Thursday, August 13, 2015

August 2015

For Our Reflection

The Parable of the Sower

In the parable there is a clear crescendo of soil conditions for growth. So in the best soil scenario we would spontaneously expect that the yield would be always 100-fold. Yet Jesus tells us that in some cases it was indeed 100-fold, but in some other cases it was only 60-fold or even 30-fold. What can the Lord be telling us through this? I believe the Lord is teaching us a twofold lesson.
First lesson: we cannot judge other people’s yield. It may well be that others are offering optimum soil for growth, but they have been given low-yield grain. We just have no way of knowing what the Lord has planted in their hearts and any expectation on our side lacks a basis for assessment. This means that we simply cannot judge what may appear to us to be low yield.
Second lesson: self-perfectionism does not belong in the spiritual life for the parallel reason that we do not know what type of seed the Lord has planted in our own hearts. Even if we prepare optimum soil conditions, we do not have to yield the theoretically possible maximum, nor do we have to make it to the Guinness book of records. We do have to strive to yield the best we can do. Not necessarily the absolute best, but only our best. Our yield potential is not even well known to us. We just have to be good, faithful stewards of the seed planted in us.

Fr. Edgar Celebrates Mass in Iwaki Fukushima

Fr. Edgar celebrated the mass in Fukushima Taira Iwaki Catholic Church last July 19.  After some months of adjusting to his schedule, at last he was able to visit Taira, Iwaki and celebrated the mass with the Filipinos in the community. The parish priest had been asking us to do the regular mass there, we hope to do it with proper coordination and scheduling.

Fr. Garry celebrated the mass in Hirosaki

After some weeks rescheduling our monthly mass in Hirosaki, we were able to agree on a date in which Fr. Garry will be available to celebrate the mass with us here in Hirosaki. During our monthly mass, we gather together offer the rosary to our Lady and pray together our Wednesday Novena.  After our Mass, we decided to go together to Goshogawa and just have some simple sharing.  It was a good way to be together.

CTIC Celebrates is 25th Year

I am able to join the celebration of CTIC 25th year celebration in Meguro last July 20. I decided to join the celebration since I also have a meeting with AOS core group the day after the celebration in Yokohama.  The mass was officiated by Bishop Okada of Tokyo Archdiocese and there were around 30 concelebrants who joined the bishop.
After the mass a simple party is held at the church hall. Its good to meet some good friends and people whom I worked with from the diocese of Hiroshima and people who helped us here in the diocese after the disaster of 2011.

with Fr. Edwin of CTIC 

with some friends from Tokyo

Heroes for Better Award

Heroes For Better is a Global Tribute and Advocacy that aims to celebrate and recognize the efforts of Filipinos around the world who, in their own little way, have given their time, personal resources, skill or expertise to make a positive change. It also aims to showcase them as role models to inspire others to likewise take positive action to help create a better world. This is an advocacy about ordinary Filipinos who were able to achieve extraordinary things through their small acts of giving and heroism.

We are proud to have Adel as one of the chosen heroes. Congratulations Adel and keep up the good work.

Nothing’s new when we thank the heavens for what’s good and beautiful.
But when unfortunate things happen, do we bravely realize the good that happens as an aftermath of what’s bad and sad?
Adelaida Saito went to Japan in 1986 in hopes of giving her family in the Philippines a better life. Overcome with homesickness and longing for her loved ones, the first few years proved to be difficult until she met her husband. Together, they built a family of their own and created a simple yet peaceful life.
But on one fateful day in March 2011, their quiet life in Japan suddenly became swamped by fear. She was busy at work when the 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck. It triggered a major tsunami that swept the Miyagi Prefecture and destroyed everything in its path.  It was a nightmare she never thought would end, coming face to face with fellow residents severely hit by one of the country’s most devastating calamities in modern times.
As a migrant Filipino worker living in Japan for almost three decades, she never knew what it meant to be homeless.  Helpless.  Hopeless.   The only place to go to was the church. “It became our home… it became our comforter ….a dwelling place for the Filipino community in our area.  We were all surprised by the number of kababayans living in our place. We found a family.”
Through the untiring efforts of the parish priest and the Japanese Catholic communities, broken pieces of lives were slowly regained.  And with global help and assistance coming in, Adelaida and her fellow victims survived. “The situation became an eye-opener for me. I realized that I am my brother’s keeper.”
With her experience as church leader, she sought permission from the parish priest to contact other tsunami victims from different areas and gather them inside the Ishinomaki Catholic Church. The gathering opened the floodgates of mutual empathy and stirred heartfelt goodness among the kababayans.  And with much determination, Adelaida decided to spearhead an organization named “Ishinomaki Hawak-Kamay” which initially aimed at helping Filipino tsunami victims in Japan.
Although small in numbers, the goodness spawned by the group began to create a major impact stronger than the earthquake that started it.  “As of today, Ishinomaki Hawak-Kamay is not only limited in helping Filipinos in Japan. We created numerous activities and events to help people in other parts of the world experiencing emotional, social and economic devastation made by natural calamities.” 
Now a group of 20 passionate individuals eager to lend a helping hand, Ishinomaki Hawak-Kamay has already helped countless of typhoon and earthquake victims simply by selling goods and organizing relief drives. The Filipino talent in dance and music was also put to good use, as the group mounted traditional dance festivals to raise funds that the group uses to provide financial aid and relief goods to victims of natural disasters.
In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, hit Southeast Asia. The typhoon pummeled a large part of the Visayan region, leaving millions of families devastated and thousands of lives lost. Adelaida and her group were quick to send their love and support to their kababayans through their partnership with an non-governmental organization (NGO).
With the help of international organizations, the group has extended the reach of relief support to other parts of the world. During the aftermath of the deadly 7.8-magnitude earthquake that shook Nepal in April this year, Ishinomaki Hawak-Kamay was among the organizations to immediately send help.
But apart from giving financial and material aid, Ishinomaki Hawak-Kamay also provides emotional and spiritual refuge to victims. “We believe that aside from material support, spiritual support is most important during the time of sorrow, during the time of mourning and during the time we feel alone and hopeless.” 
Today, Adelaida and her friends continue to “hold hands” that extend to touch the lives of others. The earthquake may have taken everything away from them.  But the impact it left, turned out to be real goodness that now truly matters.  A more meaningful life lived for others.
How about you?  Are you brave enough to be thankful for the earthquakes in your life?
Adelaida is just one of the millions of Filipino migrants around the world.
Each one of them is a hero….
striving to make life better for their families, their communities, their country.

click here for the original article.