By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD


Before Mass at Christ the King Grotto in Quezon City, Fr Joks Galolo SVD introduced me to one of the guest priests who said, as I thought, ‘I am a Siberian missionary.’ I was happy that at last we had a priest from Siberia. Later, he clarified, ‘I’m Fr Eugene Fuccini, a Xaverian missionary, from Northern Italy.’


After heavy rain, almost all our climbing beans in the compound fell down. I went outside to check and talked to the plants, ‘That is what you get from going too high. Too proud - you never learned from the Tower of Babel.’ Then I noticed my catechist, standing opposite me, laughing. I believe he thought I was talking to myself.


The Medical Assistant working in our town clinic is a good benefactress of the mission. Once, when I was seriously ill, she and her whole staff came and put me on dextrose. Jokingly, I told them that in case of death they should bury me in Nsawkaw, not in Nsawam where our cemetery is. When I woke up at midnight, I was surprised to see all of them in my room, still praying the Holy Rosary. And to my complete surprise, at about ten o’clock next morning, a very worried Fr Victor Leones SVD arrived from Kintampo. He said the catechist called up and told him I was dying. Ooppps, bad joke!


Our pioneer Filipino missionary in Ghana, Fr Victor Leones SVD, brought some star apple seeds when he first went there. After ten years, we are now harvesting the fruit. You can now find many star apple trees here, but Ghanaians call them ‘Manila Apples’ – a good-sounding new name. I used to joke the people that the star apple was the apple Adam ate in the Garden of Eden, since it’s so sweet, luscious and pleasing to the eye.