There has been much talk recently about “The Gathering,” an initiative sponsored by Tourism Ireland which “invites anyone who has a link to Ireland or just a love of the country, to come to Ireland for a series of events throughout 2013.”
“Throughout 2013, Ireland will open its arms to hundreds of thousands of friends and family from all over the world, calling them home to gatherings in villages, towns and cities.
There will be clan gatherings, festivals, special sporting events, music and concerts taking place all across the country, all year long. Communities throughout Ireland will showcase and share the very best of Irish culture, tradition, business, sport, fighting spirit and the uniquely Irish sense of fun.”
Columban Fr. Bobby Gilmore was involved recently in a radio discussion on the issue.
At least one of the planned events for next year has a specifically missionary focus.
The Columba Community of Reconciliation will host a “Welcome Home to Missionaries”
Donegal has the unique distinction of having the first Irish missionary – Colmcille/Columba, and this island of saints and scholars has continued his legacy ever since by sending apostles to every continent on earth. 2013 marks the 1450th anniversary of this first mission of Columba to Iona, Scotland. We propose to have a major celebration for all Christian missionaries, religious, lay and clerical alike who have contributed powerfully towards the development of peoples all over the world. We are keen to contact as many current and former missionaries as possible, as well as their families and friends from here and abroad.