My First Fiat To God's Call

By Jude M. Garceniego

The author is now studying in St Joseph Regional Seminary, Jaro. His sister Cherryl is a novice with the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters of the Holy Family in Talisay City, Negros Occidental. It was during a high school retreat in Sacred Heart Formation Center, Bacolod, that I made my first ‘fiat’ to God in His calling me to priestly formation.

Our adviser, Ms Alicia Calexterio, now Mrs Alicia Dalanangbayan, the faculty and staff of Our Lady of Lourdes High School, Candoni, Negros Occidental, decided to have the retreat of the graduating class on 6-7 December 2000, with our outing the following day.

Our Hideaway

A Step at Ground Zero

By Cesar Jay-R Ramirez

Jay-R, from Barra, Cagayan de Oro, is the assistant vocation animator for Mindanao.

Filthy things were everywhere. Remnants of missiles scattered. Bullets were all over the place. I got teary-eyed at the heartbreaking scenario at Marawi Ground Zero.

The Gift of Misyon

By Mary Joy Rile

The author started as editorial assistant in 2008 and got promoted to assistant editor with the transfer of Misyon office in Singalong in June 2017.

When I joined Misyon in November 2008 I only thought of a part time job. But the editorial assistant position was such a demanding, full-time job. I accepted the offer but honest enough to tell those in the office that I might not stay for long as I would rather practice my teaching profession. The editor at that time was Columban Fr. Seán Coyle, who told me, “At the end of six-month probationary period, I will have to decide for you to continue or not. I am giving you the same freedom to decide for yourself.” What he said captured me as I found in it the sense of freedom, consideration and responsibility combined. My career path had changed since then. I would have been ten years with Misyon if not for the two-year break when I transferred to Iloilo City in 2013. Nevertheless, my connection with the Columbans continued until my return in 2015. The Misyon office in Bacolod which started in 1988 was finally closed in 2017, along with the retirement of Father Seán. Transferring to Singalong, I joined Arlenne Villahermosa, the first lay missionary to hold the position of editor.


By Liliani Losi Ma’afu

Lili is a Columban lay missionary from Tonga who arrived in the Philippines in December 2015.

I am currently assigned in Cagayan de Oro, to one of the communities named Antipolo, in a sub-parish called Barra. My engagement in the ministry involves accompanying and visiting families, and teaching catechism to the children among others. I am also involved in the Women’s Ministry of the Archdiocese.

When Two Different Roads Tread on One Mission

By Gertrudes C. Samson

The author is a Columban lay missionary from Balintawak, Quezon City who is assigned to England since 2010. Ger is an architect by profession.

Christmas celebration starts early in the Philippines. As the “ber” months are already here, you start to see Christmas decorations in shopping malls and hear Christmas songs playing at the background. Now that I am still here in the Philippines, this brings back one significant memory from the Christmas season last year.

From the Editor

Beginnings – Endings

By Arlenne B. Villahermosa

We just celebrated the feasts of All Saints Day and All Souls Day on November 1 & 2 respectively. I visited the grave of my father and stayed there for a few minutes with my mother and my brothers. While we were talking, I noticed that we often referred to what my father said or his stand on a particular issue or what he shared with us or did for/to us. He’s been dead for one year and six months, but he’s still very much a part of our lives… and will always be. He’s alive in our hearts and minds.

A Pilgrimage for Fr. Vernon’s 75th Death Anniversary

By Mary Joy Rile

Fr. Vernon Douglas, a sketch by Gigi Arevalo, Malate, Manila, July 2018

The Columban priests, sisters, lay missionaries, seminarians and co-workers, with Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) members and staff of Malate Church went on a pilgrimage commemorating the 75th death anniversary of Fr. Francis Vernon Douglas on July 27, 2018. The group passed by the church in Morong, Rizal where Fr. Vernon was assigned for a few weeks in 1938 while learning the Tagalog language.

Our Hideaway

Presence, A Source of Healing

By Elbert Balbastro

The author is a Columban seminarian on a two-year First Mission Assignment (FMA) in Pakistan. Here he shares about his pastoral experience while in the Philippines. Both FMA and Pastoral Ministry form parts of the formation program for seminarians preparing to become a Columban missionary priest.

Elbert Balbastro (front) and Jerry Lohera (back) in Pakistan, March 2018

“I want to be healed. Please help me.” This is a very common petition by the patients at San Lazaro Hospital, Manila. My pastoral experience there for eight months visiting Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS patients opened my eyes to see how these diseases had affected them. Through this ministry, I saw the “poorest of the poor” in them because aside from poor health, most of them were also deprived from material and financial resources.

A Quiet Home for a Homeless

By Virgenia O. Vidad and Fr. Oliver McCrossan

Virgie Vidad is from Ozamiz City who works with Pedaling to Live and Green Shelter, Inc. since its beginning in April 2006. The project was put up by Columban Father Oliver McCrossan. Here she writes about Mary Joy Tabuco, one of the beneficiaries of the project.

Virgie Vidad (left) and Fr. Oli McCrossan (right) with survivors of typhoon Vinta, Lanao del Norte, 2018

I met a very courageous and determined girl sometime in 2005 in Ozamiz City. Her name is Mary Joy Tabuco. She was born on September 8, 1992 in San Jose, Mahayag, Zamboanga del Sur, the eldest among four siblings. At five, she had a very high fever that caused her deafness. During her teenage years, she helped in the rice seed breeding and promotion of Organic Agriculture in Tambulig, Zamboanga del Sur. Ironically, her father was killed by her uncle in Tambulig while they were having fun in the family.