Misyon Online - January-February 2016


‘The life and death of each of us has its influence on others’

Fr Geoffrey Revatto

As I was preparing to put the obituary of Columban Fr Geoffrey Revatto online I was struck by the words of Fr Donal Hogan during his funeral homily: 'The life and death of each of us has its influence on others' (Romans 14:7). Father Geoff touched the lives of so many people – especially the poor in Negros, I think in particular of the parish of Sipalay which had been without a resident priest for 50 years till he arrived in the early 1950's.

Here was a young priest who grew up on the south coast of Ireland throwing in his lot with people on the south-east coast of Negros, without even the chance of formally studying the Hiligaynon language they spoke. But his life spoke the language of the Gospel.


Ordination to the Priesthood of Fr Kurt Pala

By Mary Joy Rile

Bishop Elenito Galido of the Diocese of Iligan noted that Fr Kurt Pala was the first Columban from the diocese to be ordained. The Columbans first arrived in what is now the Diocese of Iligan in 1938 and over the years opened up most of the parishes in the diocese. The last Columban left only a few years ago.

Pala Family: Lilia, Kurt, Krisha and Karina

I’ve known Father Kurt since I began working with Misyon in 2008. I have often asked him for photos and articles. We have been sharing each other’s journey and became prayer partners.  Attending his ordination was a grace. Knowing the struggles that he went through all these years, it was very special for me to witness his final YES to God! He recognized the feeling of fear as the day approached. ‘It is scarier than the deaconate ordination,’ he shared. ‘I’m so overwhelmed by the overflowing support, the excitement of everyone in the congregation, friends and relatives, Columban families who flew all the way from different and faraway places. It’s too much for me to contain. They expect so much from me. Can I even keep up with all of this?”  But love was greater. With the full support of his family, his love for God brought him all the way to the altar.


By Bernie Durangparang

The author, originally from Oslob, Cebu, is a teacher by profession but has been a member of the Columban Vocation Team for 19 years. He lives in Ozamiz City.

I recently cried at an ordination. Kurt Pala finally made his commitment at the altar as a priest on 21 November 2015. I was more than happy to have accompanied him in his discernment process since he was in 4th year high school. Truly it is a joy to be part of the vocation team for 19 years now.  The greatest moment for me at Father Kurt’s ordination was when I approached him after the ceremony to kiss his anointed hands. He instead spontaneously embraced me and whispered, ‘Salamat kaayo, Kuya (Thank you so much, Elder Brother)’ . I could only shed a tear at that humbling moment as I uttered, ‘Congratulations, Kurt. Na-pari na gyod ka. (You are now truly a priest)’ .


The Columban Sisters have been present in China since 1926

This appeared as an editorial by ‘JiM’ in the 22 November 2015 issue of Sunday Examiner, the English-language Catholic weekly of the Diocese of Hong Kong. The Columban Sisters were invited to go to Hong Kong in 1947 and left in December 2015.

Sixty-seven years make up a substantial portion of any one lifetime, even a significant period in the brief history of Hong Kong, but less than a blink of the eye in the time frame of the divine. However, it is not by the number of years that we measure the contribution to life and society of those who walk this earth, but the quality of commitment, breadth of imagination, ingenuity in work and, most especially, depth of love.



Columban Sisters with longtime supporter, Rusy Schroff and his wife, 
from left, Sr Nora Mary O’Driscoll, Sr Valerie Hetherton, Sr Nuala Raleigh, 
Sr Fintan Ryan, Sr Victoire Ryan, Sr Rita Deegan and Sr Mary Greaney. 
Photo: The Hong Kong Tuberculosis Chest and Heart Diseases Association

This was one of a number of articles in the 22 November 2015 issue of Sunday Examiner, the English-language weekly of the Diocese of Hong Kong on the occasion of the Missionary Sisters of St Columban leaving Hong Kong in December 2015 after a presence of 68 years. You will find all the articles on the website of Sunday Examine here.

Seven Columban Sisters, all of whom had worked at the Ruttonjee Sanatorium, as the current general hospital in Wan Chai used to be known, traveled from Ireland to join the 60th anniversary celebration of the Hong Kong Tuberculosis Chest and Heart Diseases Association (formerly the Anti-Tuberculosis Association) during October 2008.


By Fr Cireneo Matulac

One of the communities in China visited by Fr Matulac

The author is from Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay, in southwest Mindanao. While a seminarian he spent two years on First Mission Assignment in Chile. After his ordination he went on mission to China. He is now Vice-Rector at the Columban House of Studies in Cubao, Quezon City. He has contributed a number of articles to MISYONonline.com over the years.

Recently I visited some small Catholic communities in the north of China. I visited one particular community, with little more than ten families gathered together, with the Parish Priest. He asked me to give a short talk to the congregation while he was hearing confessions. I thought I would say something on reconciliation and forgiveness. I introduced myself as a missionary priest from the Philippines, a member of the Missionary Society of St Columban.

Columbans work in many places in Asia: China, Korea, Pakistan, Taiwan and the Philippines. I spoke to them of the ministry of reconciliation between Muslims and Christians in Mindanao.


‘A light in the darkness during those Martial Law years’

By Fr Seán Coyle

Attorney Francisco B. Cruz, Knight of St Sylvester

(8 July 1931 – 18 October 2015)

This article is an edited version of a letter published in The Visayan Daily Star on 23 October 2015.

On 18 October 2015 a great human being and outstanding Christian died in Bacolod City, Attorney Francisco B. Cruz, on the eve of the sixth anniversary of his receiving the City’s Banwahanon Award.

This was given ‘for his selfless and free legal service extended to the poor and his vigilance and devotion to the practice of law for over 40 years. He was also cited for his untiring efforts to give an example of law as the vehicle for justice and peace.’

Attorney Cruz was made a Knight of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St Sylvester, Pope and Martyr, by the Vatican. Membership of the Order ‘is intended to award Roman Catholic laymen who are actively involved in the life of the church, particularly as it is exemplified in the exercise of their professional duties and mastership of the different arts.’