Newsletter of the Berlin Phil. Community, June 2004 Issue



    born on 4. June 1971 in Dagupan City, was ordained priest on 1. June 2003. Before coming to Berlin, he studied Philosophy and Theology and had his pastoral exposure at the Pfarrei St. Alexander und Theodor, Benediktinerabtei, Ottobeuren. Fr. Adonis expresses his opened interests and opinions regarding his pastoral work in Berlin in an interview made by The Migrant (TM).

    TM: How do you find the city of Berlin as the metropol capital of Germany?

    Fr. Adonis: Berlin is the City. It is a microcosm of the whole Germany. Berlin has almost everything. There are action, fun, night life and cultural activities. But there are also demonstrations, radicals, poor people and criminals. Therefore, it is a city with two faces. It is the melting point of cultures, nationalities, histories, ideas and religions. This makes Berlin a challenge and an opportunity in the field of economy, politics and religion. I need time to find my way along the fast-faceted life, through the crisscrossing not only of S-Bahn and U-Bahn but also of destiny, survival and ideology. I have to open my eyes to this new world before me. Then can I set foot and grow roots, yes, eventually find a home.

    TM: Since every Filipino Community is unique, having its own cultural identity, would you be able to integrate yourself easily in Berlin?

    Fr. Adonis: Thanks God, I never encountered difficulties with the many Filipino communities in Germany whom I got in touch with during my five years of stay here. I think the pastoral approach with the Filipinos in Germany needs a particular psycho-sociological dynamics. Filipinos in Germany and in another country for that matter are “torn between two lovers.” I should understand our Kababayans in this point of view. I myself experience such “division” within me. Our community in Berlin has its own characteristic. I respect that and am glad that in the course of time, many Filipinos here have contributed for the creation of such an identity ala Pinoys in Berlin. During the course of my short stay here in Berlin, I was able to see the inspiring efforts of many dedicated members, the countless possibilities, the sincere openness and friendliness of so many. With our community, I felt that I am already quite integrated. I also hope that the community will also be able to integrate with me.
    TM: Do you have already any plans or expectations how to make your stay in Berlin Philippine Community worthwhile and memorable?

    Fr. Adonis: I do not have spectacular expectations from the community because I do not like that they also expect anything extraordinary from me. For myself, I need the time to get to know the members of the community and also to listen to the silences and unspoken words. In my homilies, meetings with different groups, Bible Sharing and in casual conversations, I try to give my general vision of our community. But in order to make my stay here meaningful, I just have to live the most of the present moment.

    TM: Do you have a particular hobby, sport or musical pastime?

    Fr. Adonis: I enjoy my being a “jack of all trades,” I have a little of everything singing, cooking, swimming, basketball, playing guitar, etc. But I like enjoying the gifts of nature by strolling or outing. I also enjoy going to the movies and theatre (when I have the time and the means). Photography and communication are also my pastimes. I think my best hobby is meeting people and enjoying their company. I live life as it comes...

    TM: Do you consider yourself a modern or an oldfashioned thinker?

    Fr. Adonis: I like history. I visit museums. I appreciate arts and literature of the past. But as a thinker, I am post-modern. I am open to the world and to people. I love to try, experiment and take risks. Only then can I broaden my horizon and grow as a person. I am a product of my time influenced by pixels and gegabites. I appreciate the rich traditions of the church but am open to variations and innovations. Remember, variation is the spice of life.
    TM: What is your opinion on a clear separation of the Church and the State?

    Fr. Adonis: I am not against the separation of the Church and the State. Each entity has a particular function and vision. I respect that. But there are factors and events when these objectives clash. From our experience in the Philippines (and I think is also applicable to us now), the Church has been a critical institution that has “checked and balanced” the government and has opened the eyes of our country men and women to fight against graft and corruption, injustice, poverty, inhuman government, torture of innocent people and the proliferation of social evils. The Church has a moral obligation to promote the welfare and dignity of its flock. I respect the role of the State in the society but as a shepherd of my flock, I have the responsibility to defend and lead my sheep to a place where there is peace, harmony and justice.

    TM: How would you deal with the “Tsismis” in the Filipino community?

    Fr. Adonis: I think this is one of our weaknesses. In my conversations with some German-husbands, I also heard their complains regarding this issue. I have no solution to this problem. I can only encourage each one to look intently at his or her own weaknesses and faults before seeing that of the others. Our model of forgiveness is Jesus. If we only see first ourselves, then we will be ashamed to “cast the first stone.” If we are at home with ourselves, then we will not project our faults to others.

    TM: If you had been given the choice, would you have been in another place instead of Berlin?

    Fr. Adonis: Yes, I was sent by my superiors to Berlin and I accepted that with open heart. But given the choice… I will still opt for Berlin. Here I have found a home. Now, I need time to find my community and get to know my spiritual family...

    of my
    Nitz Densing Töpler_______
      As I grow older more and more memories of my younger days, keep popping up like footages of a stage play. I am becoming nostalgic and a sentimentalist. One vivid episode was when I was in my early teens. My parents' house was near an old unused railway, which was a bit elevated and sloped. The slope was carpeted with evergreen grass. On moonlight and starry nights we met there, lying down on the fresh sweet-smelling grass, looking up at the moon and the stars, silently enjoying the mystic and beautiful natural phenomenom. We broke the silence by trying to identify stars and constellations, then we would start to tell funny stories, we joked and laughed, no worries at all. It was such a fantastic and free pastimes, clean and pure. How different was it then from the youth of today. Now this railroad track is long gone and in its stead is a wide highway, our parents' house is not there anymore, I built a newer and a bigger one on the same site. It is right by the side of the highway, the railroad track is levelled down, our house is the one now elevated, there is no more grass-carpeted slope, but hard concrete and our house has high walls, to dampen the unendless sound of the vehicles passing by unendingly 24-hours a day. I craved for those carefree days, I wish I am young once more…
      When I wrote the first part of this essay, the house I built was still standing there, right at the
    corner of the highway with its proud elevation, no one can miss it…but then… OF A NOT SO DISTANT PAST:
    ...29th March 2004, noontime a wicked fire broke out in the midst of the neighborhood, they say it was scorching hot, and the wind blew strongly towards my house, though the firemen bombarded my house with their water-hoses, the fire ate it up without pity lashing its wrath till none was left.
      It took me some days before I can cry, not for the lost belongings. I didn't cry for the material things but for the MEMORIES, and the token it bore. I built the house as a gift to my parents, therefore, I had it in their names, and also for my brother and his two children. It was a Symbol, a gift of LOVE from me for my parents, my brother and his broods. Well, my parents are long gone, my brother and his two children migrated to the states, we had a caretaker with her family staying in that house. It was in that house that Nay and I reconciled. Well, we had so many misunderstandings in my youth, we were so incompatible, we were like cat and dog, we travelled in different wavelengths. We had a long talk, we were both misty-eyed, we let go of our pent up emotions we kept in our hearts for long years, after that we had more understanding with each other, but not for long.
    She passed away soon. I shed tears for that.
      It was in that house I experienced the growing up of my brother's children, shared their mischiefs, secrets and dreams, and mostly happy moments. If only I can turn back the hands of time! And let them be toddlers again. They are now grown ups. Oh, those damn memories of happy days were in that house; it was there I experienced Carl played the violin for me for the first time.
      I was fascinated watching his tiny child's fingers jumping from one cord to the other, deeply concentrated in his piece. It was there he and Christine danced for me, it was there I experienced their love for me, their being there was a magnet that made me come home frequently. The house was a haven, a place I can call HOME, where I can go to relax and free my mind of any worries and refresh me when I was tired and sad. It enveloped me in a comfortable embrace, soothing, caring, and full of tenderness, love and affection! Woe!
      To you MEMORIES…you are a sharp knife that pierce my fragile pinning achy breaky heart with gnawing pain!
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