March-April 1999

Misyon Goes To Thailand

By Gee-Gee Torres

We sent our editorial assistant, Gee-Gee Torres, to Thailand to visit our Filipino missionaries. Her task was to visit each of the 10 different groups of Filipino missionaries and report back for Misyon. She found no less than 70 Filipino missionaries there. Here she shares an overview of her journey.

Misyon Assignment

I was thrilled at the thought of being in another country. I was especially excited because this was my first time to go abroad and I would somehow experience missionary life. This trip was a big challenge for me. I had no companion. I didn’t know the people I was going to meet. I couldn’t speak Thai.

The confessions of St. Patrick

Patrick is one of the great missionaries of all times; the church he founded in Ireland itself became missionary and eager to share its faith throughout the whole world. Patrick was one of the first people to take a public stand against slavery.

How did he bring the Gospel to Ireland without the back-up of money or soldiers or a great culture? He used his intimate knowledge of the language and the Irish culture and his personal love for Christ. He was one of the first in ancient times to speak against slavery; this might be because he himself had been a slave in Ireland. His faith has been spread by the Irish people throughout the world and his feast day is celebrated everywhere with great panache and humor and affection. We share with you a few lines from his famous autobiography known as the Confession of St. Patrick written way back in the 5th century.

May it inspire you to read all of that work when you get on opportunity because it contains the clues to true missionary endeavor.

Help, The Bulldozers Are Coming

Columban Fr. Michael Gormly has been monitoring the arrival of Australian mining companies to the Philippines. It worries him that the local people are not really being consulted. Disaster and death are the consequences! Here he tells us of his efforts.

Danger Signals

From mid 1996 my Columban colleagues in the Philippines began to contact me with a growing concern at the arrival of Australian based companies seeking mining concession in ecologically sensitive areas –named in many cases as ancestral domains of tribal people. The transnational quest for mineral wealth became an issue for joint consideration in both countries. We were challenged to face the core issue about what can be done when powerful political, commercial and technical forces threaten a powerless community of the poor.

Learning New Tricks

By Sr. Ma. Lupecina N. Amamio, rvm

I have been a misyonera in two countries: Ghana, West Africa and Papua New Guinea (1991 to present). I was always assigned in the capital cities of both countries. Accra and Port Moresby respectively, where I enjoyed the ease and comforts of a metropolitan life. This year, I was summoned to answer the call to the wilds. Life has become more exciting, more challenging and more meaningful since then.

Teaching at Bema

I was asked to join the teaching staff of Bema Provincial High School. It wasn’t difficult to say yes knowing that my fellow RVM Sisters are already there since 1980. My only reservation was the means of transportation. Roads are non-existent in most parts of Papua New Guinea. The only available transports are small one-engine planes. (Which I dread most) and a tractor. Then came the day when I had to leave Port Moresby which had been my home for the previous three years. I set off by plane for Kaintaba via Kerema. At Kaintaba airstrip a tractor awaited for me and off we went to start my journey at Bema. The thick forest that I had to cross was fascinating. It was adorned with beautiful wild orchids and marvelous waterfalls. It was indeed a paradise with its fauna and flora.

Late Breaker

New Head for Pontifical Mission

A New Head

The Pontifical Mission Society on the Philippines has a new head. None other than Fr. Peter M. Mesiona, msp. This was announced a t the pontifical Mission Annual Meeting in Tagaytay last July.

Rising From The Ashes

By Fr. Raymond Husband

Last year we had a blistering hot Good Friday afternoon. Well before three o’ clock Mariano Cagula set out with his wife Nena and their children for their barrio chapel to attend the ceremonies. They went with a light step and delight in their hearts because Mariano had been chosen to play the part of Christ in the Passion. This was big honor for Mariano, and he took great pride in being chose one. The community of his barrio. San Vicente, in the Philippines had chosen him because of his commitment and dedication. Mariano had spent the morning learning his lines and had been assured by Nena they were correct.

Should Christians Desire To Be Rich?

By Fr. Steve Tynan

Money, money, money must be funny in a rich man’s world.

These lyrics come from a song by Abba written in the midst of the excesses of the ’70 and ‘80s. In a certain way, these words capture something of a sentiment that can be hidden in all of our hearts. Perhaps it is expressed even more succinctly in the cry Russian peasant Topol in Fiddler on the Roof,“If I were a rich man...”

The Crate Of Beer

By Sr. Rosalinda Gonzales, mmm

Sr. Rosalinda is the only Filipino member of the Medical Missionaries of Mary. She is looking after the Kabanga Hospital, much overcrowded since the war in Rwanda. Here she shares with us the heartaches and joys of keeping it all going for them.

I owe you a crate of beer,” Mr. Wim Piels announced when I met him. I was at the Diocesan Development Office at the Bishop’s compound in Kigoma one day in August last year when I literally bumped into Mr. Wim. He is the consultant for Caritas/Memisa (Netherlands) and was visiting the Diocesan Development Office which is under the support of Caritas.

The Inside Story

This is part one of a three-part series from Msgr. Desmond Hartford’s Diary while he was taken captive in Mindanao. Rebel returnees, who were overdue their payment from the Government, kidnapped the intrepid priest in the hope of pressuring g the government, Fr. Hartford tells the day to day odyssey in his own words.

Monday 27 October

This morning when Fr. Rufil and myself reached the beach we were told that the rest of the group were waiting for us in a school above the town. When we  arrived we were put into a jeepney and driven for about 30 minutes into the mountains. Here Fr. Rufil was released and sent back to negotiate with government officials. I was to be kept hostage until the demands were met. We walked for about two more hours. My eight captors are heavily armed. One shot a wild bird which we ate with some rice. Then I asked them to allow me time to pray. We talked in Visayan and Mindanao. They are friendly. I feel peaceful, without fear. But numbed by the experience of betrayal.

A Journey Home

By Tina D’ Alessandro

My eight-year-old son, Jamie, died of cancer. He was the second of our four children, all of them boys. Some weeks later, I was asked to tell a group of our friends how my perception of heaven had been changed by the experience of Jaime’s sickness and death, this is pretty much what I said.

When Jaime was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma in August 1996, the prognosis was very good. That was a great help. Because it would be nearly impossible for parents to put their child through chemotherapy and radiation treatments without trusting that the child would be cured by the procedures, Jamie’s course of treatment also included a bone marrow transplant.

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

Pedestrian

It was a newly painted pedestrian crossing at Sunyani junction. Children are supposed to pick up a red placard waving it to the drivers wile walking to the other side. Just when we were about to cross a child ran across without a placard and simultaneously. Sr. Brenda Guieb, SSpS an I shouted in panic, “Eh, eh, eh...while screeching to a halt. Luckily we missed the boy by just half inch. After a moment, I sighed. “What perfect collaboration between an SVD and an SSpS sister.”