New Zealand

A Little Piece Of Peace

Sister Clare Garcillano SPC

On Saturday, 19 May, I arrived in Dili, East Timor, with so much anxiety. I had finally arrived in my new mission, after waiting for three months. Thinking of what awaited me in this war-torn area and not knowing the main languages made me a little worried. However, I felt some confidence coming to this former colony of Portugal knowing Portuguese. Truly, I did not feel lost at Dili Airport upon arrival. The people there spoke Portuguese, if not that fluently, at least well enough to carry on a conversation. Later I discovered that only those Timorese educated during the colonization by Portugal, which ended in 1975, spoke Portuguese. It is used in government offices and in the business sector and is one of two official languages, the other being Tetum, the national language. Most people can speak Bahasa Indonesia, the result of 27 years of Indonesian occupation. A few speak English, especially UN personnel and the staff of NGOs, many of whom are from Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines.

From Farmhand To Parish Priest

By Father John Walsh SSC

Columban Father John Walsh tells us of his journey from milking cows on the family farm in New Zealand to being a parish priest in Zambales. He also gives us a glimpse of the pain for himself and his family in this.

The Columbans first came to Wellington, New Zealand, in 1943 and the following year opened a house of studies for first-year seminarians. The publicity given to this event was the first news our family received that this mission-sending group now had a house in our country. We always knew that they had a seminary over in Melbourne, Australia, because a cousin of ours had been the very first New Zealander ever to go there back in the 1920s.

Remembering Pinatubo

By Fr Frank O’Kelly MSSC

More than ten years have passed since the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo but for me the memory of that terrible day is still very vivid.

On Philippine Independence Day, Wednesday, June 12, 1991 I attended an ecumenical service in the town plaza of Cabangan.  At around nine in the morning I returned home to write a letter to the former parish priest, Fr Malcolm Sherrard who had been assigned home to New Zealand.

Here Was A Strong And Brave Man

By Fr. John Keenan mssc

As a new century and a new millennium begins, Pope John Paul II is anxious that the lives and deaths of those who suffered and died heroically in the service of others be recorded and documented. The sufferings and death of Fr. Francis Vernon Douglas at the hands of the Japanese Military Police in the Philippines during World War II is one story that must not be forgotten. Fr. John Keenan, a Columban missionary from Ireland, tells us about it.

Fr. Douglas was tortured and is thought to have died near Paete, Laguna, in July 1943. Paete is a quiet country town nestled between the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains and Laguna de Bay, about 115 kms from Manila. Founded as a Christian settlement around 1580, its inhabitants are famous for their woodcarving skills.

In Giving You Will Receive

By Fr. John Griffin, ssc

One day in 1942 the whole school assembly at St. Kevin’s College in Oamaru, New Zealand sat riveted as two priests told of their lives as missionaries in Korea. More exciting for us young lads, their years in faraway Asia had recently included being held as prisoners of war by the Japanese who had finally released then for repatriation.


By: Fr. Ching Espineda SVD

Fr. Ching Espineda comes from the Bicol area: Sorsogon. Sorsogon to be precise. He entered the SVD Seminary after Tagaytay and did some studies in Japan and Australia. Then he was sent off to worked in New Zealand among the Polynesians. We have called this article AOTEAROA because that is the old Polynesian name for New Zealand.

 Three of us volunteered to go the mission: Ghana, Ecuador, and New Zealand. We said then that were the “export” quality of the class. After some years, the missionary in Ecuador went back to the Philippines. The Ghanaian missionary, in the meantime, has become a world famous “Joker”. He is featured regularly in the Columbans Misyon Magazine, I am still here and have gotten used to the cold weather and marmite! (to me, our Bagoong).