Coming To The Light

By Father Garry Gestoveo

Father Garry Gestoveo, from Victorias City, Negros Occidental, joined the CICMs in 1990 and was sent to Japan in 2000. Ordained in 2004, he is the assistant parish priest of Fukuyama Church in the Diocese of Hiroshima, Japan.

Volunteers hold a distribution of towels
and clothing for the winter season

My Gratitude To Columban Missionaries

By Dalisay Barrera Sena Yu

The author expresses her gratitude to Columban missionaries in Olongapo City and shares some of her experiences in Zambia, where she and her husband worked. She now works in Japan and has children in Australia and the Cayman Islands. Last year she became the proud grandmother of twin boys.

I am pleased to read your magazine as it reminds me of my happy days in Columban College, Olongapo City, where I finished my high school and college education. I was a Catechist under the Columban Fathers and an active Student Catholic Action (SCA) Cell leader when Columban Sister Una was our Spiritual adviser.  One semester she recommended me for a scholarship when I wouldn’t have been able otherwise to continue my education because my big sister was graduating from the University of the East.  My father couldn’t afford to send both of us to college at the same time.  Sister Una encouraged me to continue my studies and I was granted the scholarship because I was active in SCA and a Catechist. My Dad and Mom were so grateful to the Columban Fathers and Sisters that time.

Melody Lingers On

By Fr Fintan Murtagh

The author is a Columban priest who has worked in the Diocese of Iba, Zambales, since coming to the Philippines in 1964. He is a parish priest and also works with persons with disabilities.

Melody skiing with friends in Japan during the Duskin Leadership Training

Her name was Melody. It must be more than twenty years ago now since I first met her on a Saturday afternoon at the chapel in her barrio. A friend had transported her on a tricycle. She was able to maneuver herself from there. Melody had been severely affected by polio since she was only three or four. The lower part of her body was severely deformed because of this but she moved herself about in a sitting position by propelling her feet with her hands.

My Mission Impossible

By Fr David Buenaventura SDB

For seven years, Fr. David Buenaventura was a missionary priest in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. Then the time came for him to serve his fellow Pinoys struggling to live in a country that is rich in everything except Christianity – Japan.

I was appointed parish priest for Filipinos living in the Catholic Diocese of Oita in January 1997. The appointment was the first of its kind in Japan. We have a good number of Filipino priests working in Japan, but no one had been appointed parish priest. My appointment was based on Canon 518, which talks about the Personal Parish. I didn’t have a convent or a parish church. When asked by my parishioners, “How come the other parish priests in the diocese have their own convents and churches while you, Father, don’t have?” I would tell them with pride: “This is so because your homes are my convents and each Filipino community is my church.”

The Infant Jesus Finds A Home

By Fr Barry Cairns MSSC

Have you ever attended the solemn opening of a Catholic Church? It’s quite an impressive ceremony. We at St. Joseph’s Church in Katase, Japan had almost the same grandeur for the opening of our stable – that is, our Christmas crib. Building this Nativity scene was very much a community effort.

When I Met Leonila

By Francis Xavier Shigeki Ishikura

In an unexpected way, a Japanese married to a Filipino found his way to the Catholic faith. Here he tells of his journey and how his wife, Leonila, became instrumental to his change of heart.

My first encounter with the Catholic Church was through my wife, Leonila, a Filipino from Bulacan, who is a Catholic. It all began after our marriage when I had to drive her and our children to church. At first, once a month, then twice or three times until ten years passed in no time.

The Peddler

By Fr. Rolly Aniscal ssc

I was selling fruits in a bus terminal before I knew the Columbans. Being the eldest of five, I had to help my parents in this kind of livelihood. Since seven, it had been my life. My parents were peddlers at a bus terminal and through them I learned to face one of the hard facts of life: how to live in a situation where what you earned on that day is consumed on that same day. I had no intention whatsoever of finishing college because I didn’t see any reason of doing so. What the use? Money flows in the terminal if you are industrious enough to run when the bus arrives and know how to entertain people in order to buy your fruits. Frugality then became my acquired value- save the last penny because it is not easy to get it.

Father Joe, Wake Me Before I Die!

By Fr. Joseph Brooder, mssc

By the time I got to Japan twenty-five years ago, ecumenism was very strong. But it had not always been that way. One Protestant minister told me that when Father Pat Diamond sent an invitation to all the Protestant ministers in the City of Kumamoto to attend the opening of the new hall in Tetori parish, they got together to discuss whether it would be safe to attend or not. They prayed about it, but decided to risk death and attend. The rest is history.

They where bowled over by the reception they got, met priests whom they found to be normal after all, and had a great party. “We discovered that Catholics really do believe in Christ,” said one of the ministers. That was the beginning of different churches working together in Kumamoto. Perhaps Father Pat Diamond did more for ecumenism there by that invitation than did Vatican II. Since then every Christmas Catholic and Protestant churches hire out the local threatre to hold a Christmas pageant. Catholic and Protestant schools stage the nativity in drama. On alternate years, the guest speaker is Catholic or Protestant.

My Buddhist Family

By Fr. Rudy Fernandez, sj

I would like you to meet my friends Akihiro and Noriko Yoshida. They are special. They both come from traditionally Buddhist families. Akihiro’s mother is a very devout Buddhist. Noriko received her high school and college education at a school run by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

A Grain of Salt

By Fr. Jaime Del Rosario, omi

I came here in Japan 1996, I was ordained in September, 1995 at the Our Lady of Grace Parish in Caloocan City as an O.M.I. priest. I ministered in that Oblate Parish as a deacon and then as a priest for some months. Coming to Japan as a new priest, at the age of 28 is a really challenging mission for me.

The Oblates are known to going for the most difficult missions. As a seminarian I had a great desire to go the difficult missions, particularly in foreign lands. I thought that it was a noble self-offering to the Lord. But now that I’m into a difficult mission, I begin to realize that “difficult” really is difficult.