia for accommodating our request to print her name despite her original request to withhold it.  We salute her for this brave article.

Dear Eva,

Peace to you and all your loved ones!  Thank you for writing and for the trust that you gave me in sharing your hopes and aspirations for the future.  But I am really very sorry to disappoint you, in the same way that I have disappointed so many others who have written me for help to find jobs for them here in Hong Kong.

Hands Of Shame

By Fr Frank Pidgeon CSsR

Warly comes from Bukidnon, from a remote barrio on the island of Mindanao in Southern Philippines.  She is barely thirty, the mother of four.  Her husband is a farmer.  Warly completed her high school education, but she didn’t manage to go to college.

However any lack in her education is more than compensated for by a sturdy but gentle character.  Warly is a woman of surprising maturity, one who thinks and expresses herself clearly and rationally.  Thirty years on the rice fields of Bukidnon, of untiring devotion to her husband and children have taught her to eliminate all show from her life.  Warly is not given to exaggeration.

Not Just Dollars

By Sr. Leticia Bartolome icm

They have been hailed as “new economic heroes” of the Philippines. The estimated 6.5 million Filipino workers in 180 countries endure enormous sacrifices to be able to send home their earnings. Other than working with the special people, Sr. Leticia Bartolome is also involved with these modern day missionaries in Hong Kong.

No Longer Forgotten

In the awesome city of Hong Kong, glistening with the shine of the 21st century, live a small band of marginalized people who are mentally disabled. Sr. Leticia Bartolome, icm and her co-workers bring the news of God’s love to these sometimes forgotten people.

Follow The Yellow Brick Road

Sister Josefina Santos, spc (extreme left) with her companions in Hong Kong

By Sr. Josefina Santos SPC

I grew up in the lovely island of Culion. One day I strayed and found myself in unfamiliar territory walking along a river bank. Because most of the stones were big and slippery I had to walk slowly and with great difficulty so as not to fall. From time to time there were huge boulders, wild bushes, and twisted branches of trees blocking my way. All these obstacles however did not deter me from pursuing what I had set out for – to find the church.