Having the chance to journey with Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL/inmates) at the country’s largest penal colony that houses around 28,000 inmates is a rare opportunity that transformed my own prejudices about them. I find, that just like many of us in a free society, they too feel lonely. Many of them thirst for a loving and forgiving God. Still, they manage to start a new life. It inspires me to see that in spite of their situation, many find God present in their lives.
~Jerry A. Lohera (Filipino)
Pasay Cemetery Pastoral Experience
I have been assigned to Pasay Cemetery in Manila for my pastoral placement for two years. I normally go on Saturdays and spend two hours with the people who live there. Looking back on the last two years of my encounters with people who live in and among burial tombs, it has been a unique opportunity to better understand what life is all about. More importantly, I was able to discover more things about myself by looking at the lives of the people in the cemetery. My ministry was to share the love of Jesus Christ with these people but instead I encountered Him in them. My visits came to a stop because of the COVID-19 lockdown, but I still remember the learnings I got from these tremendous experiences. I will always remember them in my daily prayer.
~ Uakeia Tawaia (Kiribati)
Mission Promotion Experience
Being able to work in Mission Promotion as a seminarian is an enriching opportunity for me to discern my vocation on a deeper level, to know more about the Columbans and to get inspiration in following the missionary way of life. By meeting our Columban Mission Partners and the other people who extended their help during our mission appeals in different parishes and churches, I came to the understanding that missionary life is not only for people who go overseas for mission. Rather, everyone has their own part to play in supporting the mission of Jesus Christ.
Hearing stories from our Columban Mission Partners about their experiences with the Columban missionaries in the past, has been the best way for me to know who the Columbans really are. Their emotional yet inspiring depictions of how the Columbans have impacted their lives for good show how committed they are to becoming missionaries themselves. By being Columban Mission Partners, they are continuing the missionary work that once shaped their very own lives.
Seeing people give the very little they have for the mission gives me the sense of “being sent by Christ”. I live with the inspiration, courage and joy that wherever I may be in the future (or even now as a seminarian when I do my pastoral work), I am not alone. I have our Columban Mission Partners’ prayers and support and I have God – that’s more than enough to keep me going on the journey.
~Marvin A. Salarda (Filipino)
I am grateful that I have the chance to help out in vocation and mission promotion work during my summer vacation. I get the opportunity to personally thank the Columban Mission Partners and benefactors for their generosity. By serenading our Columban benefactors, we, Columban students, are able to express our gratitude towards them. Aside from singing, I have been able to share my vocation story with young students in different schools and parishes. It amazes me how hospitable and generous the people are. Even though we are not related by blood, we are able to get along together as family with the same reason and purpose: to work in the vineyard of the Lord. The whole experience gives me a glimpse of what missionary work looks like; it is not just about traveling; rather, it is about strengthening and building relationships with people in the community.
~Larry G. Duerme (Filipino)