January-February 2009

Though I’ve been in the Philippines for more than 37 years, longer than most Filipinos, I am not a Filipino nor can I ever be, even if I acquire citizenship. Filipinos whom I knew as children in Mindanao are now citizens of Ireland, my native country. Indeed, they have more rights there than I have. Though I’ve been a permanent resident here for 32 years I cannot vote, whereas my former parishioners in Ireland with the same status can vote and run for office in the local elections we hold every five years. Those who are citizens and living there can vote in all elections and even run for President, whereas I can’t.



By Fr Leo Donnelly

A little girl with her small brother strapped on her back gives us a glimpse of life in the mountains of Peru, especially for children. For me it stirred lots of memories, mostly good, but also some sad ones.

The little girl stands on a rise in the village of Huacuas overlooking Cotosh in the Andes Mountains.

It’s a half-hour drive just to get down to the Cotosh school, but the locals go down the hill on foot in 15 minutes. Cotosh was as far as we could travel in a jeep from the parish centre in Huasahuasi.

My Missionary Life is the Fruit of a Dream

By Marife Padao

Leaving family in the province for greener pastures in the big city is quite common for a fresh college graduate to do. It was 1997 in Manila when I volunteered at the Elderly Program in Payatas, Quezon City, where the Vincentian Fathers are based. Payatas is the place where the trash slide happened in July 2000. My purpose was to acquire a volunteer certificate for future use for applying abroad while doing my self-review for the board exam.

There I met religious people - priests, nuns, lay missionaries and seminarians. Gradually I learned to love my work and enjoy it. I forgot the purpose and the pursuit of my dream of working in a hospital abroad.


By Corazon Mendoza

October 2007 I thought of asking the students in my Values Education classes to start giving 25 cents everyday for the poor. The ‘poor' I had in mind were students who can't pay their tuition fees before final examinations, when students are required to clear school obligations.

Simple and clear explanation of the purpose 
The students of ZSNHS, Pagadian City , are a mixture of rich and poor, Christian and Muslim, but the reality is that the majority of them are poor.

What WYD Showed Me

By Gelkoff Calmerin

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!


By Father Gary Walker

Holy Family Home is across between a boarding school and a refuge, It is a safe haven of brightly colored walls, plants and peacefulness on the outskirts of Bacolod, a city on the sugar-rich island of Negros in the Philippines. The 40 or so girls who live there and the 15 or so college students who live in a house near the city center are from poor families who cannot afford to educate their daughters or from families in which the girls could be at risk if they were living at home.