Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

The Heart of the Gospel and Columban Mission

January 14, 2014

  Scott Wright, CCAO Director

“Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC) is integral to the preaching of the Gospel and is at the heart of Columban Mission.” (2006 General Assembly)

As we begin this New Year, we want to reintroduce the four priority advocacy areas that describe the mission of the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach (CCAO). They are:

  1. Migration
  2. Environmental Justice and Climate Change
  3. Global Economic Justice
  4. Peace and Conflict Transformation

This month’s E-Bulletin highlights each of these four advocacy areas, and offers a glimpse of the communities around the world where Columbans minister to the poor and work of justice, peace, and integrity of creation.

Each January, Catholics throughout the United States are invited to participate in National Migration Week, and to carry forward this commitment throughout the year to “welcome the stranger.” Columbans on the U.S. – Mexico border and the Columban Mission Center in El Paso, TX visit unaccompanied immigrant children in detention and offer exposure trips to U.S. groups wanting to learn more about the border reality.

Last year, Hurricane Haiyen brought untold devastation to the Philippines, displacing millions of people and wreaking havoc on numerous villages and island communities. Columbans were among the first to witness the devastation of the typhoon, according to one father the worst he had seen in his 44 years as a Columban missionary in the Philippines, and to raise awareness about the urgent need to address global warming. Equally crucial, is the world’s need for water.

Pope Francis, in his Apostolic Letter, “The Gospel of Joy,” once again drew attention to the growing divide between rich and poor in the world: “We have to remember that the majority of our contemporaries are barely living from day to day.” Columbans serve in many countries throughout the world that have been subject to unfair trade and debt policies, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which will continue to deepen the rich-poor divide.

And finally, Columbans in mission in Pakistan, Korea, and Burma, among other places, continue to witness inter-religious, inter-ethnic, and government violence against the very poor whom they serve. In Peshawar, Pakistan, 81 Christians from All Saints Day Church were killed in a terrorist attack; while in Korea villagers from Jeju Island continue to be imprisoned for their attempts to protect their island’s bio-diversity and oppose the building of a military base.

Yet despite all, Columbans continue to bear witness to the love and fraternity which are, in Pope Francis’ words, “the foundation and pathway to peace.”