In mid-January 2018, I spent a few days with our Columban missionaries in the parish of Badin, Pakistan, before attending a meeting of our Columban missionaries living and working in Pakistan. Badin is in the interior Sindh Province and is served by Columban Frs. Tony Cavanagh and Dan O'Connor. The Sunday liturgy reminded me much of Masses I myself said over many years in Fiji.
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. When Pat was twelve, his mother along with Pat and his brother and sister joined their father as Catholics. Pat finished his schooling in Suva, Fiji, and then joined the bank.
I have come that you may have life and have it in abundance. (John 10-10)
In the old world of European empires the mission of the church traveled with the expansive energy as it did previously in the age of trade routes and great migrations by land and sea. Today we live in a de-territorialized world of nation states each having its local church commissioned to be witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Life begins at forty! That's what Fr. Tony Coney was about to discover as his plane touched down in Lima. As a newly ordained Columban priest he had said goodbye to his family and friends in Ireland and had traveled to Peru to begin his mission there on his fortieth birthday.
As a dedicated altar boy, this was a way of life Tony might have imagined for himself when he was ten years old, but by the time he had turned twenty, it no longer seemed even a remote possibility. By then, he had given up all religious practice, had no regular employment due to his failure to complete his …
When I was growing up, I really didn't like reciting the Holy Rosary. I remember the elders in our barangay (a small village in the Philippines) would visit our house every year in May when it was our family's turn to welcome the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in our home to commemorate the Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May celebration).
Why visit the prisoners? It seems that it would be a fearful activity to engage in. Columban Sister Joan Sawyer bravely looked that fear in the face and visited prisoners. Eventually, she lost her life in an uprising in a Peruvian prison. May her courageous life inspire many others to follow her example.
In 2012, while I was working in a parish among the aboriginal people called Atayal in the mountains of Taiwan, we organized a pilgrimage to the northern Philippines (where I am originally from) as part of the celebration of the parish's 50th foundation anniversary. Forty parishioners joined the pilgrimage, and we went to visit popular tourist and religious spots in that part of the country for five days. There was so much excitement among the parishioners about this trip.
What was the first thing you did when you entered the church today? I assume you dipped your finger in the holy water and made the sign of the cross. Making the sign of the cross affirms our faith in the Most Holy Trinity. We say all together in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. But sadly, many of us can admit that we know so little of the Holy Spirit. Can you remember what are some of the images of the Holy Spirit that are depicted in the Bible?
I live and work in a mountainous area of Taiwan with aboriginal people. The majority of them are pomegranate and orange farmers who also cultivate a variety vegetables which they sell. Although husband and wife share in the work involved, it is the woman who does most in contributing to their livelihood. I think this is because from ancient times, the aboriginal man engaged himself mostly in hunting and appears to have seldom contributed to work on the land or in the home.
This year, as Columban missionaries look back on one hundred years of mission, we recall with gratitude our accomplishments in various distant lands. However, this centennial year also reminds us to recognize those who have who have played a major role in our mission story close to home. One of those dedicated missionaries here in the U.S. is Sr. Corona Colleary, a member of the Missionary Sisters of St. Columban.
Almost 50 years ago, Sr. Corona was a key person on a team that oversaw the transformation of a disused seminary in Silver Creek, New York, into a modern and beautiful retirement home, St. Columban's on the Lake. Since then she has dedicated her life to ensuring that this Home is …