“How do you celebrate Christmas in your village?” I asked Salustino, as we battled December’s icy wind while walking back together to the Columban International Seminary on the south side of Chicago. “After nightfall on Christmas Eve the catechist leads our small community in prayer ….and there are also readings from the Bible and carol singing,” he replied. “So you don’t have Mass?” I inquired with an element of surprise in my voice. “No, a priest comes to our village once a year … or maybe just once every two years,” he added thoughtfully.
A year earlier Salustino Villalobos Mondragon, a Columban seminarian, had come from Peru to Chicago to study English. One of a family of twelve, he had grown up in the village of Agua del Leon in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. At the age of twenty, he traveled a twenty-four hour bus journey from there to Lima, the capital city, in order to pursue his dream of becoming a Columban missionary priest.
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to participate in a study program at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute. It is so close to Bethlehem that one can look out across that ancient city from Tantur’s dining room. It was in that dining room that I first met Brother Peter Bray, a New Zealander and a De La Salle Brother.Read More
When the Taiwan Mission Unit (TMU) welcomed our group in June 2011, part of our three-year commitment as Columban lay missionaries was to be in a oneyear fulltime language apostolate as part of our preparation for ministry...Read More
I have experienced a number of natural disasters over my years here and seen the immediate effects of others but I have never seen the extent of the destruction caused by Haiyan.Read More