Time passed by so quickly, unnoticed. It seems only yesterday when I came to Ireland and now my three years commitment to cross cultural mission is about to end. I feel that three years is so short! I am just beginning to find my way around, falling in love with the place and its people and soon I’ll be uprooted again. I know I’ll be missing my new friends in the community, my pastoral involvement and specially the people in my ministry. I feel sad but I am also looking forward to going home and seeing my family.
|July 2010, Dalgan, during the REAP - Respond, Energize, Alive, Process Stress and Trauma Management|
I was assigned in Ashbourne, County Meath. The first few months in my ministry were a challenge as I find my way around. I had to look, listen, and observe to understand and integrate myself in parish-community life. But I felt so rewarded with so many blessings! Asbourne is a vibrant community of hospitable, kind and generous people. The priests and the parishioners are very supportive, understanding and caring. All these made me feel at home. I sensed a strong presence of sincerity, commitment, sharing, hard work, and unity. I was touched by the humility and leadership qualities of our parish priest and curate. Their openness gave confidence and a good venue for the parishioners to share their thoughts and feelings. I felt so blessed to belong to such community and share my presence and support to the people.
Ashbourne is a diverse community and there was no ministry or apostolate waiting for me when I came to the parish. So I had to make myself available and flexible to answer whatever was needed. They said that “by being present missionary is already doing a mission through witnessing” but that wasn’t enough for me. I felt uncomfortable by just being there. I accept that “doing” something is part of my weakness. I can associate myself very much with “Martha” in the Gospel. I feel useless not doing something because I know that I have talents, gifts and abilities to polish! And to keep these talents, gifts, and abilities to myself is a sin. I’m afraid that one day God will ask me why I didn’t use the talents he has given me.
|Nette (front row, left) with Columban Missionaries and partners |
at Mayo Abbey en route to Knock to Croagh Patrick
During my three years in Ireland, I had ups and downs as well especially when members of my family (my parents, particularly my beloved father) in the Philippines were in and out of the hospital. During these times, I was comforted by God through the kindness, goodness, love and presence of friends. The unfailing support of the people around me gave me strength and inspiration in my missionary journey.