March-April 2007

On The Road To Conversion

By Sister Marivic P. Ching SGBP

Sister Marivic is a member of the Sisters of Jesus Good Shepherd, known as the Pastorelle Sisters. This is one of five congregations founded by Blessed James Alberione (1884-1971) . The congregation’s website, which has an English version, is

I Chose you’:  the words which best expressed my sentiments after struggling with God in my prayers in this new mission. When Sister Marita, Provincial Superior, told me to go to a mission in Chile, I had mixed emotions that were hard to articulate. To be the first Filipina Pastorella in Latin America, and particularly in Chile, in a community composed of Sisters from Italy, Brazil and Peru, was for me quite a challenge. With the grace of God, I agreed to be a member of the Chile-Peru Delegation. I remembered Abraham in his old age, called by God to go to a nation that he had never known or seen before, and, like him, I obeyed.


By Venus C. Vega

The author is a pre-novice with the Columban Sisters

This reflection started with a very simple question, ‘What do you do in your place of ministry?’ ‘I clean leaves by the sackful’, I said. My workplace is in Marikina, about an hour’s ride from where I live. The Tuason Community Center Foundation, Inc is dedicated to empowering women and so most of the workers there are women who are considered poor and marginalized. Except for the few who do administrative work, the rest are non-professionals.

Cleaning leaves by the sackful

Once a week I go to work in the Center as part of my pre-novitiate formation program. One section in the Center is dedicated to the production of herbal medicine. This is where I was assigned. The first time I entered the room where I was to work, I saw nothing but sacks and sacks of dried leaves. My task was to clean the leaves – one by one. The more leaves I clean, the more capsules the workers can produce, and the more money they bring home to their families. My companions are fast workers; they produce as many as 1,000 capsules a day. Naturally, I was nervous the first few days at the Center. I was very slow in cleaning the leaves. I was very cautious. I was fingering each leaf carefully, afraid I might tear it up, as the leaves were very brittle. At the end of each day I felt very, very tired.

Serious About God?

Then get serious about confession

Lent is a time for repentance and the sacrament of reconciliation, which we usually call ‘confession’, is God’s particular gift to the Church where we can experience God’s forgiveness. This article appeared on 17 November in Catholic Sentinel,, where Bishop Vasa writes a weekly e-column. It has been slightly edited.

‘Do not be afraid that your life will have an end;  be much more afraid that it will never have a beginning’

–The Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801 – 1890)



Lord Jesus, we come to you in our need. Create in us an awareness of the massive forces of conflict that threaten our world today. And grant us a sense of urgency to activate the forces of goodness, of justice, of love and of peace.

The God Of Surprises

By Sr Petronila P. Lalic CM

Sister Petronila, from Florida Blanca, Pampanga, shows how the Philippine Province of the Carmelite Missionaries has developed its mission in Indonesia. It also has missions in Taiwan and Thailand. Fifty-one of the 192 professed Sisters in the province work in these missions. You can learn more about the Carmelite Missionaries, or Carmelitas Misioneras Teresianas, at

The author, center, with her confreres at Rumak Adat,
 a sacred place for sacred objects and rites

Mission In The Mall

By Father Dan Joe O’Mahony OFMCap

Deep-sea fishing is very hard work! It’s also a good image of what I’m doing at the moment. It’s very different from the time I was chaplain in various community schools where life was very structured and I had great support. But, we work under the gentle prompting of the Holy Spirit; each day praying, ‘Oh, that today you would listen to the voice of the Lord...Listen...Today...Listen to the Spirit.’ And this has led me to my present position: I am an industrial chaplain, working in a town center or shopping mall.

Attacked In Botswana

By Father Patricio de los Reyes SVD

Father de los Reyes, from Cebu, is SVD Provincial in Botswana-Zambia-Zimbabwe and had an article here in March-April last year. Here he describes a horrific life-threatening attack that occurred before we published it. We were able to report at the time that he was recovering well. But such an experience leaves scars, particularly emotional ones.

Adoration And Contemplation: Priority In Mission

By ‘A Hidden Pearl’

Here we publish the last of a three-part reflection by a ‘Pink Sister,’ now 82, who prefers to be known to our readers as ‘A Hidden Pearl.’ The official name of the congregation is ‘Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration’, . The Sisters have six monasteries in the Philippines.

Jesus chose to live the hidden, humble Nazareth life for 30 long years – years of an uneventful succession of prayer, work, silence and solitude in the company of Mary and Joseph. This was a phase in Jesus’ mystery of which Scripture speaks in a few terse words: ‘and He was subject to them...He grew in wisdom and grace!’ We have been called to the same simple, humble and hidden life – not for just 30 years but for life!

A Renewed Community Of Prayer

By Rowena Dato Cuanico

Rowena ‘Weng’ Cuanico, from Northern Samar, has completed six years as a Columban lay missionary in Fiji and is renewing her commitment for another three years. She tells how a prayer group there comes back to life, thanks to moments of inspiration and a lot of hard work.

As a Columban lay missionary in Fiji, I worked for some time with the Indo-Fijian community in St Pius X Parish in Raiwaqa. I had spent two wonderful years in Holy Family Parish in Labasa working mostly with Hindi-speaking communities, so I was excited once again to accompany Hindi-speaking Catholics in Raiwaqa.

Fiji Archbishop Petero Mataca marked Doreen Lal with the sign of the cross during her rite of entry to the catechumenate
 during her baptism ceremony

A Waiting Missionary

By Fr Ariel Tampus SVD

In the January-February 2006 issue Father Ariel described his experiences as a seminarian during his two-year Overseas Training Program in Zimbabwe, where he was hoping to return. Having been denied a visa for there, he applied for one to Botswana and, a ‘waiting missionary’ no more, left for there in  is the website for the Botswana – Zambia – Zimbabwe province of the Missionaries of the Divine Word, known officially in Latin as Societas Verbi Divini, hence ‘the SVDs’ as their popular name in the Philippines.

PHOTO: Francis Espera

'ICHTHYS' As A Way To The Lord

By Father Raymundo T. Sabio MSC

The author is now serving in the Marshall Islands after many years in South Korea where he was a chaplain in these fields:  Apostleship of the Sea; the welfare of  foreign workers; Incheon International Airport.  His brother, Father Generoso, ‘Gene,’ is now based in the USA (San Bernardino, California) after having worked for six years as Third Assistant General of the MSCs in Rome. Father Gene has a website at while Father Raymundo, ‘Ray,’ has and

The author, standing fourth from left, during their family reunion in 1994

The New Testament contains many references to the realities of rural life. Cattle and wolves, goats and sheep, vineyards and cornfields, the lilies of the field and the mustard seed, the sea and the lake, bread and wine, trees and rivers, stone and mud, and so on. But one important thing seemed to be of special interest to Christ: the fish, ‘ICHTHYS’, in Greek. A number of Christ’s miracles had something to do with fish.

‘Welcome Home, My Little Star!’

By Heidi Lyn O. Veran

The author is a 22- year-old resident of Muntinlupa City. She dedicates this letter to her father and to all other fathers.

Dear Father,

When I was still in my mother’s womb, you set your plans for me. When I was born into this world, you had such high hopes for me just like you did for my other siblings. The first time you held me in your arms you felt your first bliss as my father. You called me your little star, for my eyes were big, round, shining and smiling. You would rock me to sleep, humming your gentle songs, while looking at me and dreaming about what I would become someday. You always said, ‘There’s my child,’ with your proud smile.

To Search is to find

We do not have the answers to every question – maybe only a partial answer that could set you in the right direction. But the very asking of the question is the beginning of the answer.  So why don’t you send us your questions and together we will search.


What does the word ‘Catholic’ mean?

I have adapted this answer from a feature article by Steve Ray which you can find at Catholic Answers at and at, Steve Ray’s own website.  He’s a former Evangelical Protestant involved now in full-time teaching in the Catholic Church as a writer and speaker.



‘If anyone declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven’ (Mt 10: 32). From his childhood, Pedro Calungsod declared himself unwaveringly for Christ and responded generously to his call. Young people today can draw encouragement and strength from the example of Pedro, whose love of Jesus inspired him to devote his teenage years to teaching the faith as a lay catechist. Leaving family and friends behind, Pedro willingly accepted the challenge put to him by Fr Diego de San Vitores to join him on the mission to the Chamorros. In a spirit of faith, marked by strong Eucharistic and Marian devotion, Pedro undertook the demanding work asked of him and bravely faced the many obstacles and difficulties he met. In the face of imminent danger, Pedro would not forsake Father Diego, but as a ‘good soldier of Christ’ preferred to die at the missionary’s side. Today Blessed Pedro Calungsod intercedes for the young, in particular those of his native Philippines, and he challenges them. Young friends, do not hesitate to follow the example of Pedro, who ‘pleased God and was loved by him’ (Wis 4: 10) and who, having come to perfection in so short a time, lived a full life (cf. ibid, v. 13).


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.

My Social Responsibilities

By Dennis Rolan Labandia

Dennis Rolan Labandia is a freshman at Xavier University, Cagayan de Oro. Here he shares his experience of serving his community through the NSTP (National Service Training Program).

In conformity with government regulations, Xavier University requires all freshmen to register for two semesters of NSTP during the regular enrollment period. This is a way of involving them in a commitment to be men and women for others.  In this sense, I feel my social responsibilities pertaining to an active social involvement in community work. This education promotes faith that is committed to the work of justice, preparing each one for an active life commitment as a person for others. It is geared to making the new generations become true catalysts of social change.

BOSSing around

One talk in the Nemi Renewal Course was on how to express anger.  I shared with the group that in Japan, there’s a replica of the Boss in the basement of a particular factory.  Workers who dislike or get annoyed with the Boss can go down and ‘pulverize’ his replica with kicks and Manny Pacquiao-like punches.  After that they feel better and go back to work again.  Coming to the point I said, ‘Imagine you’re a tennis player and see the ball as the head of someone whom you simply don’t get along with, you’ll certainly hit it like a mad man . . .  Everybody will befriend you’.

‘We’re Kiwis’

By Father Bobby Gilmore


Our trivial fights
over spading
The vegetable patch,
painting the garden fence
ochre instead of blue,

And my resistance
to Armenian food
In preference
for everything American,
Seemed, in my struggle
for identity,
to be the literal issue . . .

The author has since graduated from high school. She mentioned an article in the November-December 2002 issue. We are working to have all our back issues, from the first in September-October 1988, available online.

The main website of Couples for Christ is . On the ‘Home Page’ under ‘CFC’s Seven Pillars’ click on ‘Family Ministries’ and you’ll find the link to the Youth for Christ page.