The closing of the Columban centennial in Myanmar was held in Myitkyina where Columbans worked for decades until 1979 before being expelled by the military government. Thousands of Kachin people came mostly on foot for the closing Mass [which lasted almost three hours with liturgical dance], for their traditional Manaw dance [two hours] and for the open air concert at night.
The vast majority of Filipinos love their children, they care for them, pamper and spoil them at times. They do everything to protect them and educate them, meet their needs and launch them on a career. There it seems to end for many. Love and care for children in general is not projected outside the extended family of the well off.
For the gift of this New Year, we say "Thank You." God has already blessed us. He continues to bless us as we go forward, letting go of the past, trusting His Spirit with us, guiding us each new day. In a world that is often frightening, a world of broken relationships, of vanishing signposts, of violence and pain, who can we trust? To whom can we turn?
As we prepare for a new century of mission to the world, we recall what inspired the early Columban pioneers and what they achieved, reflect on how their successors responded to the monumental changes in church and society since then and thank, or tried to thank, the hundreds of thousands of people whose sacrifices over the first one hundred years made it all possible.
O God, who has given Your blessed Apostle Peter
the keys to the kingdom of heaven,
and the power to bind and loose:
grant that we may be delivered,
through the help of this intercession,
from the slavery of all our sins:
Who lives and reigns world without end.
O God, Who raised up Saint John, Your Confessor,
to be the father and the teacher of the youth,
and Who by him,
with the help of the Virgin Mary,
promoted new families in You Church:
grant, we beseech You,
that inflamed by the same fire of love,
we may win souls and serve You alone.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, You Son,
O Mary, look upon us who are your children,
look upon us who are brothers and sisters,
disciples and apostles and continuation of Jesus.
Make us aware of our vocation and our mission;
may we not be unworthy to take on,
in our priesthood,
in our word,
in the offering of our life
for the faithful entrusted to us,
I have broken out of my prison
but I am still not free.
I have been comforted in weakness
yet I have too little strength.
I have experienced the warmth and depth of human friendship
but I am not fulfilled.
I seek, I give, I possess
and yet I yearn -
It is You I seek, O Lord,
my unlosable friend forever.
In my past ministry which was in Ireland, I had on numerous occasions listened to migrant workers share their stories. Some were wonderful and inspiring but sadly some were not so happy. I have witnessed some of their successes and some their failures. One thing that is most important and is truly close to their hearts is their families back home.
Come, Holy Spirit, Divine Creator,
true source of light and fountain of wisdom!
Pour forth your brilliance upon my dense intellect,
dissipate the darkness which covers me,
that of sin and of ignorance.
Grant me a penetrating mind to understand,
a retentive memory,
method and ease in learning,
the lucidity to comprehend,