Adventurous Life

Fr Patrick McInerney

‘Three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. Three times I have been shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brethren; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure’ (2 Cor 11:25-27).

Since I joined the Columbans in 1972 I have visited 32 countries, even if some of them only very briefly. For 22 years from 1978 to 2000 I was assigned to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. 

Living in and visiting other countries, I have known the helplessness of not having a clue what is going on around me, of not knowing what someone was saying to me, or how to ask even the most basic (and necessary) directions! 

A Shattered Dream Of Freedom

By Jane Serdoncillo

Jane Serdoncillo is a Columban lay missionary who has been working in Britain since 2000 after three years inPakistan.

Jane Serdoncillo

Fresta, a bubbly, beautiful young wife from Iran, fled from there for fear of her life. I met her through my involvement with RESTORE, a project of Birmingham Churches Together, an ecumenical group supporting refugees and asylum seekers. My work has given me the privilege of listening to their stories, of journeying with women and of being trusted. My work involves visiting and making the initial contact with refugees and asylum seekers before linking them to one of the ‘befrienders,’ generous individuals who volunteer a few hours a week to help and support refugees and asylum seekers in their locality.

Only If You Keep Believing

By Aurora Cañete Luceño

I first came to Pakistan as a Columban lay missionary in 1994 with two other women. We were the third team from the Philippines in the Columban L ay Missionary Program (CLMP) and were nicknamed ‘RP3’.  Pakistan wasn’t my personal choice but when I applied I was prepared to go anywhere on mission. I lived and worked with my team during our nine months of orientation, also a time of discernment. I came to know more about myself, my faith and working with others. I opened up to a new perspective on life and the call to mission. During orientation we were made to see some of the realities, challenges and even dangers that a missionary may have to face.

I’ll Meet You At Mariamabad

By Seamus O’Leary

Mariamabad is the place to go if you want to meet Catholics in Pakistan. Seamus O’Leary, a Columban lay missionary, took part in the annual pilgrimage to its famous Shrine of Our Lady last year. It was an interesting mix of faith, devotion, fun and business.

The annual pilgrimage to the Marian Shrine in Mariamabad in Pakistan took place last year from 10thto the 12th of September. It is about 100 kms from the city of Labore. Several people from there walk or cycle to the shrine for this occasion. Many others do so from even further afield. It takes five days of strong cycling, in scorching late-summer heat, to make it from Karachi. Anyway I opted for the cycle from Shadbagh with a group of young men I had gotten to know over the previous months.

Emma Returns

By Emma Pabera

Emma Pabera, a Columban lay missionary, has lived in the male-dominated society of Pakistan from 1990-1993. Emma is now working with the Columban Lay Mission Program in the Philippines. Recently she had a chance to revisit the country and see old friends.

The Lame Will Walk

By Gee-Gee O. Torres

The great struggle to end anti-personnel landmines continues. Up to now, in spite of the campaign of Princess Diana, Pax Christi and a great number of Christian and to there group throughout the world, some countries continue to make landmines: Pakistan, India, USA, China. Below is an account of our Assistant Editor’s visit to Cambodia where she visited our Filipino missionaries and was faced with the stark reality of the effects of the landmines. (Ed.)

Before I went to Cambodia last year to visit our Filipino missionaries I had to finish laying out our March-April 2000 issue. I also had to edit the articles which I enjoyed doing, except for one: the articles on landmines. I quivered as I read the lines describing how landmines tore off the limbs of the victims. So I went to Cambodia not only with my unpleasant memory of the movie, The Killing Fields, but also with the uncertainty of my safety. I could step on a landmine by chance and lose my leg or... my life. Was I ready to take this risk? I had to make a decision. I decided to go.

Dare To Dream

By Gloria Canama, Columban Lay Missionary

In Pakistan women are second class citizens in culture, in law, in religion and in many small details of daily life. As a result they have a low self-esteem. Gloria Canama tells us how simple Bible sharing helps build up Pakistani women’s self-worth.

My Farewell

By Fr. Cresencio Suarin

I arrived at Lahore International Airport via Karachi on April 30, 1993. As I went to the Baggage Claim Area to collect my belongings, to my surprise, my baggage could not be found. However I was assured that I would get it after a few days.

Sometimes Loving, Sometimes Brutal

By Emma Pabera

Emma Pabera tells about the dilemma of Pakistani wives.

I was in lay mission in Pakistan when a Columban friend wrote to me, “Life will never be the same again after your mission experience.” That was six years ago. I did not understand what he meant then. Not until my mission term ended and I went back home to the Philippines. That is why I was overjoyed when Fr. McGuire, Columban Lay Mission Coordinator, asked me if I wanted to visit our lay missionaries in Pakistan. Without any hesitation, I said, “Yes!”

Baji, Street Sweeper

One of the special persons, I wanted to see was Baji Hanefa (baji is a Punjabi word for sister). I regard her as a mother, a sister and a friend. A gentle woman, hardworking, loving and kind. She has six children, five girls, and an only boy. She works in a government corporation as a street sweeper. Most of the Christian men in the city work as street sweepers while the women as house cleaners in the Muslim families. They are poor but with hard work, Baji and her husband were able to send their children to school. Their son was in college and could speak English. He was one of the parish leaders before he got married. He helped me with our Bible activity in the community. I used to have meal in their house. Sometimes I stayed for the night. I felt at home with them as they regard me as a member of the family.