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Standing With Us

by digital last modified Sep 23, 2017 11:28 AM

By Emmanuel Trocino... The author is a Columban seminarian who spent his summer 2017 in his hometown Negros. While on vacation, he took the opportunity for an encounter with the mission partners there. He is currently helping in the Mission Promotion office in Manila.

standing with us

By Emmanuel Trocino

The author is a Columban seminarian who spent his summer 2017 in his hometown Negros. While on vacation, he took the opportunity for an encounter with the mission partners there. He is currently helping in the Mission Promotion office in Manila.

Last summer vacation, I was invited by the Misyon staff to their farewell party for Fr. Sean Coyle, the editor-in-chief of Misyononline.com and Columban Mission back then.  After many years in the Philippines, he is finally going home to his native Ireland. A lot of his friends showed up to express their gratitude and well-wishes. One guest expressed his sadness at the thought of Fr. Sean leaving the Philippines, making Fr. Brian Gore the only remaining Columban in Negros.  As I left the party, I couldn’t help but feel sad as well. I wondered if Columban mission in the Philippines would still stand strong despite the thinning presence of its missionaries.

A few weeks later I was invited again, this time by Jayson Arcamo, Columban mission promotion volunteer in Negros, to meet and hold a whole-day recollection for the mission partners in Isabela, an ex-Columban parish. To my surprise, a good number came, most of them friends of former Columban parish priests of their church.  They were full of life and animated as they engaged themselves in the session and when they shared their experiences with the Columbans before. They even provided for our noontime meal. There were moments that day when I caught myself inspired and overwhelmed by their faith and support to the Columban mission, despite the fact that the Columbans have left their parish years ago. In their own way, they continue to respond and participate in the activities organized by the Columbans, making them truly our partners in mission. For me, mission would be difficult, if not impossible, without them.

emman with mission partners   

As I was heading home after that meaningful day, I reminisced once more the recent farewell of the penultimate Columban in Negros. True, Fr. Brian might be the last Columban priest standing in the province but he is not standing alone. For behind this last Columban are the loyal and ardent Columban mission partners, the simple and silent supporters who continue to keep the flame of mission alive in the island of sugarcanes.  

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