Then a young priest, I was appointed in 1975 to the islands of Kadavu, Fiji, which is about 60 miles from the capital of Suva. Over the years, Kadavu had not been well served. There were not enough priests, and so parishioners were visited only once in a while.
The catechumenate is the period of preparation for baptism that adults go through. The Catholic Church reinstated the catechumenate or Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) after the second Vatican Council.
One of the many joys of being a Columban lay missionary is the joy of entering into a new culture and sharing my faith and experience with the people, while at the same time learning so much more from them in return.
Danger at Sea
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