From the Director
This year, as Columban missionaries celebrate a century of mission, we pause to look back and marvel at the abundance of God's blessings. This centennial year is an occasion for us to recognize not only those blessings that God has bestowed upon us and others in far-off mission lands, but also for the blessings that we have received through our loyal and generous supporters back home. A major reason, therefore, to celebrate this important milestone is to express our gratitude to God and to the all the people who have been part of our missionary endeavors during these past hundred years.
From the outset, Columban missionaries have been migrants for Christ. Founded in 1918 for mission in China, we gradually expanded our nets across the globe. Following Jesus' command to "go out to all the world and proclaim the Good News," and responding to God's call in our hearts, Columban missionaries leave behind our family and our home country in order to become international messengers of God's unconditional love and mercy. Through the pages of this mission magazine, we have shared with you our dreams and our endeavors as we moved from China to Chile, from Belize to Brazil, and from the Philippines to Peru.
As we gaze into the future, all of us realize that our world will continue to be in need of divine assistance.
Columban missionaries go not only to the ends of the earth, but also to those people who live on the fringe of society. In doing so, we are guided by the example of Jesus throughout His public ministry:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
Because he anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He sent me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed. (Lk 4:18)
Throughout this past century, in various countries, Columban missionaries have walked side by side with the poor and with those suffering great hardships. Some Columban missionaries were martyred, while many others remained living in very difficult circumstances, conveying God's faithful love through their commitment to prayer and the sacraments, the development of projects and parishes, and the promotion of justice and peace. During our centennial year we give thanks for these inspirational leaders in the faith, these pioneers in mission, these heroes of fidelity who motivate us to step forward into a new century of Columban mission with confidence in God's unfailing guidance and grace.
As we gaze into the future, all of us realize that our world will continue to be in need of divine assistance. Poverty and violence are forcing large numbers of people to abandon their homelands, leaving them with a grim and fearful future. Moreover, as the world becomes smaller, hostility between people of different cultures and traditions will continue to cause all of us uncertainty and anxiety. Furthermore, as more and more people around the world adopt a consumeristic lifestyle, our common home, the earth, will be plundered further. In the face of such grave challenges, there remains an urgent need for international messengers of hope, dedicated ambassadors for Christ, and committed witnesses to the Gospel message of justice and peace across our world.
Unlike earlier generations, younger Columban missionaries are building bridges not just between the east and the west, but all around our world. In earlier decades, all of our priests were from English-speaking countries. They spent their lives proclaiming the Good News in East Asia, Oceania and Latin America. Thanks to their labors and the efforts of so many others, including the local people, the Church became fi rmly established in those places. Not only that, but in more recent decades, Christians in those countries have developed a deep sense of their own missionary responsibility. Consequently, the vast majority of young Columban missionaries, both priests and lay people, come from Korea and the Philippines, Fiji and Tonga, Chile and Peru. Indeed, during this past century we have traveled a full circle, since there are plans to ordain the fi rst Chinese Columban missionary priest during this centennial year.
Whatever our country of origin, Columban missionaries still follow the inspiration of our founders, Bishop Edward Galvin and Fr. John Blowick, to proclaim to the world that, as children of the same God, all of us are called to live together as brothers and sisters. As we celebrate a century of mission, we already know from our experiences that Jesus fulfi lls His promise to reward one hundred-fold those who leave home and property, family and friends, for the sake of the Gospel. On so many occasions and in so many different countries, we have been humbled by the generosity of the poor; blessed by the hospitality of strangers; and amazed by the faith commitment of the people we encountered. Such an abundance of good things gives us confi dence that God, and those who share God's dream for our world, will continue to accompany us and provide for us as we embark on a new century of Columban mission.