I have just completed 40 years in Chile and for 25 of these I have been going to the oldest jail in Santiago called the “Peni,” which is pronounced like “penny.” It was built almost 200 years ago for 500 men. Today there are 5,000 prisoners, and two years ago it held 7,000 men.
More than 20 years ago, I left the Philippines for the first time as a Columban lay missionary assigned to Brazil. It was a very long journey that started from Manila to Salvador, Bahia, situated in the northeast of Brazil, its first capital, and where the Columbans worked.
I arrived in Pakistan in 1994 after joining the Columban lay missionary orientation program which included a focused study on Islam and the Pakistani culture. After four months of language study and immersion into the culture, I was excited to enter more deeply into my new world.
I am Irma Lara Cantago, a Columban lay missionary for many years. A high school teacher by profession, I was teaching for 15 years and at the same time involved in the parish, helping the catechist and lay leadership formation. I had the passion to serve and be with the people.
"Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road?" (Lk 24:32)
Learning a new language is really difficult. One has to become a child again and enter an entirely new culture. The most frequent question that people ask about language studies is, "why learn a new language?"
As he ends his tenure as Columban Superior General, Fr. Kevin O'Neill, shares that the 2018 centennial was an opportunity to look to the past with gratitude and "to celebrate our continuing participation in God's mission today."
Bartimaeus, a beggar, was sitting on the roadside, outside Jericho, blind, begging, isolated, speechless, mute. When he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by He waited. How long did he wait?