As with so many years, 1952 was a bittersweet one for the Columbans. In September of that year, Columban founder Bishop Edward J. Galvin, left China, under pressure from the Chinese communist government.
Within several years, the communists would have expelled all the Columban Fathers from China, and the Columban mission would have disappeared from the nation for which the Society received its charter.
Nonetheless, as one door was closing for the Columbans, another opened: in February of 1952, a group of 12 Columbans landed in the South Pacific island nation of Fiji, which was still a British colony.
These 12 priests were the pioneers of the new Columban mission in that ethnically diverse country, which was a response to an invitation from the Bishop of Fiji for the Columbans to work there.
The group’s arrival marked the beginning of a fruitful Columban presence in Oceania, which would yield vocations, lay missionaries, parish and school constructions, and many other successes.