The Significant Evangelizers of the Modern Time
By Elbert Balbastro, SSC
As a newly ordained priest, I am still adjusting to the novelty of changes that are happening in my life. A new role and new ministry – from being a seminarian and now having the privilege to preside the Eucharist. Although the adjustments I have to take give me joy, I am encountering many struggles and difficulties in this journey. Despite these, I know that I am not alone. The generosity and support of the Columban mission partners inspire me to take the step forward and give me the strength to continue the arduous journey towards serving God. After all, my ordination was made possible because of their love and continued commitment to the mission of the Missionary Society of St. Columban.
I had the chance to serve my home parish in Oton, Iloilo during my seminary years. I first met the parishioners in the chapel at Florvel Subdivision and the members of Oton Catechetical ministry in 2015. These two groups, which became mission partners of the Columbans, were very helpful during my ordination and thanksgiving mass last May 2022. To this day, they continue to campaign for the mission by distributing mite boxes and Alkansya to our parishioners, among other initiatives. Seeing the collective efforts of our mission partners makes me smile and fuels my energy in sharing the joy of the gospel in cross-cultural places.
I associate the goodness of these mission partners with the couple St. Paul mentioned in his letter to the Corinthians. Aquilla and Priscilla were not popular but their effort and commitment to helping St. Paul in his journey to evangelize and spread the love of Jesus Chris were enormous and significant. These mission partners are working in the background as well, but I consider them valuable evangelizers of the modern times. Without their support, love, and prayer, I cannot function well as a missionary priest. Like Aquilla and Pricilla, their assistance in propagating the good news to everyone is commendable and worth appreciating.
God commanded us to, “Go and proclaim the gospel to all nations.” The mission partners and their efforts in obeying the commandment of God is also my foundation to go and serve the people that He has entrusted to me. My thoughts and prayers are always dedicated to them and wish them what Psalm 91:5: says “May the Lord bless you from Zion all the days of your life may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem.”