July-August 2005

Remembering The Columban Fathers

By Ma. Nimfa Penaco-Sitaca

Judge Ma. Nimfa Penaco-Sitaca of the Regional Trial Court of Misamis Occidental was last year named Most Outstanding Judge in the Gender Justice Awards project launched in December 2003 by the Philippines Center for Women’s Studies (UP-CWS), the UP Center for Women’s Studies Foundation, Inc, and the National Commission on the role of Filipino Women (NCRFW). She lives in Ozamiz City.

The light on the lampstand –  today,  that is how I think of the Columban Fathers who  crossed oceans and seas from Australia, Britain, Ireland, New Zealand and the USA to labor in distant mission fields -  the vineyards of the Lord,  in undeveloped Mindanao.   

‘Praying Together, That’s How We Start’

By Ma. Milagros T. Dumdum

Ma. Milagros Teleron Dumdum is a mother, poet, insurance underwriter, teacher, and wife of Cebu RTC Judge Simeon ‘Jun’ Dumdum. This is a slightly revised version of a talk given to students, teachers and families who gathered on 21 January 2003 at the University of Southern Philippines, Cebu, for a prayer vigil for the success of the Fourth World Meeting of Families in Manila.

Fiesta In The Faroes

by Father Seán Coyle

At 1am on Sunday, 30 July 2000, I was dancing with thousands of others in the streets of Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands. It was the culmination of the National Day, the feast of St Olav. We were doing the Faroese Circle Dance. This began with a singer leading a song that recounted the history of the people and seemed to have about 100 verses. Most knew the words. The circles of dancers formed all over the place until everyone was involved. It was quite impossible not to join in. The steps are very simple, two double steps left and one right. The dance to that first song lasted probably twenty minutes and was followed by another. No instruments are ever used.

Fifth National Youth Day 2004

by Marjorie Militar

Marjorie is a third-level student at the University of St La Salle, Bacolod City.

Serving as a lector at St John the Baptist Parish, Bago City, it never crossed my mind that I’d be part of a great event that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.  In December 2003, our parochial vicar, Father Jonas Sumagaysay, told us about an event to be hosted by the Diocese of Bacolod the following November.  Soon, we found ourselves busily preparing to welcome the Pilgrim Cross. It went from parish to parish, staying in each for two to three days, from Hinigaran in the south of the diocese, toSilay City in the north, visiting schools along the way, before returning to San Sebastian Cathedral for the start of …NATIONAL YOUTH DAY 2004.

Partners In Mission

By Rheena Babanto 

Former Columban lay missionary Rheena Babanto now works as a college counselor at St Scholastica’s College, Manila.

We arrived in Korea in April 1997, springtime. I can still remember how bulky we looked because of our three or four layers of clothing to battle the cold Siberian wind. We spent nine months learning the language. During that period I went once a week after class to a kind of day care center in a poor area in Seoul. Children with both parents working are sent there for the day. I taught them English nursery songs. I remember the first time we met, they stared at me with amazement, telling me how big my eyes were. They often looked confused when I struggled to speak Korean. The fun the children shared with me made the stress of learning the language more bearable.

God Rescued Me From Great Pain

By Luzviminda O. Cañete

The author lives with her husband, their 14-year-old son and their 10-year-old twins, a boy and a girl, in Midaslip, Zamobanga del Sur.

It was like a flash of lightning and the roar of thunder when my attending physician at Mercy Community Hospital, Iligan City, told me, after a series of blood tests, that I had Chronic Myelogetic Leukemia (CML). That was 12 February 2003, around 3pm, the time our Lord Jesus Christ shed his precious blood and died on the Holy Cross for us. I was shocked and speechless. Tears didn’t fall - my eyes were wide in shock and my mind numb. I kept saying to myself, ‘God, I cannot believe it ... even in my worst dreams I hadn’t expected this. Of all people why me? Why not the drug lords, the drug pushers? Why not the rapists, the kidnappers?’It’s not easy to face reality immediately. There were thousands of ‘whys’ in my mind, the diagnosis echoing in my ears until my sister-in-law held my arm and consoled me by saying, ‘Kaya mo iyan because God has a special plan for you.’

The Challenge Of Making Decisions

By Sister Anne Carbon SSC

Columban Sister Anne Carbon of Cagayan de Oro took her final vows in 2003. She ministers to those suffering from the psychological effects of Peru’s years of political violence.

When I entered religious life in the mid-’90s, it was certainly different from the life the older Sisters had lived for years and years. Gone, in some congregations, were the days of superiors, the formality of wearing a religious habit and serving in institutions such as schools and hospitals.

From Mahayag And Marawi To Toronto

By Adelaida A. Cantona

Adelaida A. Cantona, now living in Toronto, Canada, tells us how Columbans formed her as a child and as a professional, and how their influence guides her in a new country.

I grew up in St Michael Parish, Mahayag, Zamboanga del Sur, run by Columban priests for many years. In fact, my early image of God was strongly associated with Columbans in white sotanas, talking to us kids who loved to play in the church playground.

‘We Wish to See Jesus!’

by Marjorie Militar

Marjorie is a third-level student at the University of St La Salle, Bacolod City.

Serving as a lector at St John the Baptist Parish, Bago City, it never crossed my mind that I’d be part of a great event that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.  In December 2003, our parochial vicar, Father Jonas Sumagaysay, told us about an event to be hosted by the Diocese of Bacolod the following November.  Soon, we found ourselves busily preparing to welcome the Pilgrim Cross. It went from parish to parish, staying in each for two to three days, from Hinigaran in the south of the diocese, toSilay City in the north, visiting schools along the way, before returning to San Sebastian Cathedral for the start of …NATIONAL YOUTH DAY 2004.

World Youth Days

By Claire Dulac

Claire Dulac grew up in Haines Junction, a small town in the Yukon Territory in northwest Canada. She attended the World Youth Days in Denver, USA (1993), Manila (1995), Paris, France (1997) and Rome (2000). Here is an edited version of a letter she sent to friends after Rome.

My Dear Friends in Christ,

I have just physically returned from an amazing journey with God and with friends, though my spiritual journey continues. I was extremely privileged to be one of two million youth to attend the Jubilee World Youth Day (WYD) Pilgrimage in Rome, Italy, from 13 to 23 August 2000. What a truly encouraging, spiritual, wonderful, and enlightening experience this was for me.

Remembering Him

By Claire Dulac

Claire Dulac, whose letter on WYD 2000 appears in this issue, gave this talk at a memorial Mass for Pope John Paul in her parish church, St Joseph’s, Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada, on 4 April, two days after the death of Pope John Paul II.

I find it fitting that the youth of this diocese have been asked to speak about their experiences with the Holy Father when we could hear tens of thousands of young people singing in St Peter's Square as he lay on his deathbed. The Holy Father said then, ‘I sought you out and now you come to me. Thank you.’

A Student’s Letter To Father Bert

By Cathleen E. Caga-anan

Cathleen ‘Nayie’ Caga-anan, now a 4th year high school student in St Scholastica’s College, Manila, wrote this letter to Father Bert Layson OMI in response to his article Peace Progress in our January-February issue. She has given us permission to reprint it.

Dear Father Layson,

 

Greetings! I’m Cathleen Caga-anan or Nayie, a 3rd year high school student at St Scholastica’s College, Manila. We are encouraged to read Misyonwhere I read your story, Peace Process.

A Young Reader In Ilocos Is Inspired By An Article From A Teacher In China To Be A Catechist To Small Children In Her Own Place.

Dear Mr Nicholas Murray,

Greetings of peace and joy!

I am Donnalyne Savellano, a fourth year high school student of St Paul College of Ilocos Sur, a Catholic school.  As part of our training and formation as ‘Paulinians,’ we have Religion and Values Education as one of our major subjects.  The school also supplements this with every issue of Misyon.

I know what my plans for you are’

By Lester Alamares

Lester Alamares, a teacher, is a former seminarian with the Columbans.

In high school, I heard many stories from my teacher about ordinary people making a big difference in the lives of others. These stories so inspired me that I wished that someday I, too, would make a difference in the lives of other people.

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

THE TINY MICROPHONE

I said Mass at Good Shepherd Convent in Baguio. It happened to be the Feast of Sto Niño. When Mass was about to begin, I had a little problem with the tiny microphone on my vestments. While struggling to put it on, I mindlessly said to myself, ‘Even their microphone is so small, like a Sto Niño …’ – unaware that the mike was on. I was so embarrassed when I saw the people smiling. Obviously they heard what I said. Me and my big mouth!

Manila

By Claire Dulac

Claire reflects on her Manila experience, ten years later.

Specifically, WYD has strengthened my journey with God and opened my eyes to a whole world out there that exists beyond all understanding over here in Canada. Traveling to Denver, Manila, Parisand Rome to see other youth and their devotedness to God and to Christianity is still mind boggling. Coming from a parish of a maximum of twelve parishioners, including our family, to a world parish of five million in Manila was overwhelming. I was encouraged to know that there are many youth around the world who want to seek God.

‘Sisters, your god is great!’

By Sister Bernardisa Pacis SSpS


Sister Bernadisa (2nd from right) with fellow SSpS Sister and their helper in their apartment

Sister Bernardisa, from Bacarra, Ilocos Norte, went to India in 1961. Her community of the MissionCongregation of the Servants of the Holy Spirit live in Kolkota (formerly ‘Calcutta’), near the motherhouse of the Missionaries of Charity where the remains of Blessed Teresa of Kolkota are kept.