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An interview with Cora Mateo, Asia Youth Day pioneer
BANGALORE, India (UCAN) -- Young Catholi
cs in Asia is not leaving the Church, but the Church is keeping distant from them, says the former executive secretary of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (F
ABC) Office of Laity.
Cora Mateo from the Philippines was very involved in the beginnings of Asian Youth Day (AYD), a biennial gathering of Catholic youth from Asian countries. UCA News interviewed her in Bangalore,India, 2,060 kilometers south of New Delhi, during the third AYD celebration, held Aug. 9-15. The first two were held in 1999 in Thailand and in 2001 in Taiwan.
Ms Mateo, now a consultant to the Youth Desk and in charge of AsIPA (Asian Integral Pastoral A
pproach) Desk that takes care of promoting the vision of a participatory Church, both desks being under the Office of Laity, spoke about her long experience working with young people and about her vision for young Asians and the Church.
She has been a lay missionary in Taiwan since 1964 and is a member of the lay Teresian Association (www.institucionteresiana.org) and currently serves on its general council in Rome.
By Nicholas Murray
Nicholas Murray went to China after serving for 12 years as Superior General of the Missionary Society of St Columban.
I’ve been teaching English in a university in Chongging in southwest China since September 2002. I chose to work in this part of China because it is somewhat less developed than the east and the government is now making efforts to develop the west. Chongging is at the center of that effort. I teach Oral English and a course in Western Culture for AB students majoring in English. The latter course in particular affords great scope for communicating values, with topics such as the Bible and Christianity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance and Reformation, to name but a few.
Not everybody sees the teaching of English in China as valid missionary work. Some believe I could be more profitably employed elsewhere. My own experience, limited though it still may be, convinces me that it is still eminently worthwhile and truly valid.
By Cathleen E. Caga-anan
Cathleen ‘Nayie’ Caga-anan, now a 4th year high school student in St Scholastica’s College, Manila, wrote this letter to Father Bert Layson OMI in response to his article Peace Progress in our January-February issue. She has given us permission to reprint it.
Dear Father Layson,
Greetings! I’m Cathleen Caga-anan or Nayie, a 3rd year high school student at St Scholastica’s College, Manila. We are encouraged to read Misyonwhere I read your story, Peace Process.
It revealed to me something that newspapers reporting about the war in Mindanao don’t. I saw the heart of what was really happening there, not just hazy and technical outlines, eg, ‘200 people died, and President GMA…’ I was touched by your story because it unfolded to me the behind-the-scenes happenings in Mindanao.
I admit that I dislike reading about the war in Mindanao. Oftentimes, I finish an article about war with a heavy heart. But with your article, it was different. I knew that in war people die and ties are broken, and that people are also united by it. But I never read an experience that could confirm these thoughts. But your story concretized what I had thought before. Two quotations really made me think long and hard:
FR NIALL O’BRIEN, 1939-2004
By Fr Seán Coyle
I first met Niall O’Brien on 5 September 1961, the day I ente
red St Columban’s seminary in Ireland. He was four years ahead of me. Just over a year later the Vatican Council began. It was a time of great
excitement in the Church, a time of great change, a time when many shared the hope of Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Council, for a ‘New Pentecost.’ Father Niall was ordained in December 1963, just after the second of the Council’s four sessions and a few months after the death of Pope John.
While ll a student the young Niall O’Brien was living out something of the spirit of aggiornamento, ‘updating,’ the Italian word used by many to describe what the Council was about. He was struck too by what Pope John was supposed to have said, ‘We need to open the windows and let some fresh air blow into the Church.’ As a student Niall organized a yearly visit of Malaysians studying medicine in Dublin, Ireland’s capital, to our seminary. Very few of these were Christians. He also organized at least two national gatherings of seminarians, with some from overseas and some Anglicans, at a time when many bishops and others in authority would have grave doubts about this.
By Noe Hijara Pedrajas
It was the summer of 1990, fiesta day in our barrio, when my best friend died of leukemia. He was only 27, I was 12. Every time I remember that sad day, I feel like crying, though I try to hide my pain with a smile. He was my best friend, so loving, so dear to me. He seemed to possess everything I could want in a friend. He would hug me whenever I felt alone. He was fun to be with. He would defend me against the taunts of others. He was creative and helped me with my school projects. I remember in sixth grade our class was assigned to make a bamboo vase. Not even my father knew how to make one. I didn’t know what to do. My best friend came to my rescue and helped me fashion it.
It is hard to lose someone so valuable, someone like my dear Kuya Totong.
Four Columban lay missionaries now in their third year in Korea share their reflections as they began their mission there.
Cristina B. Simpron
They say ‘You don’t have to be rich in order to give. All you have to do is to be good; the person who is good can always find something to give.’ When I remember these words, which became the inspiration of my vocation, I also remember other lay people working in the church. I have seen their dedication, the simplicity of their lives and I admire them very much. They are catechists and parish workers whom I have been privileged to help. I can say I have a passion for working with young people. They have given me the capacity to learn many things about life and love. I believe in the capacity of young people to be agents of love, peace and transformation in society and the Church.
Then I realized that I too wanted to be a missionary. It was hard for me to leave my family, friends and community and join the Columban program. I am glad to share my experience of the Risen Lord with a new culture, new tradition, new friends and new family.
By Sister Mary Florence del Mundo SSpS
A tiny seed planted as a dispensary in a suburb of Mumbai (Bombay), India, in 1966, became Holy Spirit Hospital in 1967 with 65 beds. It was then popularly known as ‘The Jungle Hospital’ since it was surrounded by heavy jungle. Today that tiny seed has grown and spread its branches, standing proudly as a modern, well-organized and full-fledged 280-bed general hospital, catering to the comprehensive health care of around two million people.
We are indebted to our pioneer Sisters, especially Sr Carmel Ann and Sr Willibrord and others who through their hard work and generous spirit helped the hospital become what it is today, offering a wide variety of services, ranging from basic medicine and general surgery to specialties such as neurosurgery, plastic surgery, pediatric surgery, urology and nephrology, among others.
Holy Spirit Hospital regularly upgrades its facilities that now include a modern 26-bed intensive care unit of international standard, realizing one of the felt needs of the people around. Our kidney unit reaches out to many with chronic renal failure, having on average 600 dialyses per month. We collaborate with various trust funds that enable us to serve poor patients.
By Apryl Gretchen Cofin
When I was young, my mom brought me to Mass every Sunday, though I didn’t know what was going on. During my elementary days, I sometimes felt forced by her to go. Because Mom was a catechist I felt very ashamed if we, her own family, didn’t attend any church activities. Maybe that’s why I every Sunday without conviction and didn’t pray sincerely.
Because I saw myself as a devout Catholic, I sometimes became very defensive when members of other sects criticized my religion. I couldn’t run away from my hurt and anger if they continued criticizing. Though I sometimes ignored the existence of God and often went to church just to be present and pass the time, I didn’t like my religion to be attacked. I admit that sometimes I was a hypocrite, cheating myself and the Lord. My attitude didn’t improve when I reached high school.
Sr Leticia Bartolome ICM
Are you going “door-to-door”?’ A question Filipino migrant worker often asks one another. A positive reply gets a second question: ‘Jumbo, regular, half or bulilit?’ What funny and strange names, I thought. One night, coming home from a meeting with the board and staff of the Asian Migrant Centre here in Hong Kong, I felt exhausted and fell into a deep sleep. It was then that I met Jumbo, Regular, Half and Bulilit in a dream. We talked for a long time.
In my dream I saw them very clearly and their names fitted their personalities. Jumbo was big and fat, Regular just the right size, tall and pleasantly plump; Half was thin and short while Bulilit was an anemic-looking dwarf. There weren’t only four, but hundreds of cartons covering the floor, still waiting for costumers. I looked around and found that I was in the office-cum- warehouse of a company that transported goods. It was so quiet. I was alone with these boxes. Some of them, almost bursting from over-capacity, were ready for transporting, with the names and addresses of their destinations pasted on. Others were partly open, ready to be filled with more goods.
By Sean McDonagh SSC
Patents give an exclusive right to an inventor to make or sell an invention for about 20 years. To be patentable an invention must be novel, inventive and serve some useful purpose. Patents have been around since the fifteenth century but until 22 years ago these criteria excluded living organisms. These were always regarded as discoveries of nature, and therefore unpatentable.
In 1980, this all changed. When Ananda Chakrabarty won a US Supreme Court case allowing him to patent a bacterium he had genetically engineered to digest oil, the Chief Justice declared that the ‘relevant distinction is not between animate and inanimate things but whether living products could be seen as human-made inventions.’ This decision heralded a new era in which living organisms could be patented.