November-December 2002

I Remember My Mother

By Peggy Stinnet

Many who knew her would say my mother was a saintly woman long before that day when she left this world to journey to her heavenly home. She was an ordinary woman according to most standards, but now, reflecting on her life as something complete, I see what she did was quite extraordinary. This the defining moment of the most personal kind of evangelization, when heaven and earth finally meet revealing to us the perfect diamond that lies beyond our humanness.

My mother looked for no recognition for what she considered her daily duties. She found pride in a clean home, her children and, most importantly, the love of her husband. As far back as I can remember, my mother taught me about God primarily by her example. I can remember as a child going late at night with her to perpetual adoration and sitting next to her in the dark church. On those evenings it was hard for me to separate her from the church in which we sat. She took us to confession on Saturday afternoons, heard our prayers in the evening, and always reminded us to pray for the poor souls who had no one to pray for them.

Fifty Years And Going Strong

By Fr. Patrick Hurley MSSC

Why do I write on this topic?  Because I was requested to do so by the good managers of Misyon magazine.  I told them frankly that I could answer their request in a few lines.  But they insisted it must be more than a “few lines” so I will try to expand the simple story of my missionary vocation to more than a few lines.

When Autumn Leaves Fall

By Sr. Mary Angela Battung RGS

Sr Angela Battung has been a missionary in Canada for many years now.  She’s had the chance to work in different ministries and here below she shares with us special thoughts as she looks forward to another Christmas in Canada.

I took a long walk one afternoon to enjoy the glorious Fall day, soaking in the warmth of the sun, conscious that pretty soon the cold would be forcing me to stay indoors more often. I met my Korean friend, Rita, and a Polish lady who goes with her regularly to feed the geese and ducks in the park. I joined them as they fed their feathered friends. After a while I retreated to a beach nearby to wait while they made their rounds around the huge lake.

The Impossible Dream

Paris, 1789

Why should we hold back our dream?  Just a few years ago many would have said it was impossible for us to challenge the King.  Now we are being told to be modest in our aspirations, that we are impatient and unrealistic.  But we refuse to take only one step at a time – we are running towards the sun.  Our demands may never be met, but the fire of our impatience is unending: we cannot live at ease in a world where these things are not possible. *

A Baby Cries At Night

Joseph R. Veneroso MM

Celebrating the Christmas vigil Mass for the Korean-American community in Queens, New York, I was waxing eloquent about the mystery of the Incarnation – God becoming human – when from somewhere in the congregation an infant had the audacity to cry. Loud.

Our Elephant House

By Jennifer Chan

Jennifer Chan is a Columban lay missionary assigned in Fiji. Here she shares with us what it is like to live in an “elephant house”.

It’s true! Home is an elephant house for me and my fellow lay missionary, Cynthia, for 11 months now. This unique, architectural wonder is called a ctesiphon (pronounced as tesifon, a type of thin-shell catenary-curved concrete building). My parish priest told me it was patterned after the low-cost housing in Iraq. Back in the late fifties, Columban Father Dermot Hurley built several ctesphons and ours is the lone surviving elephant house in Suva. Its historical value is increasing and becoming an unusual conversation piece of both locals and foreigners alike.

Agent Orange: Slow Death From The Sky

By Richard Deats

Richard Deats, a lifelong peace activist in the Fellowship of Reconciliation and author of many peace books, writes to warn us of the great threats tour environment which are around the corner if not already upon us. This particularly relevant to us here in the Philippines where attempts are being made to introduce genetically engineered plants as the Philippine Government is considered to be a soft target by the companies who want to do this. Richard Deats is a longtime friend of the editor of Misyon.

I lived in the Philippines from 1959 to 1972 and was part of an antiwar group there that called itself American for Peace in Indochina. We did research, we wrote open letters, we talked to members of the U.S. Armed Forces coming to the islands for rest and recreation, we met with the U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, and we picketed the U.S. Embassy on Roxas Boulevard in Manila every month. With our homemade signs, my wife, Jan, and I, and our two young sons, Mark and Stephen, joined twenty or so others in vigils to stop the war in Vietnam. Thich Nhat Hanh, exiled Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, stayed in our home during his Manila visit, and I organized speaking engagements for him, as well as a press conference.

The First Night Prayer

By Fr. Cathal Coulter MSSC

The Columban Missionaries were founded nearly one hundred years ago.  Well, not quite.  The co-founder, John Blowick, later recalled the first night the young students – offering their life for the mission to China – gathered together for prayer and how they read a passage from the Gospel which would be the guiding light of all missionaries.

Eighty-four winters have passed since the first group of young Columbans gathered for evening prayer in the old Dalgan, the first Columban home. There was no electricity, no heat. Seven priests and eighteen students sat a few chairs, some packing cases and boxes in a room lit by candles and oil lamps. In later years, John Blowick, the founder, would recall how he looked around and could see the whole Society, all twenty-five of them, all young men, all under fifty.

The Infant Jesus Finds A Home

By Fr Barry Cairns MSSC

Have you ever attended the solemn opening of a Catholic Church? It’s quite an impressive ceremony. We at St. Joseph’s Church in Katase, Japan had almost the same grandeur for the opening of our stable – that is, our Christmas crib. Building this Nativity scene was very much a community effort.

The Wisdom Of The Poor

By Francis B. Higdon MM

I met the young dad, about 22 years old, and his son, about four, around Christmas time while working in the Yata-Benecito river system in the Amazon watershed of Bolivia some years ago.  Since the mayor of the closest town had sent toys for the children, I used to occasion to make conversation with the little one.

“Now what did Papa Noel bring you for Christmas,” I asked. The boy looked up at me and then, hugging the multi-patched pant leg of his dad, put his finger in his mouth and glared at the ground. The father, seeing my sadness at having embarrassed his little one, spoke up: “You know what the mayor tried to give my son? A gun! A little old plastic pistol! Can you imagine giving a son a pistol for a toy? I never want my child to think of a gun as a toy. Later it would be all right with him to shoot somebody just for fun. I threw that thing in the river as soon as he came home with it.”

Cowboy priest

I immediately thought of myself as a five-year-old growing up in Kentucky.  I always wanted to be a priest, but a cowboy priest.  At that age I strutted around with my toy pistols, imitating Gene Autry and Roy Rogers.  I loved western movies.  We would think nothing of somebody getting thrown off his horse and rolling over into the rocks or bushes, or being trampled under a herd of horses or cattle – especially if they were “injuns”.  We often played cowboys and Indians in the woods behind the fields of our farm.  Little did I realize how my mind was being conditioned for violence.

The Great Slave Scam

By Declan Walsh

For many years now a vicious war is in progress in Sudan, a country situated in north Africa.  The Islamic government in the capital Khartoum, in the north, is determined to subdue the mainly Christian south.  Snatching slaves has become part of the war.  Christians throughout the world have been outraged and have tried to buy the slaves back … but this has opened the door to unscrupulous people to make a lot of money.  Read on …

Christmas Just In Time

By Bro. Anthony T. Pizarro CICM

Brother Anthony Pizarro is a missionary intern based in the Parish of Saint Abraham in Dakar,Senegal, a society with 95% Muslim population.  Below, Bro.  Anthony shares with us the ordeal of the whole crew (all Filipinos) of a ship stranded in Senegal and how he and his fellow missionaries came together to offer support.

My Blue Cup In Mozambique

By Fr. Joey Ganio Evangelista, CICM

I was among the first CICM team to be sent to Mozambique – a former Portuguese colony in Southeast Africa. We are working in the central part, in the Diocese of Chimoio. For some weeks I stayed in a village 15 kms south of Gondola town. The purpose of my stay was to learn Chiuteé, a local language, and introduce me to the Auteé tribe culture. It was very interesting to live with an African family in the bush. Every time I look back at the time I spent there, the short weeks that seemed to stretch into eternity, I always remember a blue cup.

To Search is to find

We do not have the answers to every question – but the very asking of the question is the beginning of the answer. So why don’t you send us your questions and let us together find the answers to our questions.

SIMBANG GABI

There are priests that are gradually doing away with the tradition of Dawn Mass every December by celebrating it in the evening. Is this okay for the Church?

There are occasions when the priest has too many Masses to say and in more than one church so he is forced to put the Dawn Mass in the evening. There are also well-off suburban churches who go for the easier option and persuade the priests to change even though there is no real necessity. I think this is a pity because there is a bit of magic and memory in the sacrifice of the Dawn Mass and that traditional snack with old friends as the sun comes up. Long may it survive. But then the only way it will is if you and your friends make your voice heard at the Convento. After all you are the Church.

BUKAS LALAW

Bukas Lalaw is a popular belief of Filipinos that after someone has died, his/her spirit has 40 more days to stay here on earth and after that goes to heaven or to hell. We even prepare a sort of party and a special Mass for this. Is this necessary or after the burial can we just go ahead with our lives without anymore having this Bukas Lalaw?