Who are the Columban Fathers, and what is the Missionary Society of St. Columban?
The Missionary Society of St. Columban (also known as the Columban Fathers) was founded by Frs. Edward Galvin and John Blowick of Ireland in 1918 to proclaim and witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ. Today, the Society is comprised of nearly 700 Columban missionaries, including priests, seminarians and lay missionaries.
Where are you located?
Since 1921, the headquarters for the Society in the United States has been located near Bellevue, Nebraska (south of Omaha). Our property, while surrounded by the city of Bellevue, is actually not incorporated within Bellevue’s city limits.
Our postal address is shown as St. Columbans, Nebraska, because we operate our own postal contract station. This unique address has provided us with our own postal identity for more than 80 years. To contact us by mail or by phone, visit our Contact Us page.
What are the priorities of the Society? Do you have a Mission Statement?
The demands of the Gospel call us to stand with the poor. The suffering of the downtrodden becomes our cross, too. That is the work of the Missionary Society of St. Columban in the United States and around the world.
We cross boundaries of country, language and culture to establish the Catholic Church among people who have not heard or have barely heard the Gospel. We help churches mature until they are able to evangelize their own people, and we promote dialogue between Christians and those of other religious faiths.
Is there a printed history of the founding of the Missionary Society of St. Columban?
Yes. William Barrett, noted author of the 20th century (famous for writing Lilies of the Field) chronicled the history and founding of the Society. The book, titled The Red Lacquered Gate, was reprinted in 2003 and is available for purchase online.
What is the Society’s legal status?
To learn more about the legal status of the Missionary Society of St. Columban, read our legal status document.
In what countries do you have missions?
The world headquarters of the Missionary Society of St. Columban is in Hong Kong, and we operate our international missionary outreach with a physical presence in Asia, Latin America, Oceania and Europe. To learn more about where the Columbans serve and Columban history, visit the History section of our website.
How can I support the missionary work of the Columban Fathers?
Columban benefactors live their baptismal call to mission every day through their prayers and sacrifices. To learn more about how you can share in our mission, visit our Donation page.
If I choose to support the Columban Fathers financially, can I specify how my gift is used?
Columban benefactors occasionally request that we use their donation in a specific way. We do our utmost to honor this request. Our only requirement is that your request must be consistent with our mission and priorities.
If a particular project or mission country interests you, please let us know. We simply ask that you clearly state your intentions when you make a donation.
If, for any reason, we cannot fulfill your request, we will tell you. If you make an unrestricted (general) donation to help us in our work, we pledge to use it wisely.
How do I subscribe to the Columbans’ magazine?
You can request our magazine, Columban Mission, by visiting our Columban Mission page. A minimum donation of $10 a year is requested, and the magazine is published eight times a year. It’s a great way to learn more about Columban missionaries and the inspiring work they perform.
I would like a record of my donations for the year for tax-reporting purposes. How do I get one?
We routinely acknowledge every gift, regardless of the size. In most cases, this acknowledgment, or “thank you” letter, will suffice. However, IRS regulations state you must have a tax receipt that contains specific language if you give us a gift (or gifts) totaling more than $250.
We are happy to provide this important documentation. E-mail us through our Contact Us page to request one.
What measures do you take to protect my gift against financial malfeasance?
As a not-for-profit faith-based organization founded on Gospel values and the principles of Catholicism, we consider our relationship with those whom support us to be a “sacred trust.” To learn more, visit our Policy Statement to our Benefactors.
Can I give to the Columban Fathers through a payroll deduction at my place of employment?
In some cases, employers allow payroll-deduction donations to encourage employees’ philanthropic efforts. We will work with your employer to facilitate this. E-mail us through our Contact Us page, and let us know what your company requires.
Will my employer match my gift to the Columban Fathers?
Some companies match gifts their employees make to qualifying organizations. We encourage you to contact your human resources department and ask if your employer has a matching gift program. We are happy to provide any information and to fill out your company’s matching gift form to become qualified.
Can I give to the Columban Fathers through my local community foundation?
Yes, simply contact your local community foundation stating that you want to make a donor-designated gift or grant from your fund. They may have paperwork for both you and the Society to complete. We are happy to offer assistance and help facilitate this process in your community.
You may be asked to provide our contact information, which can be found at our Contact Us page.
Can I give to the Columban Fathers through my Charitable Gift Fund?
More and more of our benefactors are using a Charitable Gift Fund (also called a Charitable Endowment Fund) to administer their giving to charities. The advantages are numerous, but among the most favorable is the immediate tax benefit that is derived by investing in a Charitable Gift Fund.
Most investment and brokerage firms have such funds, including Fidelity Investments, T. Rowe Price, Schwab and Vanguard. If you are considering a gift to the Missionary Society of St. Columban from your Charitable Gift Fund or need help establishing one, we encourage you to contact your investment counsel.
We are happy to assist you in qualifying our organization to receive your gift.
Can I arrange for my donation to be made to the Columban Fathers automatically?
Many faithful benefactors like the convenience of using our Automatic Debit Agreement to make regular contributions. We can arrange for your donation to be made directly from your checking account or charged to your credit card.
E-mail us through our Contact Us page, and let us know if you want to receive your information by postal mail or e-mail.
Can I send my gift directly to the missions?
To protect the tax deductibility of your gift, we ask you to send your donation the U.S. Region Office and not to the missions or our missionaries directly. Where Columban missions are located, security is often an issue when sending funds by postal mail and courier services. Since we conduct nearly every transfer of funds to the missions through secure inter-bank transfers, problems are rare.
I recently received a free gift (note cards, address labels, prayer card, etc.) in the mail from the Columbans. How do I request more?
Most of these low-cost products are intended to be thank-you gifts given in gratitude to our faithful benefactors.
Therefore, we do not sell these products and ask only that you make an offering sufficient to cover the cost of mailing with funds left over to support our mission work and programs.
Contact Donor Services through our Contact Us page by e-mail or by calling us toll-free at 877/299-1920 if you want a supply of these items.
I recently received a free gift (note cards, address labels, prayer card, etc.) in the mail from the Columbans. Can you stop sending them?
Contact Donor Services through our Contact Us page by e-mail or by calling us toll-free at 877/299-1920. Let us know your preference, and we will ensure that you will not receive these promotional items.
We include such items as calendars, devotional materials, note cards and address labels because they are popular with our benefactors.
How do I remove my name or a loved one’s name from your donor contact list?
To ensure we properly remove your name from our files, be sure to provide your entire name (and all variations of it) along with your complete address by contacting Donor Services by e-mail through our Contact Us page. We will promptly honor your request to be removed from our list.
Unless you request otherwise, you will receive a confirmation that states we fulfilled your request. Or you can call our Mission Office toll-free at 877/299-1920, Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Central Time.
I (or a loved one) am getting too much mail from organizations soliciting us for donations. Is there anything I can do?
Most reputable organizations, such as the Columban Fathers, do not want to be a burden or annoy you with unwanted mail. Most organizations, including the Columban Fathers, use the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service. Just go to https://www.dmachoice.org/dma/member/regist.action to register.
As a donor to Columban Fathers, do you sell, rent or exchange my name with any other organizations?
Absolutely not! Because we consider our donor relationships to be founded on trust, we go to great lengths to honor it. That means we will not sell, rent, trade or exchange your name with any other organization.
Please visit our Policy Statement to our Benefactors to learn more about our commitment to our donors.
I have asked before to be removed from your contact list, but still keep getting mail from the Columbans. What’s going on?
We always try to honor your request, but we occasionally make mistakes. To ensure we properly remove your name from our list, provide your entire name (and all variations of it) along with your complete address.
If you receive an unwanted mailing from us, give us the information exactly as it reads on the mail piece. Without complete information, we are left to guess, and that can result in less-than-desirable results.
Do you file an IRS Form 990 or do you publish an Annual Report of your finances?
We are exempt from filing an IRS Form 990. However, we do prepare an Annual Financial Report for Benefactors who want to take a closer look at finances of the Missionary Society of St. Columban.
I’m related to a Columban/know a Columban/went to school with a Columban(s) and want to connect with him/her. How do I communicate with them?
You can submit an inquiry to our Mission Office through our Contact Us page, and we’ll do our best to connect you to the Columban missionary you know.
I’ll be traveling to a country where there are Columbans and/or Columban missions. Can I visit to see first-hand how my donation was used?
If you are planning a trip to a country where we have missions and want to visit, please let us know. We will let Columban missionaries there know your itinerary.
Because Columbans are actively serving their people in the missions, we cannot promise the availability or guarantee access to anyone, particularly if you have any special requests. We will do our best to help you make connections.
Please be aware that Columban missionaries work with the poor and marginalized in areas where personal conveniences are scarce and in conditions that many of us would find uncomfortable.
I want to know more about the projects and mission countries I’ve read about. How can I get updates?
You can find out about current projects we want to fund by reading about our current appeal. Also, you can visit our online archive of articles that have appeared in Columban Mission magazine.
You also can request Columban Mission for a minimum donation of just $10 a year.
How do I enroll a loved one, friend or family member(s) as an Associate or Perpetual Member of the Missionary Society of St. Columban? And what are the benefits?
To learn how to enroll someone as a member of the Society, visit our Enrollments page.
What is a Mass Trust, and how can I get more information on the Columban Mass Trust?
To learn how to obtain a Mass Trust from the Society, visit our Mass Trusts page.
How do I have a Mass said for a loved one, friend or family member?
To learn how to have Mass(es) said, visit our Mass Requests page.
Do you offer Gregorian Masses?
The Society is not able to offer Gregorian Masses to our benefactors. Because nearly all of our Columban priests are actively serving God’s people, we have found the Gregorian Mass obligation too difficult to fulfill.
In recognition of the heavy responsibilities of Columban priests to their parishes and congregations, we no longer accept offerings for Gregorian Masses.