After a great deal of preparation, along with the requisite setbacks and problems, in 1920 the first group of Columban Fathers left their familiar surroundings to fulfill the mission in China for which they were commissioned.
The Holy See assigned the Columbans to the city of Hanyang in the Chinese province of Hupeh in December 1919 (Far East, August 1920).
An “advance party” of Columbans, consisting of Fathers Edward J. Galvin, John Blowick, and Owen MacPolin, arrived in China in June 1920. When this group located a home for the Columbans in Hanyang, Fr. Blowick sent word to Omaha that other Columbans were clear to make the great journey to the East.
In August of 1920, the main group of the pioneering Columbans docked in Shanghai, China, after their long sea voyage across the Pacific.
The group consisted of Columban Fathers Joseph Crossan, Matthew Dolan, Timothy Leonard, Arthur McGuinness, Michael McHugh, John O’Brien, Edward J. O’Doherty, Richard Ranaghan, Cornelius Tierney and Thomas Quinlan. Columban Fathers John Dawson and Michael Mee would join them in China later in 1920.
The Columban overseas mission was underway, with much trial, tribulation, and success to come.