Columban missionaries have been thanked for their missionary work in the Philippines by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila. He spoke on March 14, 2014, at a special Mass in the Columbans’ Manila house with the Columban international leadership, who were meeting last week in the Philippines. “Thanks for the Columban missionaries who have allowed themselves to be vessels of God’s love” he said “you have touched hearts here and elsewhere and conveyed the mystery of God’s love.” In a dynamic sermon, he acknowledged Columbans involved with his own faith formation, “helping myself and others understand what Christian leadership is all about.” He was thankful that as a young man he had received support to develop a sense of mission, concern for social justice and care for others.
The Mass was concelebrated with Fr. Kevin O’Neill, the Superior General of the Columbans who is based in Hong Kong, and Fr. Patrick O’Donoghue, the Director of the Columbans in the Philippines. At the conclusion Fr. O’Neill warmly thanked the Cardinal for coming. “It is wonderful to have such a young and vibrant cardinal in the church” he said, clearly delighted that “the Columbans in the Philippines have a fond relationship with Cardinal Tagle.” He highlighted that the Columbans, with more than 400 missionaries in 13 countries, were continuing in their meeting “to discern how the spirit is guiding us to engage with the contemporary world today.” It was pointed out that Columbans have been in the Philippines since 1929, and eight of them have been martyred over that period. After the Mass, a smiling and relaxed Cardinal Tagle – one of the world’s youngest cardinals at 56 – circulated to meet Columban priests, Sisters, lay missionaries, and lay co-workers. Pope Francis recently appointed Cardinal Tagle one of three co-presidents for the Synod on the Family to be held this autumn.
Enormous appreciation was expressed to Columban benefactors in Britain, Ireland, United States, Australia and New Zealand, many of whom are readers of the Columban Misison magazine.