November-December 2001

A Toast To Our Vocation

By Fr. Pat O’ Donovan mssc

As a young boy I have fond memories of my grandparents. During my summer vacation I looked forward to staying with them and to the times they should stay with us. We did many things together, visiting neighbors and friends, working on the farm, going to the nearest town to do our shopping and to attend daily Mass. We enjoyed one another’s company going for a walk, playing cards in the evening and saying the rosary before going to bed.

Paradise Of The Pacific

Laborers from India were brought in to Fiji in 19th century by the British who colonized this country. The British wanted to grow sugarcane. Since Fijian were not willing to do this backbreaking work, they had to import laborers from Indian laborers settled between the Fijians and the Indo-Fijians. Six Filipino Columban Lay Missionaries are now in Fiji. As they celebrate their second Christmas in this faraway land, let us pray that they may bring peaceful Christmases to this divided paradise.

Climbing The Silent Mountain

Misyon magazine covers many stories of action. But this is not an action story but a story of contemplation. A group of women who have chosen to serve God in silence and anonymity, in prayer and hidden works. These are the Augustinian Recollects of the contemplative life in Tangub, Bacolod, Neg. Occ. They have set up a house of prayer and reclusion so keeping up a tradition going back to the desert Fathers.

Great To Be Alive

By Sr. Teresita Perez, mm

A years back, while I was missioned in Peru, our doorbell rang at around 9 pm. When I opened the door, there was Cristina, a junior student in high school, looking very distraught and panting. “Sister,” she said, “I want to talk to you.” I invited her in to sit down and without much ado she said in Spanish: “I want to kill myself.”

Leave It To Lita

By Fr. Donal Halliden mssc

Arriving at O’ Hare International Airport in Chicago on a bitterly cold Winter’s day, I was warmly welcomed by a young Filipino woman who has become a very dear friend. I was pleasantly surprised when she conducted me to where she had parked her Volkswagen “Beetle” and which she then expertly drove trough the busy highways and streets of the “Windy City”. But I am getting ahead of my story...

SCA Leader

They young lady who welcomed me was Angelita Carandang Matick who had been an outstanding leader of Student Catholic Action (SCA) during my tern as chaplain at Centro Escolar University CEU in Manila. Lita Carandang had come from the nearby province of Batangas in 1964 to take up Medical Technology at CEU. Her leadership potential was evident from the beginning and this quickly blossomed in SCA so that she became president o that very active student organizations in 1966, the first to do so in her junior year.

Christmas In A Bag

By Anabelle Badilla

When I was a kid I used to think that Christmas is as simple as exchanging gifts and hanging socks on the wall. The rest of the details like attending dawn Mass and yawning the whole time and helping my mother prepare the Noche Buena were as unexciting and ordinary as fixing my bed each morning. But one day in my adult life, I found out the real meaning of Christmas.

My First Christmas Away From Home

By Sr. Grace Gerong osf

Sr. Gerong knew long before that she had the calling.  However, as the eldest daughter, she helped her parents first in sending her younger brothers to school before she heeded God’s call. When she was ready to leave home, she packed her bag, she said goodbye to her supportive family, and joined the Sister of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration. She is now in Ople, Germany.

Sr. Grace Gerong osf

Restless Hearts

By Gee-Gee O. Torres, assistant editor

In the famous confession of St. Augustine, “My heart is restless until it rests in Thee”, Augustinian Fathers Arlon Vergara and Adam Lasmarias realize the restlessness of their own hearts. Here I tell you how they find peace and serenity in the mountains of Kangwha, far away from the bustling city of Seoul.

Fr. Arlon Vergara, from Bicol, arrived in Korea in 1993. He was the first Filipino Augustinian missionary to be sent there. His superior asked him what apostolate would he like to be involved in: formation or parish work? He chose parish work. “Parish work for me is the actualization of being a priest because I am able to use all the faculties I learned in sharing the Good News.” In 1999 he was given his first parish assignment in Onsuri, one of the parishes in Kangwhado Island.

The Platinum Blonde

Edited by Sean Hogan

Father Aedan McGrath, died on December 25th 2000, aged 94, had been a Columban priest for 71 years and was imprisoned by the Chinese for nearly three years in 1951. In his later life he did wonderful work in the Philippines going around all the islands even in his nineties and strengthening the Legion of Mary which was his first love. He also organized many lay missionaries called Incolae who went from the Philippines to Oceania. Up to his mid-nineties he was still playing a good game of golf. (Ed)

He joined the Columban Fathers and was ordained in 1929. Six months later he was sent to Hanyang in China. “I was there just in time for the flood. The Yangtze and the Han Rivers met and overflowed. Millions of people drowned. For six months, there was 16 feet of water in the house where I was staying. We had to live upstairs.”

A straw hut and 24 missions

Following a couple of years around Hanyang, he was sent to T’sein Kiang, where he lived with the Buddhist family. “There were three generations: a grandfather, three sons and twenty grandchildren. They had pickle factory. Life was simple.”

He had 24 missions spread out over a wide area. “I spent three days in each mission, staying in a straw hut. I brought my own blanket. There were no roads or buses. I walked.”

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

How Blind is Blind

Mr. Daniel Ayamga, who everybody says is blind, insists that I should build him a nice, one-room house. He had been bothering me for quite sometime. However because of lack of funds, it was just impossible. One time, I was reprimanding Ali Jara, my assistant. I was shouting so angrily that I that I frightened a parishioner who was about to enter the house but then began to run away. I suddenly realized that it was indeed none other than Mr. Ayamga, my ‘blind’ friend running away without his stick. He was not so blind after all.