God's Present to Us
Like the majority of Columban missionaries, it is usual for me to spend the Christmas season far from my family. For many years I had dreamt of the joy that I would experience if I could go home just once and join with family members for Mass at our local church, then gather together around the dinner table, and later exchange gifts. In my dreams it was going to be a nostalgic celebration filled with fun and laughter. However, a few years ago when I did have the opportunity to spend Christmas at home, it turned out very differently from my dreams.
In late November of that year my mother suffered a major stroke that left her critically ill. I rushed home to say a final goodbye to her. However, during the next few days her condition stabilized, though she remained seriously debilitated. She could not move, speak, eat or drink. She was totally helpless. It was heartbreaking. However, my family was grateful that she seemed to recognize us and understand to some degree what was happening around her …
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Columban Fr. Paul Finlayson remembers the 2011 typhoon that struck the Philippines and how communities are still rebuilding. …