On October 28 Taaremom Matauea became a permanent member of the Columban Missionary Society and was ordained a deacon at Korean Martyrs’ Catholic Church on the following day. The occasion was also a moment to celebrate Fr. Charlie Duster’s golden jubilee as a Columban missionary priest. Despite two good reasons to make merry, however, many who attended the celebrations had mixed feelings, since the Columbans are in the process of withdrawing from Chicago.
As a seminarian, Taaremon spent two years in Taiwan, where he was engaged in migrant workers’ ministry. Then, this past summer was spent as an intern at the CCAO office in Washington D.C. In December he hopes to graduate from Catholic Theological Union (CTU) in Chicago with a Master of Divinity, and return home to Fiji to prepare for his ordination to priesthood next summer.
Taaremon is the most recent Columban seminarian to have benefited from the CCAO internship program: several others from various countries were fortunate to have participated in it over the past few years. However, with the closing of the Columban international seminary in Chicago in December, there emerges the challenge of how to provide opportunities for future Columban seminarians to engage in such a vital area of mission.