Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

September 2013 e-bulletin

September 12, 2013


Paz para todos los que viven, paz para todas las tierras y las aguas.
Peace for all who live, peace for all the land and the water.

-Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet
Dear First Name,

This September 11th marks the 40th anniversary of the military coup in Chile.  Anniversaries such as these invite us to remember that peace and justice are fragile realities which can be broken in an instant by excessive power, greed, discrimination, fear, and violence.  This month we share with you stories about Columban mission and by Columban missionaries who have given their lives to sharing in the joys and struggles of the Chilean people.  The suffering and sacrifices of many are not forgotten as we continue to work for a world where justice, peace, dialogue, are restored and reconciliation begins the healing the world’s woundedness.

We also introduce and welcome the CCAO’s new Director Scott Wright, and say farewell to Amy Woolam Echeverria as she moves to a new ministry of service with Columbans as the International JPIC Coordinator.  Read Amy’s farewell message here .

Columban Ministries from the Dictatorship to the Present

By The Columban JPIC Office in Chile

Justice and Peace has been at the heart of the Columban ministry and pastoral work in Chile. During the years of the military dictatorship, the Columbans work offered support and services to the victims of human rights abuses. Now, Columbans are active in assisting Chileans rebuild their lives after Pinochet and bring about healing and reconciliation. Read More

Chile’s Legacy and the Columban Experience

By Elizabeth Nye, CVUSA

During Columban Father Bob Mosher’s experience in Chile under the Pinochet Dictatorship, he witnessed the suffering of many members of his parish. In spite of this, he strove to bring a sense of hope and light to the community that he served. Now, he brings his experience to the U.S. – Mexico border  in El Paso, Texas Read More

Pinochet’s Legacy Among the Mapuche Indigenous Communities

By Tracy Oberle, CCAO Summer Intern

One group of people who suffered greatly under the Pinochet government was the Mapuche indigenous community. Intern Tracy Oberle reflects on her interview with Columban Lay Missionary Monika Lewatikana about her experience in Chile and the struggle of the Mapuche people.

Read More

Take Action to End Torture

During the time of the Pinochet dictatorship, Columban Missionaries accompanied the families and individuals of victims of those disappeared and tortured by the military. Many officers responsible for these tragedies were graduates from the School of the Americas (SOA), a U.S.-sponsored training camp for Latin American military officials in Georgia. New legislation in Congress would suspend and investigate the SOA, now known by the name WHINSEC. Commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Pinochet dictatorship by calling on your Representative to support H.R. 2989.

A Poem by Columban Father, Dennis O’Mara

During the Pinochet Era in Chile, Columban Father Dennis O’mara worked with and served people who were tortured by the Chilean secret service for more than six years. He stood in solidarity with those he served and was eventually deported to the U.S. for his efforts with the peace community in opposing the Chilean Government’s practice of torturing Chilean citizens. After his return from Chile he said, “We have the right and the obligation of responding to the wounded person who suffers torture.” Below is a poem by Father Denny inspired by his time in Chile and the urgency to close the School of the Americas:


I’m at School of the Americas.

I won’t forget a colonel’s words

one day when he was asked

about our use of torture.

Read the whole Poem

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