Misyon Online - May-June 2014

Pulong ng Editor

Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, Our Lady of Remedies

On the Feast of St Joseph the Worker, 1 May, Columban Fr Leo Distor was installed as Parish Priest of Our Lady of Remedies Parish, Malate, Manila, where the Columbans have worked since 1929 having taken the parish at the invitation of Irish-born Archbishop Michael O’Doherty of Manila at a time when the Philippines was desperately short of priests.

Fr Leo Distor
Fr Leo Distor

The parish of Malate, one of the oldest in the Philippines, was established in the sixteenth century by Augustinian friars. Fr Leo Distor, who has worked in the formation of Columban seminarians in Chicago and in Quezon City, is fromMarbel, Mindanao, where he was ordained in 1996. He is the first Filipino parish priest of NuestraSeñora de los Remedios.








In the Midst of a Storm

By Anne B. Gubuan

The Philippines has 7,107 islands of which about 2,000 are inhabited. When typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck the country, all eyes were on Samar, where it first hit, and neighboring Leyte. You could just imagine how many other islands in the Visayas were affected that people hadn’t heard of. My officemates and I were privileged to get to know one of these islands when Malta-Filcom, a Filipino community in Malta, chose our office to help facilitate the rebuilding of one school in Barangay Barangkalan, Calagnaan Island, Iloilo.

Headed by their president, Veronica Ugates, Malta-Filcom members shared their little savings having in mind how their fellow Filipinos bore the brunt of Yolanda. ‘It makes us feel better somehow knowing that we have become instrumental in bringing hope to our fellowmen’, shared Estrelleta Gatt when she and her husband came to visit us in the Misyone ditorial office during their short vacation in, Bacolod City, Philippines.

In the Midst of a Storm In the Midst of a Storm In the Midst of a Storm

In the Midst of a Storm In the Midst of a Storm In the Midst of a Storm

It took us three hours to reach the town of Estancia and from there a pump boat took us to the island. We had to hire two pump boats, one for the 180 pieces of galvanized iron roofing we had bought with the money donated by Malta-Filcomand another one for our small of group of about 20 composed of Misyon staff, and the parish pastoral council of Camp Martin Delgado, Iloilo City, of the Philippine National Police, headed by PNP chaplain Fr Ronilo A. Datu. It was the same group we went with last year when we brought relief goods to typhoon victims in the towns of Sara and Estancia, Iloilo.










What’s Out There?

By Richelle H. Verdeprado

This article is based on an interview with Tom Schumann, a filmmaker from Germany.

It was an endeavor that started with the idea of making something for children. It was an idea that had been positively bothering the filmmaker, Tom Schumann, one and a half years ago. It was that same desire to turn the idea into a reality that brought him back to the Philippines, this time with his wife Annett and four-year-old daughter Somi to do a documentary on children speaking with their hands.

What’s Out There? What’s Out There?
Tom's family enjoying a visit at the Misyon office.

Tom’s first visit in the Philippines was in 1986, together with his father Uwe-Jens Schumann, his Mom and his brother. This visit was very significant for Tom because he first met a two-week-old girl who would later become his adopted sister. Due to the long adoption process it took six months and a number of trips to the Philippines before Tom’s parents could finally take her to Germany.






Resurrection after Yolanda

By Kurt Zion Pala

The author, a frequent contributor to Misyon, is a Columban seminarian continuing his studies in theology after two years on First Mission Assignment in Fiji. He is from Iligan City. Here he writes about a visit to areas ravaged by Super-typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) on 8 November 2013.

Before heading home for the school break, I decided to spend some time in Tacloban City, which was heavily damaged by typhoon Yolanda on 8 November. It took me almost 30 hours to get there by bus from Cubao, Quezon City, through the national highway and crossing the seas by ship from Matnog, Sorsogon, to Allen, Northern Samar, and eventually crossing the San Juanico Bridge into Tacloban City, Leyte on 24 March.

I could see the damage caused by Yolanda in the landscape – the hills and trees were bare. I was told that in the days after the typhoon there were only three colors, if you could call them such: black, grey and brown. There wasn’t much life left except for survivors. I was dumbstruck by the extent of the damage – large infrastructures like churches, mills, schools and buildings were all destroyed. Buttresses of mangled steel and mountains of scrap metal and roofs were everywhere.






Columbans celebrate 80 years in Korea

On 29 October 2013, the Columbans in Korea began a series of celebrations to mark their 80 years of missionary presence in Korea.

L to R: Fr Carlo Eiukyun Lee, Joon Bin Lim, Rev Augustine Jehoon Lee.
3 May 2014. See below
Some Columban updates from Korea. [Source: FB of Joon Bin Lim]

The Columban Superior General, Fr Kevin O’Neill, joined Archbishop (now Cardinal) Andrew Reom Soo-jung of Seoul,

Additional Material

  • Columban Homily on Feast of Korean Martyrs
    By Fr Donal O’Keeffe
  • Columbans who died in the Korean War
missionaries, benefactors and parishioners from former Columban parishes in a commemorative Eucharist in St Mary’s Cathedral, Seoul, to give thanks to God for these 80 years of missionary presence.

‘The Columbans have made a wonderful contribution to the Korean Church and people. We are truly grateful to them’, said Archbishop Yeom at the commemorative Eucharist.

The first Columbans arrived in Korea on that same date, 29 October in 1933. There were ten of them, nine having been ordained the previous year. Their average age was 25 years. One of them, Fr Dan McMenamin, was to die of uberculosis four years later at just 29 years of age.

On the Second Sunday of Easter in April 1934, the newly arrived Columbans took possession of their first parish in Korea on the outskirts of the city of Mokpo. This was to be the first of 129 parishes that the Columbans would establish during those 80 years in Korea. In the city of Seoul alone, Columbans established 25 parishes.

The 80-year celebrations of missionary presence in Korea will continue until the Second Sunday of Easter this year, 27 April, and will give thanks to God for the work of Columbans in nine different dioceses throughout the country.

Pope Francis will be in Korea from 14 to 18 August to take part in the sixth Asian Youth Day in Daejon. He will also preside at the beatification of 124 Korean martyrs.






Peace by Peace

Fr John Henaghan (1881 - 10 February 1945)

Forgive us as we forgive! We ask for the same treatment of ourselves that we are prepared to give our fellow man; and in this manner we limit even God’s mercy and pity by the hardness and cruelty of own hearts. It is no mere cold external forgiveness but one from our heart that God insists on towards our neighbor. God’s mercy, as it were, becomes dependent on our own choice and the character of our judgment hangs upon our treatment of others. Thus it may be a blessing or a curse that we ask for in this prayer. How shameless we should be to ask God to forgive our sins if our heart is merciless towards our neighbor.

We cannot go beyond our Lord’s own words: ‘When you shall stand to pray, forgive if you have anything against any man, that your Father also Who is in Heaven may forgive you your sins’ We have no greater guarantee of being the children of God than this readiness to forgive others. This is the test that goes down to the very foundations of our spiritual life. It is the one great lesson that our Lord taught and sealed with His Blood. More than prayers or penances or fasting or great labors to show our love for God is the heart that pardons others. Generosity in this matter will open the flood-gates of God’s charity. If we want to become like Christ we must pardon, like Him, without limits or reserve. He has placed no bounds to His mercy. Unto ‘seventy times seven’. He is ready to forgive when we turn towards Him. We have only to remember how He forgives to realize the obligation that rests on us.

-Pathways to God, Fr John Henaghan


My Father

By N.A.V

Our Hideaway is a venue for the youth to express themselves and to share with our readers their mind, their heart and their soul.

The author, who is known to the editorial staff, recently graduated from college.

I remember one night when my father came into my room and cried. It was a rare sight, seeing the man of my family break down in tears. Papa had always been a strong man, no challenge he met undefeated. He knew the game of life and how to play it well. But when he lost to fate he didn’t show it to his children.

But as the youngest son I know the things that my father has gone through, and to the game has been no easy feat. He almost lost his marriage when he discovered my mother had another man, but soon forgave her for our sake. He lost his job once. And in 2003, he lost my mother to cancer.

I’ve seen him face his battles, and I’ve seen him stand tall again. He still wakes up to laugh, as if to say he can still carry on, that he can tolerate more pain, because he’s been tested and proven, because his children need him to be strong. He has always been like that.