Misyon Online - January-February 2017

From the Editor

At a gathering of young people in Turin on 21 June 2015 a young woman named Chiara asked Pope Francis, Often we feel disappointed in love. What does the greatness of Jesus’ love consist in? How can we experience his love?’ He answered, And now, I know that you are good and will permit me to speak sincerely. I don’t want to be a moralist but I would like to say a word that isn’t liked, an unpopular word. Sometimes the Pope must also take risks to speak the truth. Love is in works, in communicating, but love is very respectful of people, it does not use people, that is, love is chaste. And to you young people in this world, in this hedonistic world, in this world where only pleasure, having a good time, and living the good life get publicity, I say to you: be chaste, be chaste.

Hangop Kabataan

By Jocelyn Ocariza-Efhan

The author, known to her friends as ‘Jojo’, is from Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur. St Isidore Parish, Dumalinao, was founded by the Columbans in 1957.  

The Author

‘Paduola kanako ang mga bata . . . kay ang gingharian sa langit ila sa mga tawo nga sama kanila’ – ‘Let the children come to me . . . for the kingdom of heaven belong to such as these' (Mt 19:14). Fr Michael Sinnott shared this, his favorite verse from the Bible, with me and it continues to inspire me, to ‘fuel me up’, every day as I attend to children with special needs.

My Indian Fathers in Fiji

By Fr Kurt Zion Pala

Father Kurt was ordained in his native Iligan City, Mindanao on 21 November 2015. After his ordination he spent some months in Our Lady of Remedies Parish, Malate, Manila, before moving to the Columban house in Cagayan de Oro City where he has been involved in vocation work, mission promotion and fundraising. He will be leaving for his new assignment in Myanmar early this year.

Father Kurt, center, with Abba Sam Daniel and Reverend Roneel Avinay

‘“Abba”, call me that,’ my host father responded when I asked him how I should call him. ‘Abba’ is the Hindi (Indian) word for ‘father’. Sam Daniel would be my third host-father in Fiji. He is Anglican and lives with his wife near their church. They have a son, Roneel, who is now an Anglican priest. Abba works as the school manager of the Anglican Church-run schools in Labasa. He would wake up to feed the chickens. After breakfast he would drive me to the Catholic church for my Hindi lessons and he would report to school. In the afternoon, we would then meet at a small shop near the school and have small talk with his friends. In the evening some of the neighbors would come over and we would have a game of cards and enjoy a big bowl of kava.

‘Why me? Why me?’

By Anne B. Gubuan

This is the vocation story of Fr Finbar Maxwell from Ballyfermot, Dublin, Ireland, who was ordained as a Columban priest in 1988. The author is Assistant Editor of MISYONonline.com.

Anne, far left, Father Finbar, far right, Pililla, Rizal, 28 September 2016

I am always spellbound listening to vocation stories.  They are almost always stories of faith and courage, the pain of letting go and braving the oceans of a missionary journey. What makes these stories extra fascinating for me is the fact that these missionaries leave their families without the promise of going back to be with them again.  I don’t think I have or will ever have that kind of courage.

The Joy of Encountering God’s Presence in the Andes

By Erl Dylan J. Tabaco

The author is a Columban seminarian who spent two years, 2014 – 2016, in Peru on his First Mission Assignment (FMA), part of his preparation to be a Columban missionary priest. He is from Holy Rosary Parish, Agusan, Cagayan de Oro City. He is a regular contributor to MISYONonline.com.

Erl with the Peruvian flag at Machu Picchu

Since childhood I have been fascinated by geography. As a child I loved to build ‘islands’ and ‘mountains’ of sand on the seashore and imagine myself at their summits. It was a lifelong dream to travel but being in Peru was far beyond my imagination.

Pope Francis praying at the Western Wall, Jerusalem 2014 [Wikipedia]

All of us want peace. Many people build it day by day through small gestures and acts; many of them are suffering, yet patiently persevere in their efforts to be peacemakers. In 2017, may we dedicate ourselves prayerfully and actively to banishing violence from our hearts, words and deeds, and to becoming nonviolent people and to building nonviolent communities that care for our common home. Nothing is impossible if we turn to God in prayer. Everyone can be an artisan of peace.
Pope Francis, Fiftieth World Day of Peace, 1 January 2017

To Search is to find
January – February 2017

I am amazed at how some people can very well testify about their personal encounter with God, how vivid their experience of God manifesting Himself. I am happy for them but at the same time I envy them. In my lifetime I can’t remember a moment of a close encounter with God. Why can’t I feel Him? Is there something wrong with me? What must I do?

Dublin buses [Wikipedia]

In 2013 years I was traveling on a bus in my native Dublin, Ireland. There was a girl of about 16 or 17, accompanied by a little boy of about three, standing near the driver. She kept talking into her cell-phone and seemed agitated. Finally she asked passengers near her, ‘Have we come to Blanchardstown Centre yet?’ I was astonished as I had boarded the bus after it had come from there. I knew by the girl’s accent that she was from Dublin. She was lost in her own city. I figured that the boy was her brother, but possibly her son.