Misyon Online - November-December 2015


The death notice of Columban Fr Patrick J. Crowley who died suddenly on 25 October notes: ‘Late of Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Britain and Ireland.’ Fr Crowley’s obituary appears in this issue as does that of Columban Sister Mary O’Dea. Her death notice notes ‘USA and Peru’. Her brother Father Donal, who preached at her funeral Mass, spent more than 60 years here in the Philippines. Before he moved back to Ireland two or three years ago he pointed out to us that he was one of relatively few Columban missionaries who spent all their lives on mission in one country.

The Subanens Live The Christmas Story

by Fr Vincent Busch

The Gospels give us a good idea of the joys, fears and struggles that Mary and Joseph experienced that first Christmas. Jesus was born after his parents had walked 100 kms often over rugged terrain. Mary gave birth in a stable because there was no room for them in the Inn. Then, after visits from shepherds and wise men, Mary and Joseph had to flee to avoid Herod’s soldiers. Over the past several decades the Subanen people have experienced similar joys, fears, and struggles. When Subanens hear the Christmas story they say Joseph and Mary are like us.

I Met St Joseph In Manila

By Columba Chang Eun-Yeal

Columba Chang, 2012

We first published this article in the November-December 2003 issue of MISYON. It is a story that can be told and re-told over and over again. The author, a Columban Lay Missionary from Korea who was assigned to the Philippines for many years, is now based in Myanmar.

There may be as many as seven million Filipino overseas workers spread all over the world. They greatly help our country’s economy by the money they send home. However sometimes we seem to take them for granted, thinking that they have an easy life abroad. Read Aling Maria’s story below and find out the dangers our OFWs face and the abuses they experience. We thank ‘Mang Pepe’ for his help in writing this article in which we’ve changed the names.

A Journey Away From Home

My Experience on First Mission Assignment

By Erl Dylan J. Tabaco


The author holding the flag of Peru in Macchu Picchu

We published the first part of this article in our September-October issue. The author is a member of the Missionary Society of St Columban and is currently in Peru on his two-year First Missionary Assignment (FMA) as part of his preparation for the priesthood. He is from Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. He went to Peru in 2014.

Coming to Peru on First Mission Assignment (FMA) was life-changing. Being a missionary opened my eyes to the challenges that I would be facing. Learning a new language is not as easy as adjusting to weather and time differences. Learning the basics of Spanish from phonetics to grammar brought me back to my early childhood experience when I was still trying to mimic sounds that I had just heard.

St Columban, My Brother

By Fr Ray Scanlon

A recent visitor to our editorial office in Bacolod City was Fr Raymond F. Scanlon, a Columban from Melbourne, who worked for many years in Korea. He is the current Vice-Director of the Region of Australia and New Zealand. We published this article five years ago but it is very appropriate for the 1,400th anniversary of the death of St Columban in Bobbio on 23 November 615.

Until I did the pilgrimage I did not know much about St Columban. To me he was a mythical figure of ages long ago. One who was not so human and who had extraordinary powers, superhuman ideals and expectations.

As we travelled in St Columban’s footsteps we heard a number of accounts of his life. I began to understand and admire him. He became alive and real rather than a distant historical figure.

Cheerful Givers

Woman Ironing, Edgar Degas, c.1869 Neue Pinakothek, Munich, Germany [Wikipedia]

‘Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver’, St Paul tells us (2 Corinthians 9:7). God reveals himself through ‘cheerful givers’, who can be found on opposite sides of the world.

Cynthia Empleo of our Mission Office in Manila tells us the story of the long involvement of Mrs Leonor A. Tomines, now 93, with the Columbans, for many years as a laundry woman like the woman in the painting by Degas above, and for many more years as a benefactor.

On the other side of the world, in Ireland, Columban Sr Mary Nolan tells us the story of Kathleen Hogan, who grew up in difficult circumstances and was a great supporter of the Columban Sisters. Kathleen has now gone to her reward. Whenever we meet persons such as Leonor A. Tomines and Kathleen Hogan we can say with Sister Mary, ‘I had the privilege of coming to know the greatness of one of God’s little ones.’

Columban: A Man for All Times

Irish stamp in honor of St Columban

This is the second of two articles on St Columban by a Columban priest who wishes to remain anonymous. The first appeared in our September-October 2015 issue.

The parish church where I come from has parish records dating back to the early 19th century. As a young altar server, I got a job from the sacristan during the summer school-holiday months, to help Irish Americans and other visitors trace their family ancestors. I would open the pages of Baptismal and Marriage Registers, and the smell of old books would perfume the air. Our visitors manifested a curiosity and an inherent longing to connect with their past as they became immersed in piecing together family history. You could almost see them become one in mind and spirit with persons they had heard of, but had never met in the flesh. They were family.

Fr Bernard Toal: First Columban Centenarian

Fr Bernard Toal, the first Columban to reach the age of 100, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, on 17 October 1915 but grew up in nearby Gloucester, New Jersey. He was ordained in Buffalo, New York, on 18 December 1943. Because of World War II he spent the early years of his priesthood in the USA.

Peru: the experience that changed my life

By Emmanuel Trocino

Welcome to Peru, Land of the Incas (‘Land of the Kings’). Many would say that you’ve never really been to this resplendent country until you’ve set foot in the majestic and incomparable Machu Picchu. I was able to visit this Incan legacy. But there’s more to Peru than just visiting its archaeological sites, being amazed at its mountains, jungles and deserts, and getting stuffed with local delicacies. If you stay awhile in Peru you will fall in love with its culture, its tradition, its faith and its people.

I am a Columban seminarian from Pulupandan, Negros Occidental, on First Missionary Assignment (FMA) in Peru. FMA is part of our formation as future Columban priests. We leave our homeland to taste what it’s like to be a missionary in a foreign land, crossing boundaries, experiencing an unfamiliar culture and encountering God in a new face and language.

A Sprouting Hope for Boracay

By ‘Shane’

The author, who is known to the editorial staff here in Bacolod City, prefers to use a pen-name.

Boracay Island, Philippines [Wikimedia]

Boracay is just a tourist destination for many. But for people like me, our world revolves around it. I came here in January 2007 at the encouragement of my uncle to find work here, to be independent and to try to see what I wanted for myself. With my cousin’s assurance of the possibility of a job, I left my small business in Negros and came here instead. I found it simple to live here. No need to wear something extravagant just fit in. Rich or poor, you could enjoy yourself and be friends with visitors from around the globe.

Boracay was just an innocent island for me then. But I was to discover in time that some dark things were and are happening. Prostitution is rampant. Some are infected by AIDS. Other issues include corruption, crime and drugs. It is quite difficult to resolve these issues. It needs government intervention. The situation may seem hopeless but we don’t give up.

November-December 2015

 Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Executed by the Nazis 9 April 1945. Stamp issued in Germany 1995 [Wikipedia]

Through the call of Jesus people become individuals. Willy-nilly, they are compelled to decide, and that decision can only be made by themselves. It is no choice of their own that makes them individuals: it is Christ who makes them individuals by calling them. Every person is called separately, and must follow alone.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Columbans ‘Who Have Gone Before Us With The Sign Of Faith’ - December 2014 – October 2015


REV PATRICK CROWLEY (’51) - 25 October 2015

REV OLIVER C KENNEDY (’47) - 23 October 2015

REV JOSEPH SHIELS (’53) - 4 October 2015

REV DESMOND QUINN (’54) - 20 September 2015

REV PATRICK MEEHAN (’49) - 18 June 2015

REV JACK ROCHE (’57) - 7 May 2015

REV DENIS BARTLEY (’51) - 20 April 2015

REV COLM McKEATING (’62) - 21 March 2015

REV FREDERICK HANSON (’39) - 15 February 2015

REV DAN BARAGRY (’54) - 9 January 2015


Sr Mary Rosarii McTigue SSC - 23 October 2015

Sr Mary O’Dea SSC - 11 October 2015

Sr Mary Justin Cassidy - 25 September 2015


REV MARK KAVANAGH (’50) - 23 December 2014

REV FRANCIS CAREY (’62) - 8 December 2014