November-December 2000

His Christmas Wish

A couple of years ago the picture below appeared in the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the story of an extraordinary little boy who in spite of having only one leg has became a great surfer. We covered his picture in our June-July 1999 issue.

Small Houses, Big Heart

By Maria Nariva, a Fijian lay missionary in the Philippines

I arrived in the Philippines in October 1996. Coming from a small country like Fiji, everything is kind of a shock for me to see. Apart from that I was surprised to see the number of people at the airport and along the streets as we made our way to the Lay Mission House in Cubao. I asked myself, “I wonder what the population of this country is?” I was not only shocked at the number of people, but also at the pollution and the heat.

The Awakening

By Fr. Abe Sumalinog mssc

A lot of people ask me a serious question: Was becoming a priest your dream since childhood? Since I got used to answering question, I would not meditate too long but answer them simply, “No”.

The First Belen

By Fr. Niall O’ Brien mssc

Christmas belens – big and small –will appear everywhere to remind us in a simple way of birth of Jesus. The first to introduce this devotion was none other than Francis of Assisi whose story we tell below.

Town of Assisi

The little hill town of Assisi is one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is a tourist destination but it’s always a special tourist who goes there. One who is at least half on pilgrimage because they are going to see the birth places of St. Francis and St. Clare. Not only the birth places but he places also where they lived their extraordinary lives, worked their miracles and died their holy deaths.

His biggest fear

St. Francis was born in Assisi in 1182. As a young man Francis wanted to become a knight in shining armor. He joined the battle between Assisi and Perugia only to be captured, ransomed back and get seriously sick. That illness was the beginning off a change in Francis’ life. Francis now turned towards God. One thing that Francis feared most of all was lepers. Whenever he saw a person with leprosy he kept his distance. Now that his heart was turning towards God he knew there was something wrong in the way he avoided them. So one day, as he was coming along the road he saw a leper. His first reaction was panic. But overcoming his panic, he walked up to the man and subduing his revulsion he embraced him and even kissed him. Francis looked into the leper’s eyes and said, “Peace and good.” And the leper replied, “Peace and good.” And that moment was a special moment in Francis’ journey towards God.

Miracle For Donnie Ending

By Donnie Lama

Before I received the 70 lashes, I prayed to the Lord to bear the pain physically. I must also remember His word from I Peter: 12-14 “Do not be surprised, my dear friends, at the fiery test that is coming upon you. As if you are experiencing something unheard of. Be glad that you are sharing to some degree the suffering of Christ, in order that in the revealing of His Glory you may be full of joy. Happy are you if you are insulted because you are Christ’s followers; this means that the glorious Spirit, the Spirit of God, is resting on you”

Angels In The Land Of The Magnificat

By Sr. Norma More dc

Up to 1948 Ein-Kerem was a predominantly Arab village but in the war of Independence the Israeli army conquered the territory and the village is now a Jewish stronghold with many families here living sturdy, beautifully constructed homes. The place is famed as the birthplace of John the Baptist Benedictus prayer. Close-by at the foot of the hill is the “Virgin‘s Fountain”, the spring where Mary would have fetched water for the household and where she would have refreshed herself. Countless pilgrims visit every year, praying at the Church of the Visitation which marks the site where Mary visited her cousin and the child in Elizabeth’s womb leapt for joy and the words: “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb” were spoken. Mary replied with the Magnificat and this prayer can also be seen on the walls surrounding the church in all the languages of the world even in Tagalog.

Viva Bolivia

By Sr. Socorro Gumnad, mic

Filipino Sister Socorro Gumnad, mic is a happy to accompany a delegation of 90 Bolivians to a huge mission congress in Brazil. This congress took place in Belo Horizonte. In the photos we learn about the congress and how it helped to animate and encourage mission awareness especially the Basic Christian Communities. Two thousands seven hundred delegates from 41 countries gathered to discuss the role of Latin America in the missionary activity of our Church.

A Magic Moment In Marawi

By Fr. Rufus Halley mssc

Malabang Marawi

It was Sunday morning in late September. I don’t remember the date, but I’ll never forget the day. Joel was to be buried and the whole parish was in shock and in mourning. Here was a grand young fellow, of deep faith, who was gunned down on his way home for is lunch. Nobody would be picked up for the crime as perpetrator came from an influential Muslim family.

God’s Loving Touch

By Her Excellency, Mary McAleese, President of the Republic Ireland

Mary McAleese is the president of Ireland. As a girl she helped to promote the Columban mission magazine, The Far East. Recently she was asked to address missionaries and here is an extract from her address.

Through the years I have come to know and hugely to admire the tremendous work done by missionaries in all parts of the world – the extraordinary heroism they have demonstrated in bringing and, more importantly, living the Gospel in so many different places. More than anyone, they have great insight, distilled from their experience, that what the world need s most of all is the loving touch of God, not empty recitations from some rule book. More than anyone, they’re well-placed to bring this message to a world still locked in conflict and prejudice.

A Shared Ethnic

Even the most unyielding problems can be resolved on the foundations of a common value system, built by men and women of good faith coming together with a common mission as equals and with a commitment to turn away from a conflict driven world view to a consensus driven one.

Who Will Put Humpty Together Again?

By Gee-Gee O. Torres, assistant Editor

The devastation of Cambodia by Pol Pot is now legendary. But the Killing Fields were only part of his terror. On an ideological ‘trip’ he banished people from cities like Phnom Penh and closed down the school. Like Humpty Dumpty, the city and its institutions were shattered and lay in ruins. Into this educational wilderness have stepped some Filipino followers of Don Bosco to help Cambodia put the pieces together again. Our Assistant Editor visited them and shares with us what she saw. (Ed)

Follow Your Star

As into the skies of Melchior,
Gaspar and Baltazar
Into the life of every man
There flashes forth a star.

It shone in the eyes of a people
It stood in a nation’s ken 
But the only fools that followed it
Were Three Wise Men.

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD


Among our catechumens in Kintampo was old man. Asked what Christian name he wants, he said, “Mary.” Very politely I explained that Mary is for women but he insisted he that he likes the name very much. His classmates smiled indulgently. And why not? What more beautiful than Mary’s name for a man who has no gender hang-ups.