My only contact with the Columbans before going to the seminary in Suva, Fiji, was when Columban Fr. Frank Hoare visited my home in Tonga to interview me about becoming a Columban missionary priest.
The Ai Jia Development Center was founded by the Hsinchu Catholic diocese in Taiwan to help and support mentally challenged adult students. Like in many other countries, mentally challenged people in Taiwan are not considered as important.
Audy was a bright-eyed, smiling three-month-old baby who arrived at church for her baptism in the arms of her proud father, Jason. I chatted with him for some moments at the entrance to the church while a large number of relatives and friends of the family arrived.
My name is Evangelyn Gawason. My friends call me Vangie. I'm a Subanen. The Subanens are an indigenous people whose ancestral homeland covers most of the mountainous Zamboanga Peninsula in the Philippines.
Sociologists claim that one of the major problems in much of the world is that nowadays people only listen to, read of and converse with people who think the same as them.
I first encountered Tien in Tokyo. He had traveled there from Australia, while I had come from Ireland. Both of us were Columban seminarians who had come to Japan in order to study the language and learn about missionary life. Both of us were twenty-seven years old.
Veidrala is located on the Northeast of Vitilevu under the province of Nakorotubu in Ra. It is a 2 ½ hours bus ride from Suva, the capital of Fiji, followed by another 45-minute boat ride to reach Veidrala.
Chile is very far from my native land, with different people, language, culture, climate and food. It is a Catholic country which is very abundant in resources. During my Mission Sending Mass last year, our parish priest asked me why I was going to Chile for mission then.
One of the many gifts and blessings I experience in the United States as I travel during the summer for the church appeals is the universality of the Church and meeting people from the different ethnic groups from Eastern Europe, Latin and Central America and Asia.