My Pitas page



This web-page is wholeheartedly dedicated to Most Rev. Giovanni Battista Morandini, J.C.D., D.D. (Apostolic Nuncio) as well as to Most Rev. William J. McNaughton, M.M., D.D. (Bishop of Inchon) and Most Rev. Choi Gi San Boniface, D.D. (Coadjutor Bishop of Inchon) for their great concern for and supportive interest in the Apostleship of the Sea (Apostolatus Maris) as well as in the apostolate for the foreign workers.

The word "wang" in Chinese or Korean means "king". It is "rey" or "ray" in Spanish. So I selected the name wang for this web-site. Through this cyber page, I wish to reach out to my many co-priests and religious; confreres and relatives; acquaintances and friends, residing in the four corners of the world. I have included many true-to-life stories. Some of these are indeed, very interesting; others, highly dramatic. I hope you will enjoy reading several if not all of the entries here.

To spice up this page, I also included some thought-provoking, inspiring and challenging sets of quotations from well-known personalities, poems and epigrams from various sources which could be of use on many occasions.

Once again, very special thanks for your visit. You are most welcome to send me your comments and remarks at this e-mail: haeyang@cainchon.or.kr

(Please take time to visit also this informative and interesting web-site,http://m-jpic.tripod.com/raysabio/raymsc.htm. I earnestly wish you a happy reading and once again, thank you very much. In Korean, tedanhi kamsa hammida!)

16) ON THE THRESHOLD OF DEATH by (Fr.) Raymond T. Sabio, MSC

Few weeks earlier, I was invited by a Captain of a car-ferrying ship, M.V. Magic Wave to a dinner at the officers' mess hall after having celebrated on board the ship, a late afternoon Holy Mass for the seafarers. Over salad, fried rice, chicken stew and beefsteak, we were sharing our thoughts on what I said earlier during the homily regarding the precariousness of the seafarers' life because of the great dangers surrounding their work milieu both at sea and in port.

Hence, all the more, the seafarer's need for God's assistance and guidance is urgent. His prayer life could be a source of the much needed "lakas-loob" (inner strength) so that he could carry on with the heavy burdens of seafaring. It also came across our conversation that even a number of major accidents and deaths of seafarers happened while the ship was securely berthed at the seaport. And he said, "Indeed, the ship is never 100% safe anywhere. Accidents can happen not only in the open sea but also in the port."

And as our conversation progressed, he shared a very interesting and important chapter in his life, his very close encounter with death that somehow led him to a much closer relationship with God. It happened when he was still a Chief Mate of an old liberty-type multi-purpose cargo ship. The year was 1975, winter time. The ship was fully loaded with bags of cement and unfortunately, a strong typhoon crossed their plotted course.

Because big waves were pounding on the ships' cargo holds, the captain was worried that sea water would enter the air vents and severely damage the cement cargo. (Common knowledge will tell us that when bags of cement are wet, they could become hardened rocks by the time the ship reaches the port of arrival.) So, the captain requested the chief mate and the second mate to secure the air vents of the cargo holds with plastic sheet covers and rubber straps. Off they went to fulfill the captain's request.

While they were in the process of covering the air vents, a towering huge wave pounded the starboard of the ship and went over into the main deck of the ship. Fortunately, second officer clung with all his might to a nearby stairway, but chief officer was caught unaware. So he was tossed up to the very crest of the wave. He was at a loss and all he could say was, "God, help me". (He knew from his readings as well as various stories told, that as the wave recedes fast, it pulls away from the ship anyone who has been tossed up.) Death was so close at hand. In freezing temperature and very rough sea, man could not survive at all.

As the wave receded, he lightly felt a pair of hands guiding his very hands until they rested on the starboard railings of the ship. Still stunned by this experience, he jumped into the deck and rushed to the accomodation area. Then he and second officer explained to the captain their close encounter with death. And the captain sympathized with them, thankful that no serious accident happened.

Three days later they reached their destination. There and only then, chief officer received the very sad news that his mother passed away, just a day earlier than that date, when that near accident of a towering wave could have killed him. So he asked himself, "Whose hands were those that guided his hands to the ship's railings?"

Well, we could not be sure; but possibly, they could be those of his mother. If not, either the hands of his guardian angel or of Christ the Good Shepherd. Our being at the threshold of death is indeed a "depth-experience" of our encounter with God, the source of life. And I felt the full weight of the captain's statement that sounded like a profession of faith, when he said: "God has given me a second life, I am very very grateful to Him."

15) "ICHTHYS" AS A WAY TO THE LORD by (Fr.) Raymond T. Sabio, MSC

The New Testament contains a lot of references to the realities of rural life. Cattles and wolves, goats and sheep, the vineyard and the cornfields, the lilies of the field and the mustard seed, the sea and the lake, bread and wine, trees and rivers, stone and mud, etc. But one important thing seemed to be of special interest to Christ. It is the fish ("ICHTHYS" in Greek). A number of miracles done by Christ, had something to do with fish.

Christ selected the fishermen as his first apostles; he went with them in their fishing trips often. And at one point, He designated Peter (and likewise all the apostles) to be "fisher of men." No wonder that in the early Church, most specially during the persecution period, the fish (ichthys) became the secret symbol of Christ; of his followers; as well as of the Christian Community.

The life of my 3rd elder sister, Angelica Taco Sabio had also something to do with fish. She was born on Nov. 23, 1935 in Sta. Clara, Oton, Iloilo and she was five years old when World War II broke out. She had a very clear memory of the war.

One of the things she remembered very well was the great difficulties associated with a semi-nomadic life because of constant evacuation, compounded by an absentee father, being a sergeant in the battlefield. At times, she had to be placed on a basket, and her younger brother, Ramon, on the other basket, and with a pole, both were carried hurriedly by a relative volunteer to the evacuation site.

As the days progressed, in the early part of the war, my mother and her children, experienced gradual rejection by the village people because my father was a USAFFE soldier. At that time, the Japanese invading forces were gradually becoming very cruel to the families of the soldiers as well as to the village people who sheltered them.

So, my maternal grandfather, Elias Taco, who was a fearless and resourceful person, searched for a place in the higher and deeper part of the mountain and finally found a favorable spot in the area called Badbaran. He constructed a small hut where he, my mother and her 5 little children, my aunts and my cousins could stay; and there was a cave nearby where the clan could hide in case of attacks by the Japanese forces.

Life was very crude and miserable; they had root crops and clover leaves (malunggay) for food. At night, they could hear the noise and the terrifying howl of the wild animals including that of the big rattlesnakes. (One of the things I found out is this, that the experience of war, made all my elder sisters and brother: Maria Fe, Lourdes, Angelica, Ramon and Nenita more courageous, resourceful and decisive, possessing a good deal of perseverance as well as determination.)

After the war, my father was honorably discharged from the military service and in 1950 decided to transfer his family to the neighboring province of Negros Occidental. After a number of short stints in various kinds of manual and menial jobs, he finally settled in the town of Binalbagan.

In March 1956, my sister Angelica graduated from High School. She wanted very much to study Nursing in Bacolod City but the financial constraints of the family, prevented her from pursuing her dream. Instead, she got employed as a pharmacy clerk at the Horvel Drugstore with a salary of 80 Pesos per month.

In 1957, the Binalbagan Catholic High School was opened by the Columban Fathers with Fr. Patrick Hurley, SSC as the Superior. So, the younger siblings of Angelica could commence their high school studies. Her meager salary helped significantly the family to meet partly the financial obligations. Much later, it was raised to 100 Pesos. In the meantime, Fr. Hurley arranged for the board and lodging scholarships for her 4 younger brothers (Salvador, Raymundo, Generoso and John) in the M.S.C. seminary in Cebu. My father could never forget this great financial assistance of Fr. Hurley. For without this assistance, there was no way for him to shoulder all the expenses.

Then at last, Fr. Hurley and the Columban Fathers decided to set up the Binalbagan Catholic College with a view to commence in 1961. My sister Angelica planned to follow the course of Commerce. But she thought, it would be very difficult to combine her studies with her full-time work as pharmacy clerk.

So one day, she went to the market to see for herself certain possibilities. She saw some vendors selling fish in small quantity by the road side. And there were still open spots. So, she approached the pharmacy owner, and explained her plans. And the pharmacy owner remarked: "Aren't you ashamed to be a fish vendor when you have a decent job here in the pharmacy." My sister's response was: "I have nothing to be ashamed of. Labor is honor." The owner consented with a note that she could return to the pharmacy just in case her little fish business failed. And so she went.

She rose very early the next morning, and departed for Aguisan Fish Center (approx. 12 kilometers from home) and purchased two medium size baskets of fish. She rushed to our town market, took her position at the road side, and voila, she sold all the fish by 11:30 A.M. She counted her cash, and she got excited to know that the fish gave her a gain of 5 Pesos on that very day! So, if that were multiplied by 30, it would mean 150 Pesos. Not bad for a beginner.

Later on, the fish business expanded a bit and she financed her schooling with her earnings. And finally, after so much hard work and struggle, she finished her BSC course in 1965 and consequently edified her younger sister and brothers with a challenging lesson that 'sacrifice can lead one on the road to success'.

With her graduation, a new horizon has been opened to her. She taught for two years at the Our Lady of Snows High School in Himamaylan. Her close association with the Presentation Sisters as well as the Columban Fathers could have re-enforced the call of the Lord to the religious life.

And so, after this teaching stint, she left for the Novitiate of the Presentation Sisters (P.B.V.M.) in New Zealand. She was accepted to the First Profession. This took place in April of 1970. And she selected "Fidelis" as her religious name, to indicate her 'fidelity' to the call of the Lord. With God's superabundant grace, she was accepted to perpetual profession in April, 1975.

Fish was very special to our Lord Jesus Christ. Moreover, it became a powerful symbol of the Lord Himself in the early Church during the persecution. Fish was the source of livelihood for Peter and many apostles before they answered the call of the Lord. Fish ("ichthys') gave Sister Fidelis T. Sabio, P.B.V.M. a way to the Lord.

14) POOR HEALTH CAN BE A GREAT BLESSING by (Fr.) Raymond T. Sabio, M.S.C.

No doubt, humanity sees good health as a blessing and poor health as a curse. Because of this firm belief, there are centers of good health promotion as well as excellent hospitals to guarantee health restoration and total cure. Furthermore, a multi-billion dollar business (ranging from tonic drinks, health foods . . . . . to medical capsules, mechanical contraptions, even very expensive surgical operations) has been generated to cater to the needs of people obsessed with the enhancement of good health. Thus, the compulsive and obsessive search for the fountain of youth never stops.

But, I personally know of cases that poor health could be considered a great blessing. Take the case of Fr. Henry van Rooijen, M.S.C. He was born in Montfort, the Nethelands on Nov. 13, 1908. He joined the M.S.C. congregation but his ordination was delayed for about 6 years because of poor health and he was even advised to leave the congregation. But because of his endless pleadings and the determination to go on, he finally got ordained.

He was assigned to the Philippines and he spent so many years of his life as an indefatigueable resident Chaplain of the U.E. Ramon Magsaysay Hospital in Metro Manila, giving spiritual support, much-needed consolation. financial assistance to the poor and healing compassion to thousands and thousands of hospital patients. Because he himself was for a long time, a very sickly person, he ministered zealously to the poor and the sick as a gentle and humble-hearted missionary-priest. He died on April 22, 1998. Thus God rewarded him with 90 years of fruitful, exemplary and meaningful life.

Another case is that of my father, Conrado Penas Sabio. He was born on October 30, 1907 in Sta. Clara, Oton, Iloilo, the Philippines. Several years prior to his entrance to the grade school, my father was such a very sickly child. Various kinds of illnesses easily affected him; and at one stage, my grandmother told us, that she had to let my father sleep on the banana leaves because he had sores all over his body for a long time.

One day, a distant relative suggested some kind of medication and it helped very significantly. My father maintained a light weight and frame, as well as a moderate diet all throughout his life, and thank God, he is still okay up to this very day. By October of this year, 2000 he will be 93 years of age. Not bad for someone who was once a very sickly child!

The most interesting case is that of Fr. Bernardus Willemsen, MSC. He was a native of Broekhuizen, the Netherlands and born on Dec. 12, 1873. In his younger days, he had been a victim of incipient T.B. and somehow with medication, he got over it. But he remained an extremely frail person physically. He was almost denied by his superiors of his request to be a member of the first 8 Dutch MSC priests to be sent to the Philippines because of poor health. By God's inscrutable design, he made it and started his missionary work on Dec. 8, 1908 in Surigao, the Philippines.

He was such a humble, self-effacing and unassuming missionary and although he was a very zealous priest, he loved to remain in the background. He was very seriously sick in three instances and he received the "Sacrament of Extreme Unction" (at present called, "Anointing of the Sick") three times from the hands of very healthy priests.

The irony of it all is this, that all the three healthy priests finally died, and Fr. Bernardus Willlemsen was still moving around and even attended their funerals. He lived for so long and finally, he died on April 17, 1971 in Surigao, at a very ripe age of 97 years, 4 months and 5 days. Could this then be: "God's marvellous grace of poor health"?


(This story is dedicated to a courageous, faithful and loving mother, FELICISSIMA TACO-SABIO, whose 25th Death Anniversay is commemorated today, May 31, 2000 by her loved ones spread in the four areas of the world: Philippines, U.S.A., Rome and Korea.)

During my early high school days in late 50's and early 60's, there was no electricity in the town, Binalbagan (Negros Occidental,Philippines) where we grew up. No radio, no T.V., just occasional newspapers. One of the house rules my father, CONRADO P. SABIO, instituted and implemented to the letter was: everyone should be present at supper time. If one had to be absent for a serious reason, permission should be requested earlier. He was there himself to check the attendance since he ran the family like a platoon. The 30-minute period after supper was storytelling time. This was followed by study time.

My father and to some extent my mother had so many true to life stories to tell and they enjoyed telling us those stories. My father even told stories about his earlier many girl friends whom he claimed were even a lot better, much prettier than my mother. To which stories, my mother did not take much offense but rather gave a casual response, "But you married me!"

One of the stories that I could best remember is the story of the birth of my elder brother. It has a very highly dramatic turn. As the story goes, my mother was carrying in her womb her sixth child. The year was 1943. That was the height of the World War II. My father was a military man, a sergeant enlisted in the USAFFE (United States Armed Forces in the Far East). They were Filipino soldiers attached to the USAF and their mission was to resist the Japanese forces.

In our small town of Tubungan in Iloilo and in the neighboring towns, my mother related the happenings of heinous crimes of torture done by the invading Japanese forces. She continued to tell us that wives and children of the military Filipinos were special targets and when they were caught by the Japanese soldiers, they were subjected to slow death or torture, being mutilated bit by bit. That brought fear to our townspeople, much more to my mother!

As the time came for the birth of her 6th child, my father was away in the battlefield. When my mother started to have labor pains, the local village midwife (there was no hospital nor clinic in our small town) refused to come and assist my mother because the Japanese forces were already advancing to invade our town. That left my aunt Cristeta Taco, alone to assist my mother. The rest of the village people went ahead and hid themselves in the hilly outskirts of the village.

The labor pain, plus the fear of being apprehended and mutilated as well a good amount of prayer and faith in God's grace, gave my mother enough adrenalin to force the baby out of her womb with all the strength she could muster. Shortly after the placenta was out, she lifted both the baby and the placenta with the umbilical cord dangling and ran with my aunt for two kilometers towards the hilly and wooded area of the mountain where some of the village people were hiding. Thank God, there was no hemorrhage. A miracle has happened indeed! . . .

Only then the midwife who was also in hiding, came forward and with a sharpened reed (there was no sterilized pair of scissors available) cut the umbilical cord. And so, in thanksgiving to God for having saved the life of my mother, the child was given the name SALVADOR, which is Spanish for saviour. (When the family name is attached, it becomes Salvador Sabio, which means, a wise saviour.) Three years later (1946) I was born. Had the Japanese forces caught and mutilated my mother, I could not have seen the world, much less be in Korea today.

Her greatest happiness was to witness my elder sister's (Sr. Fidelis T. Sabio, PBVM) perpetual profession as a member of the Presentation Sisters in April, 1975. But sad to say, her poor and failing health prevented her from attending my younger brother's (Fr. Generoso T. Sabio, MSC) sacerdotal ordination in December, 1975. Because at that time, she had already entered a new life that knew no death!

Postscript: 25 years ago today (May 31, 1975) this woman who was a faithful, happy and loving mother to us, returned to her Creator; and what a beautiful and meaningful coincidence, . . . . when she expired, she was at the arms of her loving son, Salvador, to whom she gave that name in thanksgiving to God, her Saviour par excellence!

12) BE THE BEST by (Fr.) Raymond T. Sabio, M.S.C.

Shortly after having received my sacerdotal ordination in December, 1971, I was overflowing with so much enthusiasm to do great things for the Lord and his People. Although I am a newcomer in the vineyard of the Lord, unabashedly I envisioned myself as an extremely zealous missionary and had big plans for myself to bring people closer to God and likewise, God to His people. Sort of contemporary mini-St. Paul! (I love his epistles!)

The Jesuits are excellent and very well respected educators and they (both at the Ateneo de Manila University and at the Loyola University of Chicago, Illinois) have given me approximately 7 years of solid academic formation. I very highly admired them for their wholehearted dedication to priestly education as well as for having given me so much confidence and a good degree of competence in the priestly ministry.

But somehow, the faint traces of original sin in me got hold of my ego to imagine myself in some kind of a lead role, doing great and wonderful things and I kept telling myself, "O, that would be relatively easy! No doubt, I CAN do it!"

Ten years later, I realized that things did not work out well. There were many obstacles and setbacks along the way as well as loose ends and rough edges in my various ministries. Things were not converging into a focus, much less falling into their proper places according to my design. And painfully so, a few things started to crumble. I started to retrace my steps and check my bearing. With some kind of discernment, I then asked myself, where am I now; why am I doing this; where am I going to; and for whom and for what am I doing all these?

When a person loads his buffet plate with more food than he could consume, we say, "his eyes are bigger than his stomach." In my case, I say "my head is a lot bigger than my hands!" So I convinced myself, I have to make necessary corrections gradually and gauge my capacity vis-a-vis the realities. Furthermore, a good Retreat gave me an insight that I should give God the central role in my life for it is HIS work that I am allowed to participate in a very insignificant way; and not MY work as I mistakenly perceived it in the past.

The final turning point was when in the course of making a correction, I accidentally if not providentially, got hold of this poem, author unknown, which challenged me to just do the best of what I do and what I am. And this has given me so much peace of mind and a very profound sense of happiness. I could not ask the Lord for more! There is no need to do great and wonderful things. Why? Because . . . . . even small and insignificant things can stand on their own, and they have their own built-in Greatness!

(author unknown)

If you can't be a tree on the top of the hill,
Be a shrub in the valley, but be . . .
The best little shrub on the side of the rill.

Be a bush if you can't be a tree.
We can't all be captains--there's got to be crew,
There's something for all of us here.

There are big things to do, and there's lesser to do.
And the task you must do is the near.
If you can't be a highway, then just be a trail.

If you can't be the sun, be a star.
It's not in the job that you win or you fail,
Be the best of whatever you are.

11) A YOUNG MAN AND BIBLE (by Beckah Fink, Texas)

A young man from a wealthy family was about to graduate from high school. It was the custom in that affluent neighborhood for the parents to give the graduate an automobile. "Bill" and his father had spent months looking at cars, and the week before graduation they found the perfect car. Bill was certain that the car would be his on graduation night.

Imagine his disappointment when, on the eve of his graduation, Bill's father handed him a gift-wrapped Bible! Bill was so angry, he threw the Bible down, and stormed out of the house. He and his father never saw each other again. It was the news of his father's death that brought Bill home again.

As he sat one night, going through his father's possessions that he was about to enherit, he came across the Bible his father had given him. He brushed away the dust, and opened it to find a cashier's check, dated the day of his graduation--in the exact amount of the car they had chosen together.

by Fr. Raymond T. Sabio, MSC

There are indeed many instances in our lives where we allowed ourselves to be beaten down to the point of despair at the face of a seeming misfortune or disaster; and refuse to see the golden lining at the periphery of the dark stormy clouds! Aren't we creatures of little faith?

Very lately, a seafarer related to me a story of her girlfriend who was so crestfallen and angry at herself as she sent off her three very close friends at Manila Domestic Airport. She cried and cried a lot because she could not join them on that Manila-Davao flight on April 19, 2000 (Holy Wednesday) as they have agreed earlier that the four of them would spend the Easter Triduum there. She was short of cash for the roundtrip plane ticket. There was bitterness in her heart as she said goodbye to them.

Few hours later, she heard the shocking news that the plane crashed . . . there were no survivors . . . her three close friends gone . . . dead! Couldn't we say, having not enough money at times could be a great blessing?


A personal reflection given by (Fr.) Raymond T. Sabio, MSC.

A truly loving person knows that everything he has and he is, is a very special gift of the great Giver. Thus, deep in his heart, he must be very grateful for everything he has received: great things as well as the small ones. His life is one great activity of thanksgiving. This same person is constantly and tirelessly in search for opportunities to share whatever he has: his time, his God-given talents and his hard-earned treasures. His great happiness is to see others' pain relieved and their misfortune reversed. Most of all, his greatest fulfillment is to multiply the gifts he received in the hearts of people around him and to see other grow and prosper. This is a Christian view of a truly grateful loving heart. And now, let us get into the spirit of the subsequent altruistic and inspiring prayer.

by Abby van Buren

O, heavenly Father: We thank thee for the food and remember the hungry.
We thank thee for health and remember the sick.
We thank thee for friends and remember the friendless.
We thank thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.
May these remembrances stir us to service.
That the gifts to us may be used for others. Amen.

9) GOOD DEEDS NEVER DIE (by Fr. Raymond T. Sabio, MSC)

Few months earlier, a ship named M.V. LEON was docked at Inchon Port. It was a ship with heavy lift cranes belonging to Rickmers Line of the Norwegians. Upon reaching the main deck, a Caucasian huge fellow with a big smile met me. He did not even allow me to finish my greeting courtesy and self-introduction as the Port Catholic Chaplain, when he just out of the blue, exclaimed, "I know you!".

I was sort of greatly puzzled, how did this fellow know me. And I asked, "Are you the Captain of this ship?" (because he looked and sounded like one!) "Yes I am. And you gave me something very special many years ago! That is how I remember you." "What is that something very special," I very curiously inquired. He waved his hand and said, "Please, come to my cabin."

Along the several flights of stairs, I kept wondering and asking myself, what could this be. I could not remember meeting him, much less I have given him something special in the past. After entering his cabin, he pulled out the main drawer of his office desk and got a what looked like a medium size black book. In the meantime my heart was palpitating louder because I wanted to know what really is that something very special. He went through the first few pages, and found the year 1992.

So I said to myself "O, it is a diary!" Lo and behold, he pulled out from the diary pages a piece of newspaper clipping from the Korea Times, yellowed through the years, and just like the disciples at Emmaus, my eyes were opened to the reality of that something very special. With an excitement that somehow overwhelmed me (reminiscent of my childhood days) I sort of yelled, "O yes, I gave you that piece of newspaper clipping many years ago." The clipping had this headline: "Slovenia, Croatia Win European Recognition." (Parenthetically, it was Germany that led the drive for European recognition of Croatia and Slovenia's independence.)

And the Captain's voice started to crack a bit and somewhat teary eyed, he said, "You know, when you gave me that newspaper clipping, I almost cried. You see, we Croatians have waited so long for our independence. Although Yoguslavia occupied us for so many years, we never considered ourselves Yoguslavians. We are CROATIANS, Christians, Catholics! And I thank God with all my heart on that very day, because our independence, already recognized by Europe, has finally arrived, O yes, independence was something we valued very very highly!"

This the Captain wrote at the bottom part of the newspaper clipping: "Given by a Phillipino (sic) Priest in Inchon, 19th of January, 1992." The captain's first name is Ivan and his last name ends with an "r". Before disembarking, I requested him for a photocopy of that newspaper clipping which he was too happy to furnish me with. (I have still with me a copy of that clipping, which I treasure like a gem.)

The effect of that event in my life defies description. And I leave it at that. When I returned home that evening I tried to piece together the events that spanned a period of 8 years, and I could hardly slept that night . . . having been recharged and regenerated by the power of God's grace and a deep realization that even a small insignificant thing like a newspaper clipping could be much more valuable than gold, more precious than diamond to the receiver.

And I ended my prayer that evening with this phrase, "Thank you Captain Ivan Kregar for becoming God's instrument so that He could help me understand and appreciate the truth that . . . . good deeds never die!"


(Note: In the not so distant past, I boarded a commercial cargo ship and I found in the Officers' Mess Hall this beautifully worded Mariners' Psalm which is an adaptation of Psalm 23. The author is unknown. I had it multiplied and distributed to seafarers. They love this Psalm very much because it relates very well to their very own life at sea. Even some of us who are non-seafarers could also appreciate this too because all of us, whether we like it or not, are swimmers or navigators in this human sea of life, filled not only with joy and successes but also with trials, pain, tribulations and even disasters. Yes, indeed with the Lord at our side, we have nothing to fear. Fr. Raymond T. Sabio, M.S.C.)

(Author Unknown)

The Lord is my Pilot, I shall not drift. He lights me across the dark waters.
He steers me in deep channels. He guides me by the Star of Holiness for His Name's sake.
Yes, though I sail amid the thunders and tempests of life, I shall dread no danger, for You are with me.
Your love and Your care, they shelter me. You prepare a harbour before me in the homeland of eternity: You anoint the waves with oil, my ship rides calmly.
Surely, sunlight and starlight shall favour me on the voyage I take, and I will rest in the port of my God forever.

(Psalm 23 adapted for Mariners & Seafarers)

7) SAYING / PRAYING THE MASS (by Raymond T. Sabio, M.S.C.)

As a chaplain at Inchon Port (Korea), I visit regularly 3 to 5 commercial ships everyday. They could be log-bulkships; grain ships; car-ferrying ships; scrap iron transport ships; salvage boats; general cargo ships; or container ships. At times, I also visit luxury liners/cruise ships as well as warships of various countries like: U.S.A.; U.K.; France; Italy; Germany; the Netherlands; Australia; etc.

One Sunday morning, I was on board a brand new frigate, named Courbet, of the French Navy in order to celebrate the Holy Mass. It was the smallest frigate I ever saw. It appeared so harmless, even powerless because it did not look like the usual power-packed frigate of the U.S. Navy. It was on a round-the-world trial run to be commissioned at a later date. I celebrated the Holy Mass with much devotion and I spiced my homily with a few French words and even with phrases probably mispronouned, which somehow amused the 20 or so officers and crew in attendance.

After the Mass, I was invited hospitably by the Commandant to a cup of coffee and snacks, and shortly after, I was given a tour of and briefing on the facilities and capability of the frigate. Only then I realized that its fire power is very much greater than what appears to the beholder. It is a stealth frigate with the latest French design and technology. It is so powerful that it can carry-on a combat against air attacks, nuclear or conventional, as well as attacks from the enemy's ships and submarines.

It was time to go, and Petty Officer Aubineau volunteered to carry my Mass kit. As we approached the gangway, he said, "You know Father, I have attended a good number of Masses in the past, but really, it is during today's Mass that for the first time in my life, I was deeply touched." I was so overwhelmed and dumbfounded by this comment coming from a Frenchman that I could not make a quick repartee.

When he and I finally stepped down the gangway, I regained my composure and all I could say was: "Well it was God's grace touching you. Not I. So please thank Him with all your heart. Please!" With that he smiled, and executed a gentle salute and as he ascended the gangway, he waved his hand and bid good-bye. And I said, "God be with you. Au revoir!"

On another occasion, I celebrated the Holy Mass for a small group, and among those in attendance were a few diplomats. I officiated the Holy Mass wholeheartedly and invited the participants to go deep into their very being and try to commune with God.

Shortly after the Mass, one diplomat approched me and said, "You see Father, many priests SAY the Mass but you . . . PRAY the Holy Mass. And you moved us to go down with you in deep prayer." These and similar other experiences humbled me in many ways. I never dreamt in my life that others could ever say those things to me.

Instead of letting them in into my mind to make my head swell, I deflect them to the Lord whom I firmly believe is the very source of these special experiences of people who claimed that they have been touched and charged by the Lord! . . . I know, I am nothing, nada . . . just an unworthy instrument of my loving God.


Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings each morning, thank you Lord, that I can hear. There are many who are deaf.
Even though I keep my eyes tightly closed against the morning light as long as possible, thank you, Lord, that I can see. There are many who are blind.
Even though I huddle in my bed and put off the effort of rising, thank you Lord, that I have the strength to rise. There are many who are bedridden.
Even though the first hour of my day is hectic, when socks are lost, toast is burned and tempers are short, thank you, Lord, for my family. There are many who are lonely.
Even though our breakfast table never looks like the pictures in the magazines and the menu is at times unbalanced, thank you, Lord, for the food we have. There are many who are hungry.
Even though the routine of my job is often monotonous, thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to work. There are many who have no job.
Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day and wish my circumstances were not so modest, thank you, Lord, for the gift of life.

-------o-----) o0o (-----o-------

(FOOTNOTE: it takes time, effort and sacrifice to learn how to count the blessings in life and to grow in the spirit and virtue of gratitude: to be thankful for all the graces received, great and small. When gratitude becomes truly part of you, life becomes pleasant, light and easy, enjoyable, fruitful and immensely fascinating. Life, being truly God's special gift, becomes a great Celebration of the fullness of love and peace. In similar words, gratitude based on love will bear the fruits of happiness, harmony and communion with God. Fr. Raymond T. Sabio, MSC)


Some people grew old, and never grew up. Others, grow up and never grow old! To the latter group, belongs Fr. Venancio "Ven" Portillo, M.S.C. He rested in peace several years ago; but he is very much alive in my consciousness. He amazed me; moreso, he fascinated me. He spoke fluent Spanish, Dutch, English (with a slight British accent), Tagalog, Bisaya in addition to his local Surigao language.

Could you imagine, at seventy, he was still diligently following a language course on French. His philosophy was: "Nobody is too old to learn." Aside from his sacerdotal ministry and giving of retreats, he collected stamps, plants and shells. He refused to be called a 'shell collector.' "I am a conchologist," he said. (This means, he studies and collects shells scientifically, classifying them according to their species and genus).

He was also a member of the Philippine Inventors' Society and he did a few small interesting inventions. Such was Fr. Ven! Yes, for him, time is too precious a commodity to waste; the world is a wide open field of knowledge to be explored and highly appreciated.

He has a little advise to the young ones, missionaries or otherwise, "If you wish to persevere in your life or chosen profession, see to it that you have hobbies. Hobbies will victoriously tame the beast in you!"

And now, please reflect on the essay of Ann Landers and ask yourself: "Have I grown up through the years and have become mature and strong enough to face the challenges of life and of the world?"

(by Ann Landers)

Maturity is the ability to control anger and settle differences without violence or destruction.
Maturity is patience. It is the willingness to pass up immediate pleasure in favor of the long-term gain.
Maturity is perseverance, the ability to sweat out a project or a situation in spite of heavy opposition and discouraging setbacks.
Maturity is the capacity to face unpleasantness and frustration, discomfort and defeat, without complaint or collapse.
Maturity is humility. It is being big enough to say, "I was wrong." And, when right, the mature person need not experience the satisfaction of saying, "I told you so."
Maturity is the ability to make a decision and stand by it. The immature spend their lives exploring endless possibilities; then they do nothing.
Maturity means dependability, keeping one's word, coming through in a crisis. The immature are masters of the alibi. They are the confused and the disorganized. Their lives are a maze of broken promises, former friends, unfinished business and good intentions that somehow never materialize.
Maturity is the art of living in peace with that which we cannot change, the courage to change that which should be changed and the wisdom to know the difference.

-----o---) End (---o-----


Prenote: The subsequent poem is dedicated to a holy man who served, as a missionary, the people of Surigao, Agusan and Cebu in the Philippines since 1935. He was born in the Netherlands on June 30, 1910 and returned to his Creator on April 14, 2000. As a part-time assistant to him at Capitol Parish, Cebu City, I could say in all sincerity, he is a man with a big heart for his parish members, his confreres and his friends/acquaintances. He mirrored in many small but significant ways the loving Heart of his Master.

He is well remembered and very much loved by all those who came in contact with him in various parishes in Mindanao and Cebu. His last assignments: Lapulapu, Cantilan, Capitol Parish and the Poor Clares Sisters were indeed very special to him. All of them who were under his pastoral care would say: Yes, we very deeply treasure Fr. Louis Boeren in our love and joy laden memories. And now, the poem which I dedicate to him.

by Fr. Raymond T. Sabio, MSC

Ten years right after the start of the twenty eighth century
In Den Bosch, the Netherlands, a child saw the light.
His father, a Boeren, his baptismal name Louis,
He grew up healthy and wise to his parents' delight.

The Sacred Heart of the Good Shepherd called him one day
To join the world-wide missionary group, called M.S.C.
The founder, coming from a poor family was Jules Chevalier,
Who wanted to proclaim Christ's love from sea to sea.

Chevalier is French, for a Spanish Caballero,
A Horseman, a Gentleman, a dedicated Worker,
Ever ready to plant the seed of love in every being's heart,
Such a noble calling, Chevalier got from Christ, his Leader.

To R.P. in 1935, Fr. Boeren came with a caballero spirit,
All kinds of ministry he performed in Surigao, Agusan and Cebu
In true selflessness, humility and dedication he gave his all,
And we, his friends and confreres, have so much to enherit.

Fr. Louis Boeren, in the Holy Trinity's bossom, rest now.
Enjoy the new life long prepared for your final homecoming.
Remember us, as you share in the Lord's Resurrection,
And welcome us when our time is up to make our final bow.

(April 16, 2000/Palm Sunday. Inchon, Korea)
-------o-----) o0o (-----o-------

3) FOOD FOR HUNGRY THOUGHT (compiled by Fr. Raymond T. Sabio, MSC)

"If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable." (by Seneca)
"We derive inspiration from people who agree with us; growth from people who do not agree with us." (author unknown)
"If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you. If you really make them think, they'll hate you." (by Don Marquis)
"Our patience will achieve more than our force." (by Edmund Burke)
"If you want people to think well of you, do not speak well of yourself." (by Blaise Pascal)
"We think according to our nature. We speak according to rules. We act according to custom." (by Francis Bacon)
"And the fruits will outdo what the flowers have promised!" (by Francois de Malberbe)
"Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it." (by David Starr Jordan)"
"We grow old when we count the days of the year; but we grow up when we love, sacrifice and share." (by Raymond T. Sabio)
"To bear other people's afflictions, everyone has courage and enough to spare." (by Benjamin Franklin)
"I never think of the future. It comes soon enough." (by Albert Einstein)
"We always like those who admire us but we do not always like those whom we admire." (by La Rochefoucauld)
"I've never met a healthy person who worried much about his health, or a good person who worried much about his soul." (by Haldane)
"To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing!" (by E. Hubbard)
"Look in the face of the person to whom you are speaking if you wish to know his real sentiments, for he can command his words more easily than his countenance." (by Lord Chesterfield)
"Good intentions are, at least, the seed of good actions; and everyone ought to sow them, and leave it to the soil and the seasons whether he or any other gather the fruit." (by William Temple)
"Between violence and peace, there is loving kindness. Violence is its absence; peace is its fullness." (by Raymond T. Sabio)
"Few rich men own their property. The property owns them." (by Robert Green Ingersoll)
"I do not know whether war is an interlude during peace, or peace an interlude during war." (by Georges Clemenceau)
"Act well at the moment and you have performed a good action to all eternity." (by Johann Kaspar Lavater)
"Prosperity is only an instrument to be used; not a deity to be worshipped." (by Calvin Coolidge)
"Economy is half the battle of life; it is not so hard to earn money, as to spend it well." (by Charles Haddon Spurgeon)
"It is most miserable to feel ashamed of home." (by Charles Dickens)
"The person who does not read is no better off than the person who cannot read." (by Abby van Buren)
"It is no great part of a good man's lot to enjoy himself. To be good and to do good are his ends, and the glory is to be revealed hereafter." (by Samuel Irenaeus Prime)
"Variety is the spice of life, that gives it all its flavor." (by William Cowper)
"Kindness--a language which the dumb can speak, and the deaf can understand." (by C. N. Bovee)
"Take care to get what you like, or you will be forced to like what you get." (by George Bernard Shaw)
"Two buckets of tears will not heal a bruise." (a Chinese proverb)
"If we declare that Jesus is the Son of God, we live in union with God and God lives in union with us. And we ourselves know and believe the love which God has for us. God is love, and those who live in love, live in union with God and God lives in union with them." (1 John 4: 15 - 16)

A.O.S.-Inchon, Korea. April 5, 2000


(Brief note by Fr. Raymond T. Sabio, MSC. God is the source of our life. But moreover, God has also given us intellect and will so that we could have the capacity to know and, in a special way, love Him. This precisely is God's greatness and glory within us.

Hence, with God's grace, it is within our power to reach unprecedented heights in our lifetime if we have the courage to dream for a new and better Christ-centered world and work hard enough to enflesh that dream. This is what it means to be "fully alive" for the Lord. Please take a good look at Paul Bauer's poem and allow yourself to be challenged by it.)

by Paul Bauer

In each of you, there is a seed, a seed of vast potential,
a place beyond the ego mind, a place so rich and fertile,

that you can smell its rich fragrance, like after a cool summer rain
you can feel this pulse of life, as it pulses through you.

This infinite part of you knows. Like a beacon in the night
it guides you on your journey.....back home... back... to the Real You.

This greatness requires just one thing...your awareness, awareness through your breath
noticing in each moment, how precious life really is...

and how precious You really are for you are its Source and It is your beginning...
You now stand at the crossroads... crossroads of your old self, and the Real you.

Embrace this moment, embrace yourself as the creator in your life.
This is your essence, breathe it in...let it flow... let it just Be...and so it is....

1) A WORD OF WELCOME (Fr. Raymond T. Sabio, MSC)

It is my great wish to communicate with my friends, acquaintances and relatives through this web-page. I intend to share with you a number of sayings, stories, anecdotes that I personally found very meaningful and fruitful. I hope you will find them so. Let me start with this section:

compiled by Fr. Raymond T. Sabio, MSC

"Fear sees obstacles; faith sees possibilities." (author unknown)
"A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities; an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties." (by Vice- Admiral Mansell, R.N.)
"The secret of success in life is for a man (person) to be ready for his opportunity when it comes." (by Disraeli)
"Man must be disappointed with the lesser things of life before he can comprehend the full value of the greater." (by Bulwer-Lytton)
"Only a loving person could hear the silent knock of the opportune time at the door of his soul." (by Raymond T. Sabio)
"Disappointment should always be taken as a stimulant, and never viewed as a discouragement." (by C.B. Newcomb)
"On the fall of an oak, every man gathers wood." (by Menander)
"God's best gift to us is not things, but opportunities." (by Alice W. Rollins)
"When you are confronted with what seems to be an insurmountable obstacle, remember too that distance does not matter. It is the courage to take the first step that counts. Remember that procrastination is your enemy. 'One of these days' too often can mean 'none of these days'." (author unknown)
"If you trap the moment before it's ripe, The tears of repentance you'll certainly wipe; But if once you let the ripe moment go, You can never wipe off the tears of woe." (by Blake)
"When God wants something done, obstacles for Him become opportunities." (by Fr. Jules Chevalier)
"Dig where you stand; for where you stand is Klondike!" (often quoted by Fr. Rainier van Glansbeek; author unknown)
"The man who waits for things to turn up has his eyes fixed on his toes." (by Creswell MacLaughlin)
"I consider that what we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. . . . For we know that up to the present time all of creation groans with pain, like the pain of the childbirth. . . . we who have the spirit as the first of God's gifts also groan within ourselves as we wait for God to make us his children and set our whole being free." (Romans 8: 18, 22-23)

A.O.S.-Inchon, Korea April 23, 2000

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