May-June 2000

We Met In The South Seas

By Michael Dalton

Enriqueta, once one of Fr O'Brien's community leaders, visits him at Misyon Office with her husband, Michael Dalton

In 1993, Enriquita arrived in Western Samoa to begin her role as a lay missionary at Paul VI College and as an Incola Mariae of Legion of Mary to share her gift and to learn about life outside the Philippines. After two years in Western Samoa she moved to American Samoa in 1995 to work at Fasso High School and work as Math and Science teacher for another two years.

Life Is Beautiful

By Fr. Niall O’Brien, ssc

I hope you have seen Life is Beautiful. But in case you have not, the plot goes like this: Italy, 1939, young man falls in love, he is Jewish, she is a Catholic. Italy is in alliance with Hitler’s Germany and has been infected with German racism – seeking the pure Aryan breed, superior to everyone else. Everyone is swallowing the new ideology. Well, not everyone, Guido, our hero, laughs at it, naturally, because he is a Jew – one of the “inferior” races.

The Women Whom Korea Should Mourn

By Sr. Minerva Dangaran, ssc

Sr. Minerva Dangaran and Fr. Al Utzig have started a rural missionary community in Korea. They live like the farmers who till the land for their living. Here Sr. Minerva tells us about her first and last day in Potato field.

Our village has a work leader. We call him the Taejang. This leader organizes the women, goes around to pass the news for available work, negotiates with the field owner and receives money for the laborers.

Who Will Climb The Mountain Of The Lord?

By Maricel Bedra

Today Catholic Ireland is going through a crisis. Undreamed of wealth has arrived along with a nightmare of scandals. Young people struggle to deal with the new reality. Some leave the church, some drift into indifference, a small but growing number even commit suicide. But some remain faithful and Maricel Bedra, a Columban Lay Missionary from the Philippines, joined these youthful people in an arduous pilgrimage of the Holy Mountain, the mountain of Patrick, the original apostle of Ireland. She shares the experience with us.

Where God Leads Me

By Sr. Soledad Ladores, fmm

I came to Amman Dec. 5, 1984 after doing two years of Arabic Course in Jerusalem. I tried to help the sister-in-charge of the catechism classes  in our parish but I realized that my Arabic was not good enough to do any apostolate among the Arabs. I was really searching for an involvement. One day, while on a visit to Jerusalem, a Filipino sister handed me a letter written by a Columban priest, Fr. Charles Meager, during his visit to the Holy Land in August 1984. I happened to know the priest as he was our parish priest when I was assigned in Iligan City in Mindanao. The letter read:

Channel Of Peace

By Fr. Philip Yu Jr., cicm

Our seminary in Zambia is composed of small traditional huts made of mudbricks and thatched roofs. I love the work of helping to ‘form’ the young Ghana seminary but recently I have plunged into another apostolate at the side.

Our Bodies Across The Road

By Sr. Xavier Marie Bual, spc

Lanao del Sur, Which holds the beautiful Lake Lanao that empties to the North through Lanao del Norte at the majestic Maria Cristina Falls, is the main source of electricity for most of Mindanao, generated by the falls’ hydroelectric power plant managed by NAPOCOR. Lake Lanao is surrounded by untouched forest to the east, south and west. The southern area extends its forest far to the south of the province near the boundary of North Cotabato particularly the mountains of Wao which is the last municipality of Lanao del Sur. The main product of the area is corn, planted on rolling hills extending beyond the boundary to North Cotabato. Their area used to be covered with thick forest. The loggings companies cut these forests, built the roads and connected the small towns of Bukidnon, Lanao del Sur and North Cotabato. There is no road that cuts through the forest around Lake Lanao. This is precisely to protect the watershed of Lake Lanao.

Restoring The Years Which The Locusts Have Eaten

By Claire De Brit

The author of this little life story, Claire De Brit, has been through her own spiritual journey, a journey which at times involve darkness and suffering. But in recent years, Claire feels that she has come out into the light. Her youngest child made a decision which Claire felt was going to destroy her life. This new light helped Claire know what to do. Here she tells us the simple tale which will mean so much to some mothers and fathers who read this.

When I was a child my family said the rosary every night – on our knees, faces into chairs and off we went. My memory of this is of impatience and feelings of utter boredom. I was restless and ill-at-ease. As I grew up and eased away from the family circle I also eased away from the rosary. In school when the nuns recited it I automatically turned off; I had absolutely no interest at all and found it long and boring. Then I married, and had three children and we never recited the rosary. However as time went on and I began to slow down a little bit I would hear the rosary prayed in my local church. It seemed to have a new sound and I felt drawn a little at a time.

A Strange Welcome

Fr. Alvin Parantar, msp

 I arrived in the Solomon Islands on February 25, 1998 and since then I have been working in Tangarare Parish in Guadalcanal. My first program was to visit all the 28 villages that belong to the parish. One day, I went to the first village by canoe. As we approached the seashore, it appeared there was nobody around in the village. There was no movement whatsoever. A strange feeling crept over me. I found the situation very odd for I expected the people to welcome me on my first visit.

Any Filipino Doctors Listening?

By Sr. Rosalinda Gonzales, mmm

Sr. Rosalinda recalls her trip back to Africa where she is the only Filipino in an Irish Congregation of Sister Doctors.

My last holiday home to the Philippines was a great relief and a great rest but then the hour came to return to Africa. To be honest, I literally dragged myself to pack up my bags to travel back to Africa. I didn’t realize until then that I was spent and tired. It was difficult leaving home again now that I have only my remaining sisters Eulenia and Angeline. Papa was called to his ‘final home’ since my last home leave. Long before that was Mama, followed later by my brother Ruben. As Eulenia said, we will be three years older on our next reunion.

With the new set-up at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), my sisters had to leave shortly after seeing me off at the departure gate.

I boarded the British Airways (BA) flight to London Heathrow Airport and even before reaching Hongkong, the first stop-over, I was already feeling homesick. I prayed the Rosary and feel asleep most of the time during the journey to London.

Behind The Bamboo Curtain

By Gee-Gee O.Torres

In 1975, Saigon fell to the Communist forces of North Vietnam. The image of the US embassy staff being helicoptered out dramatically at the last moment had been immortalized in the musical Miss Saigon. Then a bamboo curtain fell in front of the land of rice paddies and pagodas. Inside the curtain a large Catholic population shuddered in fear of what lay ahead. Would it be the end of the Church?

A quarter of a century later our editorial assistant, Gee-Gee Torres, ventures behind that curtain to report to the readers of Misyon. Naturally she has had to change names places for security reasons, but I think her story loses nothing in the telling. (Ed)

The flight from Cambodia to Saigon, now called Ho Chi Minh, took only 55 minutes. However it seemed hours to me. I knew my friend Ty was going to meet me at Tan San Nhat Airport. But I felt nervous. I was only relieved when I saw him smiling and holding a “Welcome Gee-Gee” banner outside the airport.