July/ August Far East Out Now

2nd July 2018 - by Katie Fitzpatrick

In the latest issue of the Far East, Fr Donie Hogan recalls the events of the Negros Nine, Fr Alo Connaughton talks to Fr Sean Conneely about his experiences of the healing power of God and his ministry to married couples, and Fr John Boles recounts the humbling brotherly-love of Jose and David.

Fr Donie Hogan was a Columban missionary serving in the Philippines when the Negros Nine saga unfolded. Fr Niall O’Brien and Fr Brian Gore worked in the mountain parishes of Tabugon and Oringao, helping the local people, mainly sugar-cane workers or small farmers, who were extremely poor. The priests helped to build ‘Basic Christian Communities’ which the people in power saw as a threat. On 6 May 1983, Frs Niall O’Brien and Brian Gore and 6 parish leaders saw a helicopter overhead with armed military inside. Along with Filipino priest Fr Vicente Dangan, they were all arrested for a false charge and put in jail. The court proceedings had 50 hearings, throughout which, international support for the Negros Nine grew rapidly. The corruption and violation of human rights by the martial law regime was exposed. President Marcos had declared that the Negros Nine were to be pardoned, but the nine refused this as it implied that they were guilty. Eventually the case was dismissed and the Nine walked out of prison on 3 July 1984.

Fr Alo Connaughton talks to Fr Sean Conneely on his ‘mission to the married’ in Korea, where the Columbans have established around 130 parishes. Fr Alo has worked with ‘Marriage Encounter’ who seek to enrich marital relationships and ‘Retrouvaille’, an international Catholic movement founded in Canada. They discuss the themes of communication, forgiveness, reconciliation, trust in God and trust in each other.

Fr John Boles describes the the humbling bind of love he came across when he met brothers Jose and David. Fr John first met Jose in 2014 in the parish of Saints Columban and Francis Xavier on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. Since birth, Jose’s brother David has been entirely paralysed from the neck down and confined to a wheelchair. Fr John was curious why Jose had never taken David to Church, especially for the annual Mass for the sick. When Fr John was invited to the family home that clung to the side of a steep hill in the Andes mountains, it was clear why. In Lima the poorest inhabitants are often forced to live on the barren upland slopes where the land is less expensive. The steep rocky path is totally unsuitable for the wheelchair. Jose has great admiration for this brother and says that David keeps them united as a family. Jose wants to go back to college to continue his education, in order to get a good job and to get a house on the flat land for David. He would love to qualify as a physiotherapist to help people like his brother.  

Cover July August 2018

Sr Elizabeth Taaffe recalls how her outreach to the elderly brought comfort and faith to a dying young father and his parents. While Sr Elizabeth was working in Hallim, Jeju Island, she met a couple who were taking care of their son Tae Gyu and his son, whose mother had left the family. Tae Gyu suffered with cancer and asked to be baptised. Sr Elizabeth was there while the dying man received the sacraments in a solemn and moving ceremony. 

You can download a sample of the latest issue of the Far East Magazine here:

  Far East July/August Sample (1.6 MiB, 160 hits)

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