“I couldn’t manage without them.” That is a phrase one often hears in a discussion between the parish priests in Fiji, whether indigenous or foreign born. They are speaking of the male catechists who serve in both rural and urban areas.
Earlier this year, two Columban Fathers—an Irish farmer by way of decades of mission in Pakistan and an Iowa farmer by way of decades of mission in Korea—and I visited three Columban benefactors on their farm.
Since I joined the Columban lay mission program in 2000, I have learned three different languages: English, Filipino (Tagalog) and Spanish. Since my assignment to Myanmar (formerly Burma) I am learning yet another language – Burmese!
I wonder if the Blessed Virgin was limping during her old age? Nevertheless, I think she will still be there doing what God the Father asked of her. Perhaps even though she was not physically fit during Jesus’ time, she still did what she had to do.
During the national convention of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians (LAOH) in St. Louis two years ago, I encountered many participants who had a strong connection not only with my native country, Ireland, but also with various Columban missionaries scattered across the world.
During the 122 year history of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians (LAOH), there has been a special relationship with various Catholic institutions. The Order has also promoted Irish, Irish American and Catholic history.
When we think of the missionary work of the Columbans in Japan, we must not forget the Trojan work done by the Japanese catechists. Very often they were the right hand Samurais of the trail blazing Columban missionaries. One such lady catechist is Miss Tsuneko Hinata.
Editor’s Note: In November 2015, Julia Corcoran spent a week with Columban lay missionaries from Chile and the Philippines who are working in Britain. The following is her account as told to Columban Fr. Denis Carter.
If I were to describe my twelve years ministering to prostitutes, I would have to say I felt truly powerless on the one hand and deeply aware of God’s presence on the other. God’s love and compassion seemed very much alive in that dark and painfilled world.