November-December 2006

Simple Joys in Mission

By Savio Angelo Sanchez SDB

Traditional dancers from Lise Oalai 
and the Moveave tribes

I received the missionary cross on 27 April 2004 from our Regional Superior. Our Provincial Superior assigned me to Araimiri, in the Gulf Province of Papua New Guinea. I noticed the different reactions of people to this news. Many wished me luck. Some were surprised. Others promised that they would pray for me. Others again warned about malaria and ‘cannibals’! Some were afraid I wouldn’t last because of the tough life and also because of my physical health. But I still obeyed my superior. Besides, I had volunteered to go to the missions. So, armed with the prayers, support and encouragement of my confreres, friends and loved ones, I headed for PNG.

Christmas Away From Home

By Leonides ‘Junby’ Saguisag Jr

Christmas with Filipino friends

Prior to migrating ‘for good,’ I spent my summer vacation, April and May 1997, in the United States, trying to get a feel for life there. It would be a little over a year before I’d finally migrate in June 1998. My reason for emigrating was really more of a ‘going along for the ride’ rather than an outright search for a ‘better life,’ as many other migrants have done. My maternal grandmother was already living in the USA then and had petitioned for my parents to join her. When my parents' petition came through I was a nineteen-year-old college student, finishing third year at Ateneo de Manila University, majoring in Computer Science. The opportunity to be based in Silicon Valley, the heart of the computer industry, was too good to pass up. So when I was granted a Resident Alien visa, the ‘green card,’ I took the chance that God had given me and emigrated a few months after I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in March 1998.

Why Ireland

By Gracia Kibad

(L-R) Columban missionaries Gracia Kibad, 
Carla Petautschnig and Susy Tramoloa

Gracia Kibad, a Columban lay missionary from Bauko, Mountain Province, has been in Ireland since 1996.

Discovering The Children Of Senegal

By John P. Mallare CICM

John P. Mallare, a seminarian, was born in BaguioCity and entered the CICMs in 1995. After his studies in philosophy and theology he was sent to Senegal in 2005 for his internship. You may learn more about the CICM missionaries at and .

The author (extreme right, third row) poses with his students and fellow teachers in St Abraham School, Guédiawayé, Senegal

Dear Father Sean,

After all the periodicals we had in school, I managed to read the Misyon Magazines that the school is providing. Reading them was not a mere obligation or a responsibility for me but a mission personally. An article from the youth’s page entitled “Searching for a Best Friend”, completely brought me to a halt and pause for a while. The writer found her best friends and it was none other than Jesus. “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.”

It often occurred to me the feeling of being left out and neglected. Maybe it’s because of me being too possessive of my friends. I have a lot of friends in school or simply I know a lot of people. I allow myself to make friends with other people and learn how to deal with them. But I never had the usual relationship with a best friend. It’s not in my social life to have one. But if time tells me I won’t miss the chance.


By May R. Sicat-Saquing

How sweet it was to reach 30! With a very loving and supportive husband who greeted me with aHappy Pearly White Birthday banner, 30 shots of firecrackers, a choir and my pearl-set jewelry (hidden in a cake), what more could I ask for?

I was born at 11:40am via Cesarean section on 5 May 1975. I told the people around me that I’d be one of the luckiest persons on earth when I turned 30 on 05-05-05. Indeed, I was.

Assisted By Grace And Wind

By Bernard J. McGuckian SJ

The author is one of three brothers who are Jesuit priests in Ireland.

St Francis Xavier

Last 7 April was the 500th anniversary of the birth of St Francis Xavier, generally regarded as the greatest Christian missionary since St Paul. He was born in the Spanish Basque country in the castle of Xavier, a word that simply means ‘new house’ in Basque. The public missionary dimension of his life lasted for ten short years ending with his death on 3 December 1552 on Sancian Island, situated a short distance from the Chinese mainland, about 64 kms from Macao. What happened in those ten years has become the stuff of legend – with one major difference to most legends: the facts were even more extraordinary than the stories.

The Twelve Days Of Christmas

The story below is a common one, explaining the meaning of ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas.’ Some say it is purely fanciful, an enduring example of an ‘urban myth.’ Whether or not it has any basis in fact, each of us can ask ourselves if we’re familiar with the Christian truths it is said to allude to.  And the carol can be great to sing, especially with youngsters!

What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the ‘partridge in a pear tree’ have to do with Christmas? From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. [Editor’s note: most restrictions had been lifted before 1829, when the Catholic Emancipation Law came into effect in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland]. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church.

Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality, which the children could remember. The one giving the gifts,‘My true love,’ is God.  

1.The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ.

A Christmas Carol For You

By Victor V. Yambao

Victor V. Yambao, a retired Catholic school principal, appeared on these pages in November-December 2003.

Ring, O bells, hear them loud and clear
For today the Savior is born.
Let’s fill our hearts with all the cheer
Of greeting Him this yuletide season.

The Bethlehem of long ago,
Let it come into our hearts
That joy tiding melt the ice floe
Within our souls with love darts.

Come, Jesus, keep us in joyful bless
With you in manger as you sleep.
Lie down in our hearts in peace
That we will not fall down the cliff.

The Bird

By Fr Aedan McGrath (1906-2000)

Composed during his captivity in China  between 1950 and 1953.

I have one little friend within this jail,
Who comes each day to visit without fail;
And which he loves — just me, or what I give
I should not like to be too positive.

Reflections Of The Heart

How does it feel to be in your eighties?
With gaze steady on the dawn of eternity . . .
With failing eyesight that dims with each passing day . . .
With deficient hearing that strains to catch some words . . .
With arthritic fingers that still produce wonderful works of art . . .
With toes deformed with rheumatoid arthritis . . .
With unsteady steps that wobble in measured pace . . .
With diabetes, scoliosis, emphysema to bear with . . .
What a ‘wreckage’ after 81 long and fruitful years!

But all these will once again shine
And gain their former luster
Once on the eternal shore
In the embrace of our Triune God
Resting in His bosom will glory
The precious ‘PEARL’ for all eternity.