It has been nearly a year since I arrived in Pakistan as a lay missionary. If I were to describe the experience so far, I would have to say it has been very challenging but at the same time, fun.
Who would have imagined that I would be cooking food and treating people? I was a total stranger to cooking before joining the lay missionary sending orientation program in Korea. All I could cook was instant noodles.
The Parkari Kohlis are one of many tribal peoples in Sindh, Pakistan, who live in an on-going state of liminality; that is geographically, religiously, economically, politically and socially they live on the edge.
The Subanens are an indigenous people whose ancestral habitat is the highlands of northwestern Mindanao in the Philippines.
While the rest of the world shops and parties frenetically in December, the people in Fiji busy themselves too – in providing retreats, carol singing and charitable outreaches to the less fortunate.
Christmas always brings joy in my life. As a child, I always looked forward to the coming of that day. However, as time progressed, I realized that Christmas does not only bring joy but also an attached message with it. It is God, conveying and reminding me of my journey as a missionary.
People often boast about having celebrated Mass in churches that are, “centuries old,” such as the great cathedrals of Europe. But, what about celebrating in a place of worship over FOUR THOUSAND years old?
Last year, at the beginning of Advent, I received a letter. The letter was inviting myself and the youth of the parish to “A Christmas feast to commemorate Christmas.” Fijian people are always ready and willing to attend a feast, and I also read the invitation letter with delight.
In 2013, after twelve years in administrative assignments with the Columban Fathers, I was given the chance to take a sabbatical. I seized the opportunity and chose to do a six-week course at the Tantur Institute south of Jerusalem.
Near Tantur there was a main bus route and along that road were the ruins of an ancient church. I stopped to look closely at the ruin that I had spotted from the bus window. I was curious about it because it was the same shape (octagonal) as the last church where I had been pastor, Sts. Simon and Jude in Fujisawa, Japan.
I discovered that the site held the remains of a Church built in the byzantine period of history (about 1500 years ago). One very interesting thing was the location. If you were traveling from Nazareth, via Jerusalem to Bethlehem as Mary and Joseph did, this would be the spot where you would walk uphill and catch your first glimpse of Bethlehem.
Fr. Peter O’Neill, the Columban Leader in Australia and the Columban Peace, Ecology and Justice Coordinator, visited Timorese workers at the Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in East Warrnambool for Christmas. The workers have been warmly welcomed by the parish priest Fr. Lawrence O’Toole and the local parishioners.
The missionary journey of Jorge Juaregui, called Coco for short, and his wife Rosa Ramirez, began when the Columban Fathers assumed responsibility for the rapidly expanding housing estates being built on land that was once part of a large rural hacienda called Santa Rosa near Jorge Chavez Interna