After every atrocity in the global city there are days of discussion and debate as to why such acts are happening. Blame is thrown around at the individuals who perpetrated the atrocity and the organizations with which they are associated.
Before sharing some memories of my experience as a lay missionary, I would like to thank the Columban Fathers for giving me the opportunity to live one of the greatest life experiences I have ever had.
I used to work with the prison ministry as a seminarian, visiting the national penitentiary called Bilibid, a place for the "rejected and discarded," both young and old men and women deemed "worthless" by society, their communities and even by their own families and friends.
One afternoon while walking from work to the house, I met some people I did not know, and one of them was very helpful. A local deputy asked me where I was going.
The generosity of God's love and that of the Columban Fathers who have gone before us starting with Galvin, Blowick and companions up to those who are still with us at present is what inspired me in my call to mission.
Though she herself readily admitted that she couldn't sing, Gloria participated in the church choir every Sunday. When teased about it, she would laugh heartily and respond that if God wasn't pleased with the voice that He had given her, then He ought to do something to fix it!
When I lived in Pakistan I was part of the 1.6 percent who are Christians in this predominantly Muslim country which has an estimated 203 million people. In Pakistan many Muslims have hardly ever met a Christian and certainly do not know anything about the Christian faith.
Every new beginning entails a risk and the possibility of change. Not all of us welcome risk or change; we may be fearful or lazy, reluctant to leave our comfort zone. But, we are invited to open ourselves to the gifts and graces – and they are without number – that each day holds for us.
In 2005 I went to work in the Yakatamachi parish where a group of Brothers and priests, inspired by Charles de Foucald, lived simply and worked among the homeless.