September-October 2000

The Lame Will Walk

By Gee-Gee O. Torres

The great struggle to end anti-personnel landmines continues. Up to now, in spite of the campaign of Princess Diana, Pax Christi and a great number of Christian and to there group throughout the world, some countries continue to make landmines: Pakistan, India, USA, China. Below is an account of our Assistant Editor’s visit to Cambodia where she visited our Filipino missionaries and was faced with the stark reality of the effects of the landmines. (Ed.)

Before I went to Cambodia last year to visit our Filipino missionaries I had to finish laying out our March-April 2000 issue. I also had to edit the articles which I enjoyed doing, except for one: the articles on landmines. I quivered as I read the lines describing how landmines tore off the limbs of the victims. So I went to Cambodia not only with my unpleasant memory of the movie, The Killing Fields, but also with the uncertainty of my safety. I could step on a landmine by chance and lose my leg or... my life. Was I ready to take this risk? I had to make a decision. I decided to go.

From The Jaws Of Death

By Baby Hofileña

When Baby Hofileña shared some of her ‘journey’ a few issues back, she never mentioned that she is a member of the Focolare Movement. The Focolare Movement does not preach very loudly in words but it does affects the lives of the members so I asked Baby to tell us something about this hidden but powerful movement which is having such an effect throughout the world. (Ed.)

I am Baby, 71 years old, and my husband, Cris, is 76. In the January-February 2000 issue of Misyon, Fr. Niall O’ Brien published an article of mine entitled, The Best Time is Now. It showed how one’s wrong attitudes and behavior, with God’s grace, can gradually be turned around into seeking His will and discovering His love. I owe this to many graces but in a special way to the Focolare Movement which I came to in midlife.

Why I Believe Life Is Good

By Bo Sanchez

There are some things in life which I deeply enjoy. Like standing on top of a serene mountain breathing in God’s beauty. Or simply reading a good fat book that I can’t put down. Or just being hugged by a little child or eating ice cream with friends. But here is this one specific thing that I do which I find exquisitely sweet. Awesome even. It probably one of the most profoundly inspiring things that I do.

Bloom Where You Are

The radical theology of Therese of Lisieux

By Ma. Ceres Doyo

Through her pen the world learned about the story of her soul and her wondrous journey into deep intimacy with God. She did not have a huge following when she was alive for she lived in obscurity in a Carmelite monastery. She did not leave behind large missionary foundations. But through her writing that were made public after she died at the age of 24 in 1897, people got to know her and were amazed at the depth of her spirituality.

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, popularly known as Saint Therese of Lisieux or the Little Flower, has arrived in the country. Most Filipinos know her as Santa Teresita. Her relics arrived for a three-month journey across the Philippines and some parts of Asia. The veneration of relics of saints is not idolatry. According to a primer on St. Therese relics, “The veneration must be seen in the way men and women of all ages and cultures venerate the dead and pray in front of her mortal remains. The relics of the saints, meditations of their presence and memorials of their historical existence evoke their humanity – the way they lived, worked, suffered and prayed. Through their relics, God manifest His presence and shows forth His might and glory.” Bishop Ramon Arguelles, Military Vicar and Chair of the millennium Saint Foundation, says that in welcoming  Therese’s relics, and her little way of confidence and love, the Church welcomes God’s merciful love. He quotes the Bible, saying: “And a little Child shall lead us.”

Dare To Dream

By Gloria Canama, Columban Lay Missionary

In Pakistan women are second class citizens in culture, in law, in religion and in many small details of daily life. As a result they have a low self-esteem. Gloria Canama tells us how simple Bible sharing helps build up Pakistani women’s self-worth.

The Couples Reach Libya

By Veronica Ugates

Libya is on the north coast of Africa. At one time, a couple of thousand years ago, it was part of the Roman Empire. In fact that was where St. Augustine’s famous city of Hippo was. Today it is a Muslim country but Christians are allowed a little room for movement, quite unlike some other countries in North Africa. Veronica Ugates, together with a Filipino community there through a beautiful spiritual experience had got involved in the Couples for Christ. The Couples for Christ is an organization which tries to help husband and wife to pull together in the same direction, to bring their life in line with Christ and supports family values in the light of the Gospel. A great organization. Here you will see how it flourishes even in the deserts of far-of Libya.

The Peddler

By Fr. Rolly Aniscal ssc

I was selling fruits in a bus terminal before I knew the Columbans. Being the eldest of five, I had to help my parents in this kind of livelihood. Since seven, it had been my life. My parents were peddlers at a bus terminal and through them I learned to face one of the hard facts of life: how to live in a situation where what you earned on that day is consumed on that same day. I had no intention whatsoever of finishing college because I didn’t see any reason of doing so. What the use? Money flows in the terminal if you are industrious enough to run when the bus arrives and know how to entertain people in order to buy your fruits. Frugality then became my acquired value- save the last penny because it is not easy to get it.

In The Land Of Monks

By Fr. Benny Enano cm

Fr. Benny Enano, a Vincentian missionary, is from Igbaras, Iloilo. He is the youngest of five children. After his ordination in June 29, 1991 he was assigned as parish priest to Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Parish, Molo. Then a few years later he was sent to Thailand for mission.

I was sent here in Thailand 5 years ago to join our two missionary priests in their mission work. Thailand is a Buddhist country where monks play a very important role in the spiritual life of the people. I studied the Thai language three hours a week in Khon Khaen University under an individual instruction for six months. But after a year I just found myself being assigned as a parish priest of Holy Saints Parish. I wasn’t prepared for the job yet. My learning of Thai was still inadequate. Thai language is very difficult. It has its own script, it is  made up of many characters and one word means many things – according to the sound or tone. But then I was forced to study hard all by myself when I had to start saying the  Mass in Thai. For a start, I asked one of our scholars to read the readings for the Mass in Thai while I wrote it in phonetics. This allowed me to read Thai words. Eventually I moved on to reading scriptures in Thai and at the same time learning how to write the homily in Thai. With the help of the students in the community, I was able to improve and even did the homily without anymore reading it.

Home At Last

By Sr. Marie Madeline ocd

Some years ago the Carmelites of the Philippines decided to send a missionary team to Ghana, Africa, carrying on them missionary spirit of St. Therese as their response to the Pope’s call in 1981 when he visited the Philippines that more Filipino Catholics serve in Africa. In 1998, after a year’s preparation in which they lived together as a community, a group of young sisters set out for the long journey to Africa along with her mother superior, Sister Marie Madeline. Luckily they had a guardian angel, Father Charles, and many other angels on their way. Here is an extract from Sr. Madeline story of how she accompanied this new group of contemplative nuns bravely setting out for Africa at a time when Africa, contorted with war and famine, is no picnic. We apologize for cutting down Sisters beautiful article in which she thanked so many people but space only allows us the following. One their way to Africa they stopped in Rome and actually met the Holy Father and got a special blessing from him. From Rome the Sisters set off for Africa. (Ed)

A Miracle For Donnie Part III

By Donnie Lama

We continued the story of the arrest and imprisoned in Saudi Arabia of Donnie Lama for leading a Liturgy of the Word – with communion – for his fellow Catholics.

Finally, the court, the court summoned me. The judge confronted me with my admission that I preached as a Christian for 15 years. It said so in the paper. I placed my thumb mark on. On this basis, the court sent me to the Malaz Jail. To me, it was an improvement compared to the isolation cell where I was confined for the previous weeks. It was bigger and I could accept visitors. I was now in the national prison of Saudi Arabia. I found myself welcomed by several prisoners – Christian and Muslim. Most of them were Filipinos. The Filipino prisoners at the time were estimate to be at least a hundred. On the way to prison, I was submitting myself to the Lord: “Lord, help me to accept your will and your purposes for me, I entrust myself to you. Take care of my family for me. I cannot do anything anymore. I don’t know what will happen next. But I know that you will be with me.” Prison life was a miracle in itself for me. Surviving each day was grace enough from the Lord.

I Deny my Faith and I’m Free

Very early on, I was tempted to give up my Christian faith in exchange for freedom. Some Filipinos who had converted to the Muslim faith challenged me to do the same. My punishment would be lessened, they said, and I would be set free in no time at all; no questions asked. If not, I may die in prison, but it is not that easy to give up your own faith, I argued. I immediately recognized the devils voice as the proposal was being broached to me. “You’re stubborn! We are telling you the strategy and yet you persist in your religious crusade. You cannot eat religion!” I countered. “If you say that is the fastest way to freedom why are you still here?  Should you not have been released? Didn’t you give up your Christian faith for Islam?” the argument stopped there. I had just proven my point.