March-April 1998

Guardian Of The Angels

By Claire Wallerstein

The Philippines is a target for sex tourist. Thousands of children are exploited and degraded by pedophiles. A journalist in Manila profiles a missionary priest who has despaired of the authorities and taken a personal initiative against the trade.

A middle-aged tourist in a baseball cap sits at the sleazy bar sipping a beer, and watches the young Filipina dancers gyrating suggestively on stage. After a while, the owner of the joint sidles up to him. “You like the girls? You wanna take one out for the night? Only 500 pesos.” “Maybe, but I really wanted something younger.” “No problem”, replies the proprietor. “I’ve got girls, 14, 15 – virgins too. But they’ll cost you more.”

Fr Shay Cullen

This scene is typical of the sordid deals brokered any night of the week in the girlie bars of Angeles City, capital of the Philippines’ thriving child sex trade. There is just one thing which is not as it seems. The tourist in the baseball cap is not a pedophile -- he is a priest. And in his shirt picket is a tiny, hidden camera which may have recorded enough evidence to put this brothel, one of a staggering 200 in Angeles, out of business.

The Magic Of Ordination Day

By Fr. Neil Collins

There is such a long preparation for ordination--sometimes 12 years--that no wonder it’s a day of magic and a day of destiny. Fr. Neil Collins tells us about Abe Sumalinog’s big day and Fr. Abe shares his personal feelings.

Fr Abe presents himself.

Our neighbor’s rooster woke us early which was just as well for the bus to Kumalarang was at the door just after 6:30am. Within minutes, we were all on board and climbing the hill to Dumalinao. We reminisced about all kinds of farces and tragedies and fell silent as bus passed the cemetery where one of our Columban confreres is buried. A flat tire stopped us briefly in Tubud, a place of cool and clear mountain air. Nobody complained at the delay but all enjoyed the sun or the sound of falling water. Further down the same barrio somewhere was Abe’s house. Them, we were out of the hills into broad rice fields of Kumalarang.

Nicaragua Still Hopes

By Sr. Margarita Jamias, MM

Nicaragua, land of lakes and volcanoes, is a small Central American country the size of Massachusetts. It has a population of 4 million people. Like the Philippines, it is tropical and has similar flora and fauna. The church has been deeply involved in the people’s struggle for liberation. Sr. Margarita Jamias, MM from Masinlok, Zambales, educated in Maryknoll College and Ateneo, tells us of the struggle to promote Basic Christian Communities in Nicaragua.

Teacher Mutombo

By Fr. Wens Padilla CICM

Mongolia Flag

Father Wens Padilla, CICM, a native of Tubao, La Union, Philippines, joined the CICM in 1972 and was ordained in 1976. The next year he was sent to the missions of Taiwan, where he served in parish apostolate. He was Provincial Superior of the CICM Chinese Province from 1986 to 1992, when he was appointed, together with two other confreres, to become the first Catholic missionaries to go back to outer Mongolia. Today there are six CICM men in Ulaanbataar, the capital of Mongolia. One young Zairian intern confrere died in April. Father Wens, the Superior of the District of Mongolia, tells us about Teacher Mutombo.

The Angels Weep

By Sr. Pilar Verzosa, RGS

Jesus said, “Their angels see the grace of God” to emphasize the sacredness of children. However, these angels weep when they see the horrors of child abuse so common today. Maybe it was happening all along and we just didn’t know about it. Sr. Pilar Verzosa of the Good Shepherd Sisters tells us how Welcome House and the RGS Sisters are trying to help.

The phone rang at 9:00 pm. A small quivering voice asked, “Is this K-Love Radio?” “No” I said, “This is Welcome House.” The female voice spoke again, “I was listening to the radio and the announcer said I can call this number if I needed help.” Yes, we are here to help. You seem to have a problem. Do you want to tell me about it? I am Sr. Pilar. I’m a Good Shepherd sister and I am a nurse.” The connection was made.

The Gods Must Be Crazy

By Sr. Janice McLaughlin MM

Who can forget the marvelous movie THE GOD MUST BE CRAZY? It featured the so-called Bushmen of Southern Africa. As we learn from this article, their real name is the San people and many of them live in Namibia where Sr. Imelda Bautista works alongside her Maryknoll companions.

German Colony

Sr Imelda Bautista (right) coordinates education in Namibia's 
48 Catholic Schools.

Angola Diary

By Fr. Efren de Guzman SVD

March 21

I was awakened late at night by a desperate call: “Mano, Mano, (meaning brother). Come and help Devota.” The caller said their relative, an eighteen-year-old girl was thrashing about so violently like an animal. She seemed to be possessed by an evil spirit. Reaching the house, she growled at me like one possessed: “I know you and you don’t know what you are doing.” (The voice was like a hyena) a thought struck me: “Look at her eyes” The ‘demon’ would not look back but said: “She’s mine!” I said, “Leave her now, for I will call on the name of Jesus and the forces of heaven to overcome you.”

We are Easter Women

By Sr. Paula Celina Mandolado RA

God, the God of the impossible

Africa at 58? God must be joking I thought, when I was asked if I want to go to the mission. Never in my 58 years had I ever entertained the idea of going to the mission or of being sent off to a far away land. I had refused offers to go abroad because I was a poor traveler. Just imagine an hour trip to Iloilo would already make me very sick. So how then can I manage the long trip from the Philippines to Africa?

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

Catholic Dog

Before every Sunday Mass in Kintampo we usually have confession. But one Sunday I had been waiting for a long time but no one came. "This is unusual,” I told myself. Then I heard someone saying, “Oh Rex is also going to confession?” I turned around and saw our big dog Rex sitting behind me. People were afraid to come to confession. "Okay, Rex, you are forgiven. Go” Obediently the dog left to the relief of the people who wanted to go to confession.