I Met St Joseph in Manila

By Columba Chang Eun-Yeal

Columba Chang, 2012

We first published this article in the November-December 2003 issue of MISYON. It is a story that can be told and re-told over and over again. The author, a Columban Lay Missionary from Korea who was assigned to the Philippines for many years, is now based in Myanmar.

There may be as many as seven million Filipino overseas workers spread all over the world. They greatly help our country’s economy by the money they send home. However sometimes we seem to take them for granted, thinking that they have an easy life abroad. Read Aling Maria’s story below and find out the dangers our OFWs face and the abuses they experience. We thank ‘Mang Pepe’ for his help in writing this article in which we’ve changed the names.

A Sprouting Hope for Boracay

By ‘Shane’

The author, who is known to the editorial staff here in Bacolod City, prefers to use a pen-name.

Boracay Island, Philippines [Wikimedia]

Boracay is just a tourist destination for many. But for people like me, our world revolves around it. I came here in January 2007 at the encouragement of my uncle to find work here, to be independent and to try to see what I wanted for myself. With my cousin’s assurance of the possibility of a job, I left my small business in Negros and came here instead. I found it simple to live here. No need to wear something extravagant just to fit in. Rich or poor, you could enjoy yourself and be friends with visitors from around the globe.

Where an encyclical hits the nail on the head

One of the criticisms directed against the recently released encyclical penned by Pope Francis entitled Laudato Si’: On care for our common home, is that he does not adequately take the ingenuity of the human being into account.

But the type of ingenuity displayed by logging and mining companies on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao that uses every trick in the book to get around national laws designed to protect the environment is well recognized in his landmark work.

Spreading Happiness through Sign Language

By Richelle H. Verdeprado

The author, a social worker by profession was, until recently, the Editorial Assistant of She is now teaching full-time at the University of Negros Occidental – Recoletos (UNO-R) in Bacolod City.

Your first glance at this young woman from Cagayan de Oro City named Marice would make you remember her curly hair and smiling eyes. But when you would see her use her hands to communicate with the Deaf you would then remember her as someone whose ears and heart are always embracing the Deaf, especially children. You would think of her as a selfless and dedicated volunteer.

Welcome Home Foundation, Bacolod City

Homily at Ordination to Diaconate of Reverend Kurt Zion Pala

By Bishop Honest F. Ongtioco, Diocese of Cubao

On 15 March this year the Reverend Kurt Zion Pala was ordained at the Columban Formation House in Quezon City. The Formation House is within walking distance of Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Diocese of Cubao. The homily has been slightly edited.

The readings for the Mass are here.

The new deacon with Bishop Ontioco and Columban priests and seminarians

We are now in the Fourth Sunday of Lent – Laetare Sunday. Today the Church invites us to reflect on God’s love for the world and to be joyful because of it. ‘Rejoice, Jerusalem! Be glad for her, you who love her; rejoice with her, you who mourn for her’ (Is 66:10-11). The Church invites us in the middle of the penitential season of Lent to rejoice. Why? What is the reason for this rejoicing? Because God loves each and every one of us so much that He gives us His only Son. The message of the Gospel is clear - it is the love of God that allowed Him to give His only Son. It is in this context, Kurt, that you are to be ordained today to the diaconate – a ministry of charity. Your ordination therefore is not only a sign of charity but also the very sacrament of God’s self-emptying love.

‘What have I gotten myself into?’

By Anne Gubuan

There is something about witnessing an ordination ceremony that makes me cry. Maybe it’s the sentimentality of a son leaving his parents to serve the Lord. Maybe it’s the courage I see in these priest warriors, leaving everything and sacrificing so many things. Maybe it’s the feeling of being taken care of by God by sending us these brave and loving shepherds.

Click to Zoom In

From Fear to Friendship

By Beth Sabado

Beth Sabado, hiking in Hong Kong

The author recently finished a three-year term in Hong Kong as Coordinator of the Lay Missionary Central Leadership Team and is currently awaiting a new assignment.

My pilgrimage in, indeed my conversion to, interreligious dialogue started even before I learned the meaning of the word dialogue. Both my parents were from Luzon in the northern Philippines, but in 1946, soon after World War II, my father decided to migrate south to Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur. At the time the town, which became a city in 1969, was predominantly Muslim, according to my father. My mother had a similar migration story and so my parents, even though neither was born there, met and married in Mindanao.

What Missing the Harvest Meant on His Journey

by Richelle H. Verdeprado

They say that our circle of friends can influence who we become. This is particularly true of Fr. Liam O’Keeffe who became a missionary priest after deciding to follow in the footsteps of a school friend who went to the Columban seminary, Dalgan Park, near Navan, Ireland. Since then it has become a decision that is being continually affirmed as he goes on meeting people and going to places where the love of Jesus is shown through the presence of Columbans.

Around County Clare, Ireland

The Jubilee Year of St Columban begins in Rome

Filipina Columban Lay Missionary Rose Basada shares with us her participation in the three-day celebration in Rome marking the opening of the Jubilee Year of St Columban, which runs from 10 October 2014 to 23 November 2015. This year makes the 1400th anniversary of the death of St Columban in the year 615 in the northern Italian town of Bobbio. Rose is based in Birmingham, England.

It was a blessing and privilege for me to participate in the celebrations in Rome to open the Jubilee Year of St Columban, the patron of the Missionary Society of St Columban with whose members we Columban Lay Missionaries work on mission.

Rose, center, waving to Pope Francis

The Jubilee Year began with four major events. They started on 10 October with Ecumenical Vespers at 5:00pm in the Basilica of San Clemente. The church was full of pilgrims from different places in Europe. It was a very moving celebration as people of many cultures and Christian denominations gathered. I was able to meet pilgrims from various churches – Catholic, Anglican and Methodist. The Parish Priest of Bobbio held relics of St Columban during the procession. They are normally kept at the Museum in Bobbio where Columban died in AD 615.