I arrived in Fiji as a Columban lay missionary in August 2017. Once in Fiji, I studied the language for three months. Studying a new language for the first time in my whole life was not an easy task for me! I’m so thankful that with Gods’ providence, I was able to manage and survive it!
Being a stranger in a foreign land wasn’t always easy, in terms of learning and adopting not only the language and local dialect but also the culture.
Losana Ve'ehala of Tonga passed away unexpectedly at the Columban lay missionary house in Suva, Fiji, on Sunday, December 10, 2017. Tongan Fr. Taukei, in his homily at the house, asked us "Why did she die in Suva, why did she die with the Columbans?"
Fr. Donal McIlraithJuly 16, 2018
It was a personal joy for me to attend the ordination of Pat Roland Visanti in Suva on St. Columban's Day 2017. It coincided with the opening of the Society's Centennial Year.
Fr. Donal McIlraithJuly 10, 2018
It all started about three months ago when catechist Timoci Matakiviwa turned up on our doorstep offering to compose a Centennial Meke for us. The Meke is the traditional Fijian dance. Columban Frs.
Pat Visanti was born and raised a Methodist on the island of Rotuma. Rotuma is both an island and a nation. It is about 400 miles north of Fiji and, even though ethnically and linguistically different from Fiji, was made part of Fiji during the colonial period.
Fr. Donal McIlraithJune 4, 2018
Veidrala village lies on the Northen coast of Nakorotubu in Ra, Fiji. The village had 85 houses before cyclone Winston and the deadly storm damaged 80 and left only five where the villagers took shelter.
Josfa VasakulaApril 2, 2018
An excerpt from Columan Fr. Frank Hoare’s diary dated April 14, 1978
We Columbans will celebrate our centenary from November 2017 to November 2018. This reflects the fact that we were canonically recognized as a missionary Society by Bishop O'Dea of Galway, Ireland, on June 29, 1918, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.
Fr. Donal McIlraithFebruary 25, 2018
My most vivid memory of 30 years in Fiji is that of drifting at sea in a storm. It was January 2003, and Cyclone Ami had done great damage in the north. I was taking food to the island of Rabi. Fr.
Fr. Donal McIlraithFebruary 24, 2018
I did a funeral in a small village near Dogoru a few months ago. The villagers very generously offered me some mats, dalo (an edible root similar to taro) and a live piglet. The mats could be sold for the parish and the priests and sisters could eat the dalo but what to do with the piglet?
This evening, I had a good chat with Sukh Deo as we drank yaqona together. Sukh Deo is Hindu, but his wife and children are Catholic. They live in an interior settlement, far from town.
Fr. Frank HoareNovember 15, 2017
Columban Fr. Frank Hoare shared this page from his missionary diary:
April 16, 1992
Fr. Frank HoareOctober 30, 2017
Before sharing some memories of my experience as a lay missionary, I would like to thank the Columban Fathers for giving me the opportunity to live one of the greatest life experiences I have ever had.
By Judith CondorOctober 16, 2017