As part of the on-going formation and education of Columban lay missionaries, I was privileged to take a six-month course on facilitating retreats for young people. The course has given me an in-depth understanding on the psyche and culture of young people in this modern time.
It was a great joy for me to be invited, two years ago, to return to Santiago, Chile, to celebrate 40 years of the Columban Sisters' mission in that beautiful country.
O God, on this day,
dedicated through long centuries to the honoring of Mary,
Mother of Your Divine Son,
look down upon us Your children gathered here,
and upon the millions of others
who are also assembling in unnumbered other places throughout America,
to pray for the people of Russia
As a teenager I browsed whatever reading materials were left around my home: Sunday newspapers that my father enjoyed; novels that my older brother and sisters considered worthwhile; and religious magazines that my mother read at the end of her busy days. These materials expanded the horizons of my world and beckoned me to explore the strange but fascinating world that adults inhabited.
Stories about missionaries in far-off lands that I occasionally read in the religious magazines were uniquely fascinating. They awakened in me a sense of awe and adventure. Whatever the circumstances, missionaries everywhere …
Fifty years ago I was pastor of an "old Christian" community on Amakusa Island in the far south of Japan. By "old Christian" I mean that a Jesuit missionary, Fr. Luis Almeida, founded the parish in 1566. Then the Tokugawa daimyo government expelled or executed all missionaries.
O God, Who has given us a royal priesthood, we beseech You,
that as Blessed Joseph was found worthy
to touch with his hands,
and to bear in his arms,
Your only-begotten Son,
born of the Virgin Mary,
so may we be made fit,
by cleanness of heart and blamelessness of life,
to minister at Your holy altar; may we, this day,
O most blessed Virgin Mary,
mother most loving and most merciful,
I, a miserable and unworthy sinner come before you,
with the heartfelt prayer,
that of your loving kindness
you would grant graciously to be near me
and all who throughout the whole Church
are to receive the body and blood of your Son this day,
Mindful then, O Lord,
of Your worshipful Passion,
I approach Your Altar,
sinner though I am,
to join in the offering to You
that Sacrifice which You have instituted
to be offered in remembrance of You for our well-being.
Receive it, I ask You,
O God most High,
for Your holy Church,
In 1982, a Columban General Assembly of representatives from all countries where Columbans lived and ministered, discussed the need for new missions for the Society.
For You have mercy upon all, O Lord,
and hate nothing that You have made.
Remember how frail our nature is,
and that You are our Father and our God.
Do not be angry with us forever,
and do not shut Your tender mercies in displeasure.
For it is not for our just works
that we present our prayers before Your face,