During my spring break from language school I traveled alone around Japan for ten days. I was a Columban seminarian back then and had only a rudimentary knowledge of that country’s language, customs and places of interest. However, since I had read in my guide book that there was a youth hostel in the town of Manazuru in Kanagawa prefecture, I got off the train in order to spend Saturday night there.
As I walked from the station, with the street map from the guide book open in my hand, I met a man who paused to ask me where I was heading. While I responded to him in my broken Japanese, his breath, reeking of alcohol, enveloped me. I felt very unsure, therefore, when he told me that I was going in the wrong direction! However, since it was still daylight, I took his advice and arrived at the hostel just as he had directed me!
After supper that evening I asked the owner of the hostel if there was a Catholic church in that town...
Naya’s condition has confined her to a wheel chair. Naya is an intelligent adolescent who dreams of being a teacher or a doctor who treats children and adolescents. She enjoys being with her family and going to school. She lives with her grandparents Rosa and Alejo whom she affectionately calls “mom and dad.”
Peru, like all of the other Columban mission regions, is a hard place. The poverty, and all of poverty’s accompanying social ills, is pervasive. I saw plenty about which to despair – abused and neglected women and children, lack of educational opportunity, the shunning of the differently abled...
Lord, bless us in our reflections and ideas:
No matter the doubts,
they are seeds seeking nourishment,
sunshine, life-giving water.
May the lord bless us in all our ways,
Father, Son, and Spirit.