Newsletter of the Berlin Phil. Community, June 2004 Issue

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chaplains'message
    Journey towards a new vision


    Fr. Adonis Narcelles,
    Berlin Philippine
    Community Center
    new Chaplain
      Journey is a fitting picture to describe our situation as an individual and as a community. Journey reminds us that we are on a particular way and that we are moving towards a particular goal. Each of us has a journey to make. We have a mission to fulfill. As a church and a community, we are pilgrims walking along the way of faith. We as a community are called to support one another along the way to Christ.
       As Christians, we are challenged to move on together towards Christ. We are all part of this present journey. Along the way we realize that we need road signs leading us to the right path. Let us meditate on three of these important signs: Memories, Community, Vision.

    Journey with Memories
       The first journey starts with the road within ourselves. We have to realize that God has a purpose for us personally. That he has created us for a purpose. That he has a mission for each one of us. That he has been there along the way holding our hand along the ups and downs of life. Along life`s journey, we make memories happy or sad. But these are all part of who we are. We should accept them. Then we can move on and accept all the trials along the road with strong heart - because we know ourselves. Our memories especially with Fr. Flores during these years should inspire us along our way. He has been a part of our life and community and all our memories with him should remain in our heart.
       Let us thank Fr. Flores for sharing his memories with us and wish him the best in his new journey.
    Journey in Community
      We can only enjoy and appreciate the journey when we spend it with others. Our parents, family, relatives, friends, (enemies?) brothers and sisters in the community make our journey priceless. They double our joy and divide our sorrows. Let us appreciate the presence and dignity of each one. Our community as a Filipino gives extra flavor to our gatherings. Despite everything, we are still brothers and sisters in one Christian community. We should live up to our name and calling. Let us then be instrument of forgiveness, humility, affirmation and unity to one another. Let us not injure one another but bind each others wounds. We should be wounded healers.

    Journey with Vision
      Our journeying should be inspired by a vision. We know that living in another country is challenging. We are aware that our Diocese in Berlin is in deep crises. We cannot ignore the conflict and misunder- standing in various aspects of our journey. Our way is not always straight. There are stones and hindrances along the way. But these should not discourage us from moving on towards the fulfillment of our mission. The more we should hold on and support one another. Let us create new visions and give space for the Spirit to move within us. Let us listen to the voice of God in the silence of our heart. Let us journey with Memories in our Community and with Vision. Let us move on together towards a new beginning with one another and with Christ like in the picture. He will never leave us. He is there beside us. Do you feel his hand on your shoulder?





    "A TIME
    FOR PLANTING,
    A TIME
    FOR REAPING"




    Fr. Eracio Flores, SVD
    former Chaplain
    Berlin Philippine
    Community Center


      In August this year I will have been eight years working with the migrant Filipinos in Berlin. I myself could hardly believe it, that eight years have passed, since I first set foot on this beautiful capital city of Germany to assume my task as Chaplain. It seemed so short. Perhaps, because I have loved so much my work and the people with whom I worked. My stay in Berlin could be considered somehow as the crowning point of my stay in Europe.
      Just a short flashback. I started in Rome way back in 1977 when I assumed my office as one of the administrators of the Society of the Divine Word (Steyler Missionare). Though I was engaged in administration work then, I was already very much involved in pastoral work among the migrant Filipinos there. And I'm glad and proud to say, I had helped many of them get out of their problems, many times of their serious labor problems. But it was not an extraordinary accomplishment. It was part and parcel of our duty as pastoral workers. It was fun working also hand-in-hand with the Embassy people. Our duty runs parallel with theirs. They are here first and foremost for that - to serve and help the overseas Filipinos. I spent a good 11 years in Rome.
      In 1989 after my term of office there, I was assigned in Madrid, Spain, as full-time Chaplain. A gigantic task stood before us, since at that time 87% of the Filipinos working there were "TNT" - undocumented. The Archdiocesan Commission for Migrants there organized protest marches on the main streets of Madrid, supported by all migrant centers and the Spanish parishes. Again we worked together in solidarity - the OWWA and the Philippine Embassy personnel. After three
    years, we reaped the fruits of our efforts.
       An amnesty was given by the Spanish government to all undocumented OFW's, and the harvest was great, because a 5-year permit to stay and to work was given to them. The Filipino workers benefited most of it.
      What a big difference it made to our Kababayans - to walk now in the streets of Spain with dignity. The days of insecurity and fear are over. Now they had the right to stay and work. All of a sudden there was sunshine in their lives. They could now enjoy the rights and privileges of a legal worker. And we, who had worked with them, had shared their joy.
      As usual, there's a time for bowing-in and a time for bowing-out. The year 1995 ushered in a new task for me - a Berlin assignment. But I could not get my visum at once, so I was able to start my new work only in 1996. The time flashed like lighting. It has been a beautiful time for me in Berlin. The work was not heavy and the Filipinos have been so cooperative in working together for our common goal - the building of a Filipino Christian Community. No wonder, the time went by so fast. And so, the time for bowing-out is again at hand. We are ready for that. That's a life of a missionary.
      I would like to thank you all, members of the Filipino Community, including the German husbands of Filipinas, for making my stay and life in Berlin so fulfilling, and meaningful, and challenging. Each of you, no matter what role you had played, has contributed a piece in the overall colorful mosaic picture of my life, and I sincerely thank you.
      I leave you in good hands in the person of Fr. Adonis, my successor. I won't say "Goodbye", but rather, "See you in the Philippines!"
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