Christmas 2016

A Christmas Gift to Japan

  By Fr Philip Ilio Bonifacio

Christmas International Mass 2013, Matsudo Parish, Fr Philip in center

As December starts, people put their Christmas trees up, illumine their houses with Christmas lights and other decorations to create the ambiance of the Christmas season. In the Philippines, people gather in small groups for the evening caroling or daigon, going from house to house using improvised musical instruments. People are excited by the Misa de Gallo. We delight with fireworks greeting the night as we do the count down. It is the favorite time of the year for children as they await their gifts from ninongs and ninangs. Our Christmas comes alive with all the sharing and giving.

I used to think that the spirit of Christmas was the same in every part of the world.

An old story that’s always new

A reflection for International Migrants’ Day, 18 December

By Fr Bobby Gilmore

Rest on the Flight into Egypt, Gerard David [Web Gallery of Art]

Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod. (Mt 2-14-15).

The image of Joseph, Mary and Jesus sitting in the shade of a tree with their donkey tethered to a branch outside some Egyptian town all those years ago is repeated almost daily in newscasts. The plight of Syrian, Iraqi, Libyan and African families fleeing for their lives across water, desert and mountain with a few belongings is reminding us that little has changed for millions of men, women and children. Daily we see the terror in their faces as they scramble aboard rickety boats, reach a Mediterranean beach and then a border crossing secured by military armed with assault rifles.

Honoring Our Culture and Our Habitat

 By Evangelyn Gawason

Making Subanen Christmas cards

My name is Evangelyn Gawason. My friends call me Vangie. I’m a Subanen. The Subanens are an indigenous people whose ancestral homeland covers most of the mountainous Zamboanga Peninsula in the Philippines. For the past six years I have been involved in a livelihood project called Subanen Crafts. Columban Father Vincent Busch started our craft project in 2001 with the help of the Columban Sisters who have been working with the Subanen People since 1984.

Making hand-crafted items is part of the Subanen culture. Using rattan from the forest we weave mats, baskets, storage containers, and other household items. Over the centuries we have also developed a deep spiritual bond with our habitat which we celebrate in rituals and in dance.