November-December 1996

Advent in Frankfurt

By Sr. M. Nenitas Derama, PDDM

This is my third Christmas in Germany, and it’s only now that I am beginning to understand the beautiful preparations that they make during Advent. At first, I found them all too hard and austere, especially on Christmas Day when no one could be seen on the streets and there is no sound. Everything is silent. ‘Wala man lang paputok at putukan.’

Cameroon Notes

By Sr. Emma De Guzman, ICM

This a photo story of two Filipinos – one visible in the pictures one not visible – because she was holing the camera. These photos tell the story of Andy Gunzalo, CICM from Bauko, Mt. Province, and how he was ordained Deacon in Cameroon by Cameroonian Bishops Mons. Jerome Mimboe Owono. Behind the camera is veteran missionary Sr. Emma de Guzman (sister of Fr. Efren de Guzman SVD in Angola)

Christmas Away from home

By Fr. Luis Sabarre, OMI

I remember the first Christmas I spent away from home in 1982, when I was sent to a small town to say the midnight mass. I thought that Christmas would be the same as I used to experience in my own place back home in the Philippines. I really missed the Christmas Carols I had learned and had sung when I was a small boy. I felt homesick for the first time.

Christmas Deal

By Vic Apacible

The deal I made that Christmas led to my “accidental” vocation.

I had a normal childhood, adolescence and early adulthood spent in San Juan. Besides Sunday Mass I had no time for spiritual matters. I finished dentistry at the UERMA in Sta. Mesa in 1985 and passed the dental board exam the following year, after which my dentist-cousin offered me a partnership in a dental office in Legaspi Village. My family then transferred residence to a nearby village, I was not taking my profession as a dentist seriously though, because I was doing some business on the side – real estate, cars, fax machines – successfully rolling the money my mother has loaned me.

Yuma and Satoka

Translated by Fr. Bede Cleary

As Philip Bonifacio celebrated his first ordination anniversary in Japan, two Japanese, who had come all the way fir the ordination, recall their impression of the Philippines and Filipinos. We hope the memory will not make Philip homesick!

Yuma’s Story 
(3rd year elementary school)

After a three-and –a –half hour flight from Kansai International Airport, we finally arrived in Manila. The moment we arrived the warm humid air came surging towards us. (We had left Japan in the midst of winter.) Because the Christmas rush was at its peak, it took a long time for our luggage to come out. Next, we went to the Exchange Bank. I changed a thousand-yen note into pesos. The lady laughed, as if to say, “A Child indeed! With only one thousand – yen.” We boarded the cars which met our group. On the way into Malate, we pulled into a gasoline stand. The engine stalled, and the car refused to go. I was wondering how will the driver fix it, when he came out of the shop with a hammer and hit the engine with it a couple of times. Then everyone pushed, and off went and soon reached our pension. I thought the Filipinos were very clever.

At The Door Was A Poor Man

By Sr. Redempta Twoney

The baby who was born in a cave; the family who could not afford place in the Inn. We think of these at Christmas, but then sometimes we lose part of the message in the midst of the dazzling light of the angels and the sound of music. Sr. Redempta uses a gospel parable to explain the meaning to us Jesus’ call to stretch out to the poor.

Home Along the Riles

By Cyril C. Beltran, CICM

Along the ‘riles’ of the Sta. Mesa parcel in Manila, three CICM students prepare to be missionaries by leaving the protective walls of the seminary and living with the poor. Cyril Beltran shares his experience.

No Room To Swing the Cat

I was last June 16 when Betoy, Erick and I enthusiastically transferred to this place situated along the railway. Most of the people living here came from different parts of the country, specifically from Bicol and Surigao. We are renting a room that is rather small. in fact. We can only accommodate three chairs besides ourselves and other basic necessities such as a pail, cooking utensils, plates. It is around here our daily life revolves; we eat, study, and sleep in the same room. If we would have a table in this room, literally, we could not move anymore. So, in our life here creativity really plays a vital role. Writing, reading, studying, term and reflection paper are done sitting. Thus, the chairs have become very important in our life.

Tread Gently, Lest You Tread on Our Dreams

By Sr. Alice Lansang, ICM

The first law of colonization is: Get the gold – No wonder the original peoples, who were almost totally wiped put by colonists, are still suspicious of foreigners. So Sr. Alice Lansang, coming from a land itself colonized, knew she had to tread gently.

A Dream

When I entered the convent way back in the 60’s, I would often dream of living and working among our mountain people, after the example of our pioneering Belgian sisters. However, the congregation had other plans and needs. It dawned on me that Gods dreams didn’t exactly match mine. Or was it a question of timing? At any rate, I held on to this dream.

Viva Bolovia

By Sr. Socorro Gumnad, MIC

Here are some of the photos taken during our National Teachers Day in Bolivia.

I am with two Grade 1 students and the mother of the girl dressed in black at the gate of the rural school. The boy wearing his apron at my right came to tell me tat he is participating in the acto civixo program to honor the teachers. All primary students wear apron in school.

What a Compensation Ceremony

By Fr. Ferdie Samar, SOLT

Solt is a group of Filipino missionaries in Papua New Guinea, and Ferdie Samar is one of their priests. Ferdie tells us here about the terrible problem of tribal warfare and how it bedevils life in some parishes in PNG.

First SOLT Team

When our first SOLT missionary team left the Philippines a couple of years ago our port of entry was Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea. But our real destination was Mt. Hagen, at the heart of the PNG highlands, approximately an hour by plane from the capital city. Arriving in Mt. Hagen, we were only given a month to familiarize ourselves with people, places and culture. After a month of orientation, we were given our definite assignments. The bishop gave us two adjacent parishes in the Nebilyer District of Western Highlights Province.

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

Which Finger to Keep

When the Gonja people accosted me and wanted to kill me for helping a Konkomba man escape, one shouted from the crowd, “Cut off three of his fingers!” When I heard this, I could not decide which of my fingers to offer to the knife.