Children Whose Classroom is a Cemetery

“And go quickly, and tell his disciples that HE is Risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the epulcher with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.”
Matthew 28:7-8

This passage from Scripture communicates to each of us the urgency with which the angel wanted the women to respond to the message that Jesus had Risen! The resurrection of Jesus and seeing him again in Galilee was good news and indeed an urgent message to share with others. This is the task of Columban missionaries.

Columban Sr. Julietta Choi is on her first missionary assignment to the Philippines where she takes the urgent message of Jesus unconditional love to the children – homeless children who actually find refuge in a cemetery.

Sr. Julietta provides aid and comfort to many of the “cemetery children”

Sr. Julietta writes, “Before coming to the Philippines I heard that some of our Sisters had started a ministry for homeless people who live in a cemetery in Manila. How is that possible? I asked myself; cemeteries are for the dead, not for the living. I felt a mysterious force pulling me there. One of our Sisters told me that many children lived among the graves. This really distressed me as before I joined the Columban Sisters, I had taught children in school. I could not imagine them – the little ones living among the dead.

The children living in the cemetery were very dark, dirty, some with no clothes, and most without shoes. All the theology that I had studied throughout my formation did not fit at all with the reality that I had just experienced. I had no understanding of what it might
mean to follow Jesus all the way. It was a shocking self-revelation. Until then, I realized I hadn’t yet found the true meaning of what is was to be a missionary.

However, I saw in the eyes of the children a hunger for learning. I felt their yearning, and I knew I could not reject the eyes of the children who were looking at me. So I went back. There are now 40 to 50 children who are waiting to be loved and to love. As days go by I get the feeling that Jesus loves the cemetery children more and more each day, and I too have come to love them very much. I met a loving Jesus in the cemetery through the children. He had been there all the time patiently waiting to meet me.”

For us as Christians, this is the most joyous season of celebration in the entire year, as we rejoice in the power of God’s love, allowing us “to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” as St. Peter put it.

With your generous prayerful and financial support, Sr. Julietta and other Columban missionaries are able to take the Good News of Jesus Christ to the poor, the marginalized…and yes, even to the children living in cemeteries.

This is the heart of our ministry together, and your special Easter gift will to help us connect people everywhere to the power of God’s love…to the power of the Resurrection…to a renewal of life and hope and joy, through Jesus and Mary.
In gratitude for all you do for us, we will remember you and your intentions in special Masses and prayers throughout this Easter Season. Thank you very much for your generosity.