A Seminarian For Thirty Years

By Fr Dominic Derramas

The author, a priest of the Diocese of Bacolod, is studying for his Doctorate in Canon Law at the Angelicum University, Rome. He is staying at the Pontificio Collegio Filippino where Fr Peter Tuyen The Tran also resided while studying at the Lateran University in Rome. That’s how the young Bacoleño priest, who wrote about the faith of his late father, Antonio Sr, in the May-June 2016 issue of, came to know the remarkable and inspiring story of the Vietnamese priest.

Fr Peter Tran, Chancellor of the Diocese of St Paul in Alberta, Canada, 2004-2015

St John Paul II, on the fiftieth anniversary of his priestly ordination, said that every priestly vocation at its deepest level, ‘is a great mystery; it is a gift which infinitely transcends the individual.’ (John Paul II, Gift and Mystery:  On the Fiftieth Anniversary of my Priestly Ordination.)  This is true for the vocation story of Fr Peter Tran who became a seminarian at the age of eleven but was ordained at the age of 41.  His priesthood is, in the words of St John Paul II, both a gift and a mystery.

City Of The Thousand Minarets

By Fr David Warren SFM

The author is a member of the Scarboro Foreign Missionary Society (, founded in Canada in 1918. He worked in the Philippines for many years, in the Diocese of Maasin, Southern Leyte, and in San Carlos Major Seminary, Cebu City.

I didn’t need an alarm clock in Cairo. Before sunrise each morning, I was awakened by the call to prayer as it sounded forth from the minaret or tower of the nearby mosque. Allah Akbar! (God is Great!) it would begin. In fact, five times each day the call to prayer would sound forth.

Lives Of Counter-Culture

An Interview with Lay Spiritans John and Katie Flaherty

This article, reprinted with permission, first appeared in the May 2004 edition of Spiritan, the quarterly of the TransCanada Province of the Spiritans, the Congregation of the Holy Ghost,

Lay Spiritans John and Katie Flaherty were interviewed in their modest East End Toronto home. At one stage the proceedings were interrupted by a period of chaos as their children Annie, Gabriel and Locky came home from playing in the park.

World Youth Day

By Samuel Goyvaerts

Samuel Goyvaerts is a Belgian university student. He wrote in the September-October issue about playing the part of Magellan in a Filipino celebration in his town.

I won’t forget quickly the experience of going to Cologne last August with 1,300 other young people from Flanders, the Dutch(Flemish)-speaking part of Belgium, for World Youth Day. One, for example, welcomed 100 young people from the Canadian diocese that had hosted its young participants in WYD 2002 in Toronto.

From Mahayag And Marawi To Toronto

By Adelaida A. Cantona

Adelaida A. Cantona, now living in Toronto, Canada, tells us how Columbans formed her as a child and as a professional, and how their influence guides her in a new country.

I grew up in St Michael Parish, Mahayag, Zamboanga del Sur, run by Columban priests for many years. In fact, my early image of God was strongly associated with Columbans in white sotanas, talking to us kids who loved to play in the church playground.

World Youth Days

By Claire Dulac

Claire Dulac grew up in Haines Junction, a small town in the Yukon Territory in northwest Canada. She attended the World Youth Days in Denver, USA (1993), Manila (1995), Paris, France (1997) and Rome (2000). Here is an edited version of a letter she sent to friends after Rome.

My Dear Friends in Christ,

I have just physically returned from an amazing journey with God and with friends, though my spiritual journey continues. I was extremely privileged to be one of two million youth to attend the Jubilee World Youth Day (WYD) Pilgrimage in Rome, Italy, from 13 to 23 August 2000. What a truly encouraging, spiritual, wonderful, and enlightening experience this was for me.

Remembering Him

By Claire Dulac

Claire Dulac, whose letter on WYD 2000 appears in this issue, gave this talk at a memorial Mass for Pope John Paul in her parish church, St Joseph’s, Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada, on 4 April, two days after the death of Pope John Paul II.

I find it fitting that the youth of this diocese have been asked to speak about their experiences with the Holy Father when we could hear tens of thousands of young people singing in St Peter's Square as he lay on his deathbed. The Holy Father said then, ‘I sought you out and now you come to me. Thank you.’

A Letter To My Special Friends

By Sister Angela Battung RGS

Sister Angela, a regular contributor, introduces us to some of her friends in the nursing home in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she works. They include one whose ‘name’ is that of a popular Canadian beer!

My dear special friends,

I want to thank you all for making me a part of your lives.You, each of you, have been and are a blessing to me. Some of you have praised me for some kindness I have done and continue to do for you by ‘bringing Christ’ to you.You have done much more for me than I have done for you.Each time I went to see you, I found Christ waiting for me with you!

The Prostitutes Will Go Into Heaven Before Us

Sr Angela Battung RGS

Sr Angela Battung, RGS has been a missionary most of her life. Now in Canada with older people, she looks back on her difficult years in Korea and the frustrating ministries she was involved in. Strangely enough it was at work with the prostitutes that grace almost became tangible and it was this work which she remembers with joy.

One of my first ministries in Korea was probably the most frustrating in my life. It was at a large American Base. I worked at the Chaplain’s office as a marriage counselor to American airmen marrying Korean women. Actually my work was to prepare the couples for the Sacrament of Matrimony. The women mostly were bar girls or prostitutes who wanted to go to the land of “unimagined wealth and luxury” or they just wanted free access to PX (imported) goods. The men were no better. Mostly they were those who never went to Mass or Services and cursed freely, hanging out at the Air Base Main Gate or the periphery. Some wanted to marry anyone they could use for black market. “We need an Asian, preferably Korean for the family whore house. Korean women are exotic spice for the flesh trade,” they would say. They had a variety of reasons for marrying. Some disgusting, others unbelievable, most were ‘business deals’. They were going to use each other. They both knew it, but who cared anyway? As long as they made money out of the union!