Two Stories of Columban Lay Mission

Fr. Arturo Aguilar
May 27, 2010

In late 2008, Dan and Meri Diamond quit their jobs, sold their home and became lay missionaries with the Columban Fathers.

They completed their formation program in California and were officially missioned in June 2009. After working for several months with Columbans at the U.S./Mexico border, Dan and Meri joined Columbans in Peru in January 2010.

The Columban Fathers have 89 lay missionaries around the world, each devoting part of their lives to mission. Through generous benefactors, two married couples from the U.S. – the Diamonds and Drapers – have been able to answer the call to mission.

Dan and Meri Diamond

Their words of the Diamonds speak to God’s surprises for us all.

“We left our home and loved ones…searching for an experience that will change our lives forever. It is funny how God works. When you think you know what is best for you He throws a curve ball at you and everything changes….The people’s stories, their faces, their eyes, their children, they are the reason we are here.”

Another lay missionary couple, David and Anna Draper, have spent five years working with Columbans in Chile. David and Anna work primarily with the youth in their parish, although they recently completed a project building solar ovens with the women in their area.

David and Anna Draper, with son Josh

David and Anna Draper, with son Josh

“It was hard in the beginning to get youth involved in activities because they were scared to start something new, and they really didn’t know us that well. We’ve already noticed that things are much easier now. We actually had a group of kids show up at our door a couple of weeks ago asking, “When do we get to start?” Lots of times, we don’t get to see the results of our labor. That’s why it has been so encouraging for us to be able to see these small fruits. It gives us much more energy to work hard even when we’re tired.”

Today Christian discipleship is lived in many ways. Many are called to marriage; some are called to single life in the world; and some are called to consecrated life as a priest, a Sister or brother. Christians are working in all sorts of careers—teachers, artists, nurses, musicians, engineers, social workers, scientists and more, and each one contributes to bringing about the Kingdom of God.

When I reflect on what David & Anna and Dan & Meri say about their experiences as Columban lay missionaries, I am reminded again of Luke’s words:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)

We are grateful for the opportunity not only to help others live out their missionary vocations in new and different ways, but also for the abundant support of our friends like you.

Gratefully yours in Christ,

Fr. Arturo Aguilar