In honor of my two former students in the seminary, Rev Fr Sam Cuarto and Rev Fr Aris Miranda: May the Sierra Leone road rise up to meet you!

In honor of my two former students in the seminary, Rev Fr Sam Cuarto and Rev Fr Aris Miranda: May the Sierra Leone road rise up to meet you!
SOON--or perhaps they are packing up now--two of my former students in the seminary are going to Sierra Leone, in one diocese there, Mekeni it is. 
Mekeni has been affected by the Ebola virus, and Rev Aris, the head of his order's apostolate, thought that it would be wise to have Camillian presence there, hence the assignment of Camillian religious in that area. 
These two priests were my exceptional students, both known for their humilty, their sense of mission, their independence, and their capacity to say No. 
But this time around, even if they want to continue serving the peoples of the Philippines, they are saying Yes to the challenge to go where the more challenging action is at this time. 
Their order, one of the oldest and established in 1582, takes service to the poorsick as its apostolate and charism. 
Known all over the world by the huge, red, and blazing cross on the chest of their sotana, the Ministers of the Infirm, also know more popularly as Camillians, has seen plagues and other epidemics.
This medieval order responded to the problems of health care in various countries, in various climes. It helped that the founder, Saint Camillus de Lellis, was a mercenary soldier at the service of whoever wanted to pay him, and that he had a wound on his leg that never healed.
That personal experience led to introspection, self awareness, and metanoia. He saw Rome, the empire that it was and its problems, and it dawned on him that a group of people should take care of the sick. 
In the Philippines, they are everywhere now even if they came in only in 1974, or two years after the declaration of Martial Law. 
At some point in their young ministry, the religious of the MI were working in a variety of institutions: the Children's Center, the Heart Center, the Kidney Center, the Lung Center, the Mental Health, the Home for the Dying, and the National Bilibid Prisons. 
In other places in the Philippines, they operate polyclinics that cater to the poorsick. 
These two priests have seen what it takes to be a real pastor of the faith, a shepherd of believers. 
Our prayer is this: May the Sierra Leone and its roads rise up to meet them both.
Blessing and grace and benediction to you.

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