Misyon Online - September-October 2007

My Memories With Muslims

By Frater Felmar Castrodes Fiel SVD

The author is studying for the priesthood as a member of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) where seminarians in vows are known as ‘Frater’, the Latin for ‘Brother’.

I once lived in a Catholic compound surrounded by Muslims.  I was still in Grade Two when my parents decided that I should live with my grandparents to continue my studies. This was hard for me since it meant new acquaintances, new surroundings and a new school.

Sunflowers Bloom In Summer

By Fr Geraldo Costa CICM

What makes a summer camp a camp? Is it the indoor and outdoor games? Maybe the fun activities _ pitching a tent, lighting a bonfire at night and roasting hotdogs and marshmallows? Through the eyes of a young child (or a child at heart), such a scenario could be an ideal picture of what a camp should be. This picture was enhanced and made more significant when Sunflower Children's Center came up with an idea for a Development Camp that would cover all these activities and more _ much, much more.

Forgiveness And Inner Healing

By Joy Ampiloquio

Peter came up and asked Jesus, ‘Lord, when my brother wrongs me, how often must I forgive him? Seven times?’ ‘No,’ Jesus replied, ‘Not seven times; I say, seventy times seven times’ (Matthew 18:21-22).

Stricken with guilt

There was a release of guilt on her part. Guilt, as defined by the dictionary, is a condition of having done wrong. It is concerned with a deed which has violated certain norms. ‘The violated norms involved in guilt are often, but not always, moral’ (Aaron Ben Ze’ev: The Subtlety of Emotions, p. 498). We feel guilty after doing something which is forbidden and it typically involves some harm to another agent. This student felt guilty and, at some point, thought that her impulsive action was wrong. When people feel guilty, they try to repair what they have done by apologizing, explaining themselves, offering excuses, confessing and making amends.

The Heart's Hunger

By Junjun Paña Bonhayag

The story of my life started when my mother and father fell in love and got married in Immaculate Conception Parish, Catigbian, Bohol, in 1970. I came into existence on 3 September 1983.

My childhood years had been chock-full of historic bits and pieces – a life mixed with happiness and sadness, love and hatred, wellness and suffering. Though a weak and sickly child, my parents unwaveringly took good care of me.

Why I Am A Columban

By Fr Chris Saenz SSC

Father Chris Saenz is based in Chile and has appeared in these pages before.

He spent part of his formation as a seminarian in the Philippines.

Several times I have recounted my vocational story on ‘how’ I became a Columban.  Now I would like to share ‘why’ I am a Columban. I was ordained a Columban missionary priest in 2000.  Since than there have been many experiences that invite a reflection on the ‘why’ but I will share one concrete experience:  September 11, 2001, as a Columban priest from the United States living in Chile, my mission.

There is ‘the United States’ September 11’ and there is ‘Chile’s September 11’.  On September 11, 1973, the democratically elected government of Chile was overthrown by a military dictatorship led by General Augusto Pinochet.  Pinochet had the backing of the US government.  Thus, September 11 provokes great tensions between pro-Pinochet and anti-Pinochet people.  Often there are protests and clashes in the streets.  However, in 2001 it was a quiet day as the Chilean people mourned for the victims in the United States.

To Search is to find


Is it okay to bring noisy, loud and restless babies/toddlers to Mass?

Last Sunday in a church in England, where I am as I write this, I told the people about the time when I was not yet three when I was ordered out of the church along with my pregnant mother. It was during a weekday Mass after Christmas and I shouted ‘Ba-ba’ at the infant in the crib. I’m sure the priest had ‘got out of bed on the wrong side’ that morning, as we say in Ireland.  I told the people on Sunday that what happened especially to my mother – it was a traumatic experience for her – has always reminded me to be patient with noisy children in church. Later during my homily a baby of one year began to cry and I said ‘He must have been listening to my story’. Everyone laughed and the baby stopped crying.

Matt Talbot – The Workers’ Saint

By Mary Gaffney

Mary Gaffney tells the story of Matt Talbot, a Dubliner who struggled with a drink problem,
then led a severe ascetical life, and became known after his death as the Workers’ Saint.

As a child I used to go on Holiday to an aunt who lived in Parnell Square, Dublin, and every morning would attend Mass in St Saviour’s Church, Dominick Street. To get to Dominick St, I would walk through Granby Lane, where I would stop to pray at the spot where Matt Talbot, the Workers’ Saint, died. It was during those years that I developed a devotion to him that has lasted to this day.

Lufthansa Encounter

By Veronica Ugates

The author is one of Misyon’s regular contributors. She has recently come up with her own magazine, HEROES – a magazine dedicated to our overseas Filipino workers. It has an online version, www.heroesmag.com. She is currently working on her book Questions Women Ask About Their Men.

Lufthansa flights from the Philippines to Tripoli have two stopovers, one in Bangkok and the other 
in Dusseldorf. Returning to Tripoli on the second leg of my trip, I was seated beside a Malaysian lady.

Apparently, she had been observing what I was doing and after I had prayed the rosary she asked me, ‘You’re Catholic, right? What makes you different from others?’ I replied, ‘Hello! Oh, there would be a number of things but I’d venture to say our faith is the most difficult to follow yet it is most practical’.

Beauty In Suffering

Sr Anne Carbon SSC

Sister Anne is from Cagayan de Oro and worked as a nurse before becoming a Columban Sister. She qualified in mental health nursing in England. Her article shows how important that is as she works with children traumatized by years of terrorism in the area of Peru where she lives.

Sr Anne with the children
Sr Anne with the Children


By Eden Po

This is not a story of an old lady who saved the world but rather a memento of a beloved woman who captured many hearts.

By Eden Po

This is not a story of an old lady who saved the world but rather a memento of a beloved woman who captured many hearts.

Mrs Lutgarda T. Bayona, a woman unfamiliar to most of you, passed away on 21 October 2005. She was a bride of Christ in words and deeds.
Mrs Bayona was a teacher by profession. She had been assigned to many schools around Himamaylan City and Binalbagan, Negros Occidental. I was not around then when she was teaching a great number of students, but I know she did a wonderful job, as seen in the lives of her beloved children and grandchildren.

In Rainbow Colors

By Mitzi Ramos

Who knew that a letter of appreciation would be the beginning of eighteen years ' heavenly humor from the mission front to the lap of urban readers? This is exactly how the experiences of an isloated Ghanaian missionary found their way into the pages of Misyon. It is my pleasure to introduce the real Father Joeker. From Joseph Panabang SVD.

Father Joe hails from Gaang,which according to him is a small village. Found in the mountains of Kalinga, the native culture is still quite alive and has been preserved. Father Joe proudly declares that his ancestry is that of the original settlers of the region, with no foreign bloodline mixed in. He is the youngest of a brood of twelve and the only one who has gone beyond elementary studies. He attributes his vocation to the presence of the CICM missionaries in Kalinga who were welcomed by his father into their home even in the absence of being able to offer food, which other locals thought was what the missionaries required. He remembers vividly walking behind the CICM missionary who would go around the playground praying the rosary.

A venue for the youth to express themselves and to share with our readers their mind, their heart and their soul. We are inviting you – students and young professionals – to drop by Our Hideaway and let us know how you are doing.

The Way I Remember ‘Daday”

By Faith S. Lagos

In our lives we experience a lot of things which shape our future.

I was born into a family where everyone believes in God, that God is always the center of our lives. My father is the most disciplined and loving father. My mother is     the light of our family. She is a teacher, a good counselor and the most caring mother in the whole world. My brother is the most handsome brother of all. He loves to play the keyboard and to drive me to school. My sisters are beautiful and charming. My sister Joy is a good singer while my sister Charie is a beauty queen in her own right. I, Faith, am the apple of their eye. I’m the youngest in the family.

We live in a small town named Dueñas. It’s a one-hour drive from the city. It’s a place where people know one other. I live in a two-hectare compound. My grandparents live with us too.

The author has recently migrated to Sydney, Australia. He has contributed an article featured in Misyon’s January-February 2007 issue, Our Hideaway section.

Dear Father Seán,

Salaam Aleikum! It was in my senior year in high school that I found Misyon. My great religion teacher, Mr Eduardo Verdadero, introduced it to our class. He encouraged the writers in our class, especially me, to get published. About three years later, with both of us gone from the school, I finally did it. Idle Thoughts Past an Ash-heaven Morning was my first article to be published and what a feeling I had! My breakthrough after numerous rejections truly saved me from oblivion and furthered my understanding of that great word, ‘hope’. Now, every time I read your magazine, I remember Sir Ed because aside from pointing me towards pretty good food for my soul, in more ways than one, as my best mentor, he influenced me profoundly in the way I look at myself today.

To Search is to find

Is it okay to be late for Mass?

No, it’s not okay to deliberately choose to be late for Sunday Mass.

If you were invited to a wedding or to a birthday party would you deliberately choose to be late?

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD


A Catholic woman was bitten by a deadly poisonous snake at Njao, one of my outstations.  Rushed to the hospital she survived.  ‘While being carried what did you do?’ I asked her during the catechism class. ‘I placed my rosary in my mouth, Father.’

The catechist turned to me saying, ‘Now, I understand why she said a while ago she could not pray then’.

Tommy, His Mother And I

By Fr Bobby Gilmore SSC

Fr Bobby Gilmore, a Columban from Ireland and a regular contributor to these pages, spent many years in Mindanao and later in Jamaica. He then worked with Irish migrants in Britain where, with others, he helped secure the release of a group of Irishmen wrongly jailed for a bombing. He is the Chairperson of the Migrant Rights Centre in Dublin (www.mrci.ie). Here he reflects on the heartbreak involved in emigration, drawing on an experience while in Jamaica. For Jamaicans the ‘Barrel’ symbolizes everything that the Balikbayan Box does for Filipinos.

A crisis of papers unfixed,
two three jobs as a domestic
and weathering the cold,
the barrel
in her kitchen-corner

a ship’s hold, constantly
waiting to be filled –
This time bargain clothes,
employers’ cast-offs
for the children back home

(Grace Nichols, Jamaican poet)

Yoga in Christianity

s yoga sinful or against Christian teachings?

I have never been comfortable with the attraction of some Western Catholics and other Christians for methods of prayer from Eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism. Although the Philippines is part of Asia, it’s Christian tradition came from the West. Buddhism and Hinduism have never had strong roots in the country. I don’t know very much about contemplative prayer in Islam.

The author is currently a fourth year student at St Scholastica's College, Manila.  She shares what lessons she had gleaned from an article we featured in our January - February 2007 issue.  We welcome our readers' comments, reflections and realizations on the stories we feature.


Dear Father Seán Coyle,



I want to share my thoughts on one of the articles in the January-February 2007 issue of Misyon, New Year in February.