An award-winning missionary magazine

Friends Until the End

When one joins the catechumenate, they will feel how it is to belong and to be held by the love of its members all held together by a loving God who will not abandon anyone until the end of their days on earth.

Amy, from a Taiwanese Taoist family, went to Manila in the early nineties as a young professional to study English. A couple of her classmates in the language school were Comboni Missionaries, part of the first batch of confreres sent to Asia. They soon became good friends. It was the first time for Amy to get close to the Catholic Church. After her return to Taiwan, the contacts naturally became more sporadic and many years passed by. 

Now a mature woman, it was a surprise for Amy that one of those priests was later assigned to Taipei and contacted her. Soon after, the unexpected happened. Amy, a strong and independent single woman at the top of her career found out she had cancer. She decided to fight the disease. However, she realized that her Taoist religious background would not be enough to give her the spiritual strength needed to face the battle. 

She then decided to join the catechumenate. The parish community embraced Amy with warmth: the priests often visited her when her health was too frail; a friend doctor assisted her both professionally and personally; the leaders of the catechumenate constantly kept her in their prayer. 

The healing miracle, though often invoked, didn’t happen, but God had another surprise for Amy. Her female companion in the catechumenate, Xiang Ling – whose family members did not need anymore her daily presence – became increasingly close to her. Both during the catechumenate and after their baptism, Xiang Ling slowly became the reference person in Amy’s life, attending to her many needs, assisting her when in the hospital, and even moving to her home in the last period of Amy’s life when she was unable to take care of herself. They always repeated that, through baptism, they not only became friends but also sisters, even closer than biological ones. 

Xiang Ling was the person Amy was looking for throughout her life: someone available to love her without expecting anything in return. On the last days of Amy’s life in the hospital, Xiang Ling was there, and in her prayerful presence Amy took her last breath. Amy’s family was amazed to see at the funeral Mass so many people unknown to them: indeed, the Church had become Amy’s new family.

Whenever I start a catechumenate, this story reminds me that Baptism is not merely a rite: it’s the public recognition of God’s presence in one’s life, a God who is working through many relationships and events (yes, even a cancer!) to lead us, one by one, to Him, so that we may discover why it’s worth living, and experience that we are held by Him, even in death. 
 


Read These Next


Louder Than Words

A French priest chose to stay in China as a silent witness of his faith, evangelizing not by preaching but by living through his daily life the teachings of the Gospel. He was an extraordinary man of…

Out of Darkness, Towards the Light

The successful rescue operation of 12 boys and their coach from a cave in Thailand is an excellent allegory of what education is all about – lead the person out of darkness into the light of…

Tourists or Pilgrims? The Youth Dilemma

Living in a “liquid society” where definite beliefs and permanent choices are seen as unattractive, young people enjoy seeing themselves as pilgrims. Life, then, is a pilgrimage made up of an…

Share Your Thoughts


Loading Conversation

Sign up for the newsletter

Getting your own copy of "Friends of the Mission" is free. Sign up with your complete address to get one delivered right to your doorstep.

Kindly double check that the information you entered is correct and accurate. Thank you!