Why the Columbans?

August 16, 2010

I wanted to be a missionary in China. A (priest) came to visit our school, and started with a poem from the Columbans. The way he gave it was it was very romantic …

Tony-Mortell

Fr. Tony Mortell

Who has a blade for a splendid cause,
Who has a heart that’s true?
To live and fight for the grandest thing
That man could dream, or singer sing,
Or ever soldier knew?

Fr. Tony Mortell


Fr. Chuck Lintz

Fr. Chuck Lintz

I was looking for a small mission society, I decided I would respond to the call that I would be a missionary. I decided to look for a mission society, I like that idea that it was small, I feel I would be more comfortable, and strictly mission society,

Fr. Chuck Lintz


I would drop in and talk to (local priest) Fr. Owen Oxenham who was the Director of Catholic Missions. He encouraged me go to the seminary since I told him I was interested in God and the seminary seemed the best place to go. I told him I thought I would like to be a missionary if I was to be a priest; he told me that being a priest was the important thing, being a missionary was a decision I could make later.

Fr. Gary Walker

Fr. Gary Walker

I went to the diocesan seminary and it wasn’t long before I knew I was in the wrong place to make a decision about becoming a priest. As I reflect on my confused thoughts then, I think I understood that the diocesan seminary trained priests to run all aspects of a parish. I did not really know what I wanted, but my aspirations were somehow for wider horizons.

By coincidence, or was it the hand of God, a former Columban seminarian arrived at the seminary when I knew I had to move on. He told me about the St. Columban’s Missionary Society and I applied to the Columbans with the permission and help of the local rector.

When I had been at the Columban seminary for a few months, I thought it had the ‘right fit’ for me. What impressed me about the Columbans was their commitment to hospitality. It isn’t a law or a rule but comes from the generosity of our hearts.

Fr. Gary Walker