In 1938, international events were affecting the Columbans. The Japanese military was expanding its occupation of China, and international political tensions were dragging the Columban mission countries toward the catastrophic global conflict of World War II.
The Columbans did their best to grow and continue their missions in this uncertain climate, including negotiating with the Diocese of San Diego, California to build a house in that city.
But the most consequential start of a Columban facility in 1938 was the beginning of Dalgan Park, Navan.
The Columban Fathers had made their home at Dalgan Park in Shrule, County Mayo, since the early years of the Society.
In 1927, however, in an attempt to move closer to Dublin, the Columbans purchased a property in the townland of Dowdstown, near the city of Navan in County Meath.
On September 25, 1938, the cornerstone was laid at Dowdstown for the new Columban college and seminary there.
The ceremony that morning for the cornerstone included hundreds of religious and secular dignitaries, including a Papal nuncio and Joseph Cardinal MacRory, Archbishop of Armagh, Northern Ireland.
Another several years would pass until the Columbans could officially open the new Dalgan Park in Navan in 1941.
The Columbans had taken an important step toward establishing their new Irish home base.