I call this article “men of the road” because in all my years in Japan, only one woman came to me looking for a handout. I was once advised to refuse all such requests for three months after I went into a new parish, or I would end up with an endless stream of petitioners asking for money.
The Paris Foreign Mission Society handed over pastoral responsibility for Jeju Island to the Columban Fathers in 1933. At that time it had two small parishes, one in the north and one in the south of the island.
Over the course of nearly 100 years, Columban missionaries have been caught up in major wars and insurrections in the countries where we live and serve. Columbans and other missionaries have grappled with the question to go or stay in times of crisis.
St. Columban, a great Irish missionary monk, died in 615 A.D. in Bobbio, Italy. Columban missionaries (who have St. Columban as their patron) have worked in Fiji since 1952.
A few years ago my priest companion in the Columban international seminary in Chicago, Fr. Leo Distor, and I were invited to join a pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. Columban.
Thinking back on my life in South Korea, there was the humdrum of daily living along with surprises and the excitement that went with being part of new things happening and those challenges.
I just came from town for a visit with an Indian family and sat down on the very comfortable chair in the mission house.
It would be a disservice to truth for me not to acknowledge that there have been and are serious challenges for religious and civil society in China from sections of the State as well as the ever increasing lures of consumerism.
Since childhood I have been fascinated with geography. At times I would build different islands and mountains on the seashore and imagined myself at the top of them. It was a lifelong dream for me to travel from one place to another, but being in Peru was far beyond my imagination.
On a September morning in 2014, I arrived in Iquique in northern Chile on a flight from Santiago. I was coming to visit the Korean Associates who work with the Columbans in a parish in the new city of Alto Hospicio which has formed in the hills above Iquique.