July-August 2003

First Filipino Monastery In Ghana

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

Archbishop Gregory E Kpiebaya of Tamale Archdiocese, Northern Ghana, flanked by two bishops and an archbishop emeritus, together with about sixty priests, sisters and religious, blessed and dedicated the first Filipino Carmelite church and monastery in Ghana on August 8, 2002, in a colorful ceremony flooded with lights and flashes from videos and cameras. From beginning to end, three groups of choristers kept the celebration on fire singing alternately hymns in English and in local languages to the rhythmic beating of drums and tambourines. The monastery is the first missionary foundation of Carmel in the Philippines and the first Carmelite monastery in Ghana.

The Horror Of Payatas

By: Fr Colm McKeating

The author, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, is Regional Director of the
Columbans in the Philippines. 

The name Payatas evokes a horrible image: the 22-hectare, 22-to-45-meter-tall open dumpsite used to dispose of the daily garbage of Metro Manila. Located in a low-lying part of Quezon City, it was chosen about 20 years ago as a relocation area for the notorious ‘Smokey Mountain’ in Tondo, the similar dump and embarrassing eyesore close to the center of Manila. It was hoped that being less visible on the rim of the urban sprawl, it might lessen the impact of social squalor and perhaps become forgotten.

Mosquitoes In Mali

By Frances E. Edillo

Mali, a west African country that straddles the arid Sahara in the north and the semi-arid Sahel in the south, has a land area more than four times that of the Philippines and a population of less than 9,000,000. Frances Edillo, from Southern Leyte, on leave from the University of San Carlos, Cebu, is working on her doctoral thesis at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Far Away

By Eric and Margaret Young

It is difficult for parents to let go of their children.  Here, Eric and Margaret share with us how they cope with their daughter’s absence.  Sarah left England and came to the Philippines as a missionary.  In her article, ‘Happy where I am’, she shares with us her life away from home.

Phone bills are suddenly much larger.  Kitchen scales, which have done good service for years, are repaired because accuracy is suddenly essential for the cost of the parcels.  Why?  Because our ‘child’ is thousands of miles away, and it is vital to keep in touch.  This is the age of adventure, freedom, cheap travel.  Youngsters take gap years between high school and university, leave home with a backpack and head off into the wide blue yonder.  Anxious parents meet and swap notes and worry about their absent offspring.  Parents in the United Kingdom have come to terms with the fact that they won’t see their young until the gap year is run.

Happy Where I Am

By Sarah Young

Teria Cabalog is a ‘five-weeker’ – she has completed the five-week ‘Christian Community Workshop’ facilitated by the team of the Community Formation Center (CFC), Ozamiz City.  She and her family welcomed me into their home in Barrio Estrella in January 2002.  Their home is now my home.  With Teria I attend the monthly meeting of the ‘five-weekers’ in Katipunan. I soon came to realize that the ‘five-weekers’ help sustain the small Christian communities under the wing of Katipunan Mission Station in the uplands of the Municipality of Sincacaban, Misamis Occidental.  The agenda of the meetings is wide-ranging, from agricultural matters to the spiritual well being of the communities.  The ‘five-weekers’ here are farmers and when not tending the needs of the community they are tending their crops and animals under the shadow of Mt Malindang, around which the province forms a semi-circle.

‘Bago-ong Eksperyensiya’

By Sr Leticia Bartolome ICM

This is a privileged trip!  I’ve neither passport nor visa nor do I have to pay travel tax to leave the Philippines.  I haven’t seen anyone yet as I’m sitting in a dark and crowded place.  In less than two hours we land in Hong Kong.  I can’t see anything yet, though I feel movement around me.  Finally, air and light enter.  Aaahhh!  The box is being opened. Will they let us out?

A Poem By Fr Rufus

Columban Father Rufus Halley was shot dead in Lanao del Sur on 28 August 2001.

On 19 February this year the Aurora Aragon Peace Foundation and Concerned Women of the Philippines posthumously gave Father Rufus the Aurora Aragon Peace Award ‘for Peace Advocacy and Peace Making.’

The dawn has broken through

The fears and snares of darkness
Are shattered, scattered, put to rout
Hold your head up high, oh man,
And taste the sweetness of morn.

Behold, she’ll rise far to the East
Strong and gentle in silence.
Rejoice, oh man, your freedom’s nigh
The wiles, the winter, snares and shackles are no more

My God, my God, how great you are
For He has set me free.
The lush and fragrant misty dawn
Bejewelled awaits her rising sun

Whilst the morning star retires in silence
Without fanfare, her job well done
And Mother Earth enfolds us all
And bids us drink from her abundant breasts

A Late Life

By Joy Amiloquio

I belong to the Teresian Association (Institución Teresiana), an international Catholic lay association present in 30 countries. Our founder was a Spanish secular priest, Pedro Poveda, martyred in 1936 and beatified on October 10, 1993. I was only 16, in first year at the university, when I came to know the group, 18 when I was formally accepted, and 22 when I came to Taiwan, home for me now. I see an irony in having been sent as a missionary at an early age while my work involves a late life. Father Poveda wrote ‘Your mission is to season the tasteless wherever you go, in the place where you live, among the people you meet.’ I try to be salt and give flavor to the context where I am and that is being with students at an unusual time – a late life. Poveda went on, ‘It is good deeds that witness for us and speak with incomparable eloquence of what we are.’ I try to be a witness by my good deeds in the university, by ‘wasting’ quality time, even late at night – a late life. How would I know the hunger for God in others if I wasn’t around to listen to their questions?

It’s sort of late to be arriving home every weekday evening at 11:30. It’s sort of strange to be with students on a pleasant Sunday afternoon when you’re supposed to take your weekend rest, stranger still when you’re in school on Sunday nights. Why am I out of the house on weekends, spending time with students with it isn’t a school day?

A venue for the youth to express themselves and to share with our readers their mind, their heart and their soul. We are inviting you – students and young professionals – to drop by Our Hideaway and let us know how you are doing.

Former Atheist

By John Marc Acut

Almost everyday a classmate or a friend would drop by and casually say, ‘You are an "atheist" right? Why the sudden change? This going to Mass and all seems so bizarre for you.’ In reply, I would give my usual smile and start my story…

Upon my entrance to the teenage world, I faced so many troubles. Aside from being so many, they were also very heavy. They included a 75 in my Integrated Algebra, a broken heart and classmates who did not accept me as one of their own. It all came so suddenly that my emotional defenses weren’t able to help much.