November-December 1997

MISSION in a mud

By Bro. Elie Sangco, MSP

“Mission in the mud is challenging. Sometimes you feel mad because of the mud. But we are called to serve the people, to experience God in the midst of this awful mud.”
Elie Sangco is now back in the seminary preparing to be a Fil-Mission priest after overseas training in Papua New Guinea. He is the youngest of seven and comes from Poblacion. Pres. Roxas, Cotabato.

Our Mission Station

St. Michael’s Parish is located in Lower Bamu of the Western Province of Papua New Guinea. This one of the most isolated mission stations in the diocese.

This station covers fourteen dispersed villages. Three villages are situated on an island. The rest are on the mainriver. The place is swampy and below sea level. Besides, this place is situated in the mouth of the Papua New Guinea Gulf. That is why during the highest tide the villages are under water which causes the deep mud.

Angela in Wonderland

By Sr. Angela Battung RGS

Sr. Mary Angela Battung was born in Tuguegarao, Cagayan where he parents are form. She has two brothers and a sister, who is also an RGS Missionary. She has spent twenty years in Korea. The Korean culture and sub-cultures brought her face to face with herself.

People were kind and friendly. There were invitations to picnics, to village festivities, and to famous historical places. In Seoul there were museums, art galleries, art exhibits, and operas to enjoy. There were parks and palaces of royalty; even the local markets and the department stores were part of the tour, as I did the “tourist thing”.

Christmas in Peru

By Fr. Peter Woodruff

Columban Father Peter Woodruff reflects on his celebration of Christmas with the people of Tupac Amaru.

In Australia where I grew up. The build-up to Christmas in marked by an effort to prepare for final exams, or a burst to finish off well the year’s work before summer begins. The year is over; the work is done; the worry and chores are behind. It’s time to ease up and celebrate.

Find God in the Noise

By John B. Din

It must have seemed weird to the Brazilians on first meeting me to be greeted by just a handshake or a nod of the usual hug and kiss on the cheek. I know they were surprised to see me eat rice for breakfast, lunch and supper.

John Din is a lay missionary in Brazil. He hails from Zamboanga del Sur, diocese of Pagadian, John is one of 13 brothers and sisters and graduated from the Columban College, Pagadian with a Bachelor of Arts degree major in Psychology. He reflects here on the challenge of the culture of Brazil to him as a Filipino.

Help Me Dry the Tears of Malawi

By Sr. Lilia Conol, MMS

AIDS, ‘Edzi’ – These words strike fear, guilt and shame in the hearts of these found to be HIV positive in Malawi, Africa. Their days are numbered. They experience anger, confusion, denial, shock. Of the 10 million inhabitants of Malawi, more than one million are HIV positive, Blantyre, where I work has the highest HIV rate in Malawi. Of the pre-natal mothers coming for a check up at the Central Hospital in Blantyre, 38% were fund to be HIV positives in 1994. Hospitals can no longer accommodate them, so they discharge those HIV as fast as they come in and send them back to their homes with no guarantee of further help or follow-up.

Lord, Bring Peace to Bethlehem

By Sr. Clare Garcillano, SPC

The small Christian population living in Bethlehem and Jerusalem, and other parts pf the Holy Land is under great pressure. Thousands have emigrated leaving only a very small precarious presence. Sr. Clare, a Filipino Sister of St. Paul, tells us of a special apostolate which tries to help the beleaguered Christians and tries to bring peace to historic Bethlehem, the birthplace of our Savior.

Once Upon A Time there was a young woman

By Jim Forest

“She is unmarried and pregnant, appears to be in her mid – teens, and is nearly penniless. Religiously obsessed, she suffers acute delusions. Her pregnancy, she claims, was caused by God. She asserts that she is still a virgin. Given her age and psychological conditions, an abortion is clearly indicated, yet her religious scruples deter her from accepting one. Further counseling is urgently required.”

But there were no social workers at the time, abortion didn’t I occur to anyone in her family or neighborhood. In the impoverished culture of northern Galilee twenty centuries ago, social engineering had chiefly to do with maintaining the wells. Mary Child managed to be born. She named him Jesus.

Christ is born black in ‘Zaire’

By Fr. Melanio Viuya Jr., CICM

Zaire, now called the Republic of Congo, is as big as Europe. We have all seen on Television the terrible internal civil war and the horrible plight of the Rwandan Refugees. But in the meantime life goes on. In a humble corner of the former Zaire, Fr. Viuya recalls his second Christmas away from the Philippines.

First Journey

It was my first journey to the village alone. My confreres were rather apprehensive. They gave me 15 liters of potable water, six hundred grams of rice, one hundred grams of sugar, some salt, a folding bed, a mosquito net, a loaf of bread, some medicines, and a petrol lamp. I was pretty ashamed to go to the village carrying all these. To be biblical or to be practical, that’s the question. However, I discovered later that I was necessary to bring most, if not all, of these things for in the village “there’s nothing”.

7 Blessings

By Bernadine B. Racoma

It’s a dilemma married Catholic women face today: Should we or should we not use artificial means of birth control?

We know that the Catholic Church staunchly stands against artificial contraception. Yet in this day and age when many people believe raring children seems to be more of a burden than a blessing, it becomes increasingly difficult for Catholics to follow this Church teaching.

Appointment with God

By Sr. Emma de Guzman ICM

Sr. Erma de Guzman of Cameroon is a long time correspondent of MISYON. She had an accident recently in a jeep which feel over a cliff. Her companion Sr. Louisette was killed but Emma was spared. She shares the frightening story with us.

We left Mvolye at five on a pleasant morning. By midday we were at the Bishop’s House in Kumbo. It was a pleasant trip, being Sunday and having left early. We had lunch with the Bishops and took off for Nkambe after lunch. The roads were better as the graders were working and we were along the cliff driving slowly because of the many dangerous turns.

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

Too Late, Baby!

In Rome the hotel manager directed me to the restaurant stated on my plane ticket. The waiter handed me the menu: soupe aux legumes; spaghetti au jus de viande; bistek aux tomates et all. Among the names of dishes, I recognized only one, the word “spaghetti”. So I ordered spaghetti. I ordered the same food for each meal. For my last meal, I was tired of ordering spaghetti. So I went through the menu again and to my surprise at the back of it was the English translation of all the dishes. Too late baby.

Angola Diary

By Fr Efren de Guzman SVD

 APRIL

April 14 Sunday

We held a meeting after the Eucharist. We had a big questions for the members of different groups of fishermen. Last year five different groups received a boat and net for fishing, but unfortunately none of the recipients want to pay back to help future members. We were so frustrated till we heard one good comment: “Failure in not defeat until you stop crying.”