Father Joker

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD


One time I brought my cousins, Henry and Benita, to our cemetery at Christ the King Seminary inQuezon City. I told them, ‘Today we’re going to where I will be one day. When that day comes, you must come and visit. It doesn’t matter which of the empty graves I’ll be in.  I’ll still listen to you from the grave.’ I think I scared my cousins because they asked to leave right away.

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD


At the height of my malaria, I was chilled and shaking violently.  Mr Charles Kudawe, our cook, spread two more blankets over me and held me tightly to stop me from shaking. I mumbled, ‘Charles, what are you doing to me?!’ He must have thought he could stop malaria this way.

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD


My parish is divided into two major zones: Nsawkaw (Twi-speaking) and Banda (Nafana-speaking). After almost two years of organizing them, I was on the verge of giving up on the Banda people. They showed no sign of progress. Sitting under a mango tree, I was about to decide to close down the zone when out of the blue a hen with her chicks appeared from the bush. The hen started scratching on the ground and her chicks rushed but found no food. Then the hen started again … again … and again. Suddenly it dawned on me -- if the hen wasn’t giving up, then why should I? Call it craziness or what, but I literally ran to look for the hen to thank her for enlightening me!

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD


I was in Kukurantumi, one of our SVD parishes in Ghana. I went around the compound and saw their palm and coffee plantation. I commended them for their venture and said, ‘You plant your own coffee; you drink your own coffee. This is what we call self-sufficiency.’ However, one of the SVD priests objected, ‘But I take only tea!’ Oh, I forgot, not everybody drinks coffee.

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD


I said Mass at Good Shepherd Convent in Baguio. It happened to be the Feast of Sto Niño. When Mass was about to begin, I had a little problem with the tiny microphone on my vestments. While struggling to put it on, I mindlessly said to myself, ‘Even their microphone is so small, like a Sto Niño …’ – unaware that the mike was on. I was so embarrassed when I saw the people smiling. Obviously they heard what I said. Me and my big mouth!


After the first Saturday Mass at Christ the King Seminary,Quezon City, an old woman asked me for a blessing. While she bowed her head, I took from her the plastic container that looked like a holy water bottle and started sprinkling.  But nothing came out except for a drop on her hand. To my surprise, it was oil, not holy water.  Whew, what a disaster had I sprinkled oil all over her white dress!

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD


Before Mass at Christ the King Grotto in Quezon City, Fr Joks Galolo SVD introduced me to one of the guest priests who said, as I thought, ‘I am a Siberian missionary.’ I was happy that at last we had a priest from Siberia. Later, he clarified, ‘I’m Fr Eugene Fuccini, a Xaverian missionary, from Northern Italy.’

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD


One Monday evening I had dinner at the Columban House in Singalong St. Manila. Sitting beside me was Maria, a Columban Lay Missionary from Fiji, working in Manila. All of a sudden while we were eating, she started texting the Misyon promoters, telling them in all excitement about me. They told Maria to ask me what the correct spelling of my name was, as they had been discussing this earlier. Was it ‘Joeker’? ‘Joker’? ‘Jawcare’? Well, well, well. Why don’t you just call me ‘Joe’?

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD


At times, if not all the time, some people keep yawning during the homily. One Sunday, Father Stanislaw Gergont SVD, assistant parish priest of Kintampo, suddenly clapped his hands to get the attention of the sleepyheads and begged, ‘Please, just give me two minutes to finish my homily.’

Father Joeker

Ang Medalyon

Noong nasa Germany ako, pumunta ako sa isang department store. Tinanong ko ang sales lady kung ano ang pwede kong mabili sa 50 pfennigs ko -– hindi ko kasi kabisado ang halaga ng pfennigs sa peso. Sinamahan niya ako sa jewelry section. Laking tuwa ko kasi mukhang makakabili ako ng isang mamahaling kwintas. Pero isang pagkaliit-liit na