The Baby Got a Home

When I joined the Columban Lay Missionary orientation program in 2002, I knew that my decision entailed a lot of letting go. I knew that there will be special occasions at home that I would miss. This includes one of the most important gatherings, a time to be home, a time with family during Christmas. Since 2003, I have only spent two Christmases with my family: 2009 and 2016. Sadly, 2009 was my mom's last Christmas before she passed away.

Christ has a home in my heart

Filipino Christmas

For millions of Filipinos, Christmas is a celebration of the family. They come together from around the world; they delight in the togetherness and sharing of respect. They honor the aged, bless the children, and feed the hungry. They fill the churches with light, song and festival, and they have joyful celebrations. They recall the story of that astounding child who became the greatest person to influence the history of the human race for the good.

Christmas Day Is for Children

I am standing in the center of the spacious main hall, the atrium, of the new Preda children's home for girls. The light from the transparent roof throws its soft and gentle light on the children playing nosily, shouting in glee. They are happy, running about, playing games, and laughing, cheerful and joyful. They had a sumptuous Christmas dinner and gifts and new clothes. They are the lucky ones to have found refuge and protection and a chance to start their childhood over.

Christmas is happy and joyful for those saved and healed

Mission Memories

They come at evening, scenes from far away, The bitter-sweet of absence and of love, When memory opens her halls of yesterday, And draws her shuttered curtains from above.

Taken from the poem Mission Memories by Columban Fr. John McFadden (1894 – 1978), these lines capture his bittersweet mood as he prepares to celebrate Christmas back home in the U.S. after many years in foreign mission lands. During the long December evenings, memories of Christmas celebrations in those far away places flood his heart, bringing joy and sadness, tears and smiles.

As Christmas approaches, many people have similar experiences. At unexpected moments, memories of a childhood Christmas gift

In So Many Words

I was reading a Biblical reflection when word came that my niece's baby had just been born. The author of the reflection pointed out that the first sound we hear in the Bible is God breathing in the darkness. My thoughts wandered to my niece's baby breathing in the darkness for nine months. Gradually I came to realize that both mysteries are related.

In So Many Words

My Brother, Fr. Lynn

Fr. Lynn's classmates, Columbans Sean O'Connor and Don Hornsey remember Fr. Lynn as an outstanding sportsman, singer and musician. In Santiago he is not buried in the Columban mausoleum but in a local cemetery, lovingly cared for by his parishioners and ever close to them.

Remembering a fellow Columban
Fr. Lynn's ordination in Perth, Australia


Today I officiated the wedding of my sister Karen, who is a talented nurse, to her forever Dodo, who is who is a mechanical engineer. In all the eight years they were together before the wedding, I only met the groom on the day of their wedding! I told him that I would listen to his confession before the wedding. The day was filled with love from both families. Marriage in the Philippines does not just bring two individuals, but two families are brought together.

Fr. Kurt Zion Pala with his sister and her husband
Fr. Kurt Zion Pala officiates his sister's wedding
Fr. Kurt Zion Pala with his mother, sister and her husband

The Chinese Flood of 1931

In 1932, the Yangste and Han rivers overflowed and flooded vast areas in China. The members of the Missionary Society of St. Columban in Hanyang, China, together with the others, tried to come to the aid of the thousands of people in Hanyang affected by the Great Flood.

St. Columbans G.H.Q. was flooded
Extensive flooding
Black Hill Boats with refugees arriving
Columbans' entrance was covered in 12 feet of water
Columban Sisters in Hanyang providing flood relief
Flooded houses in Hanyang with people leaving in boats
Flooded houses
Another view of flood in Ko Jabzae Parish
On the edge of the Yangtse River showing one of the many evacuated mat houses
Our house in Hanyang, looking at our front garden under 12 feet of water
Flooding covers all but the roof of a mat house
Servant's house at St. Columbans
A small camp of improvised mat shacks after the flood
Flooded street in Hanyang
Homes in the trees after the flood

An Excerpt from a Fiji Diary

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. He is always pleased when a priest visits the family, and he sits respectfully and meditatively during the prayers. As we chatted about old times, he was reminded of an unusual cure that took place in his village when he was a boy.

Fiji Diary


About us

Columban logoThe Columbans are a society of missionaries, including priests and lay people, who minister to people of various cultures as a way of witnessing to the universal love of God.

We go in the name of the Church to announce, by deed and word, the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Quick Contact

Missionary Society of St. Columban
P.O. Box 10
St, Columbans, NE 68056
Phone: 877-299-1920
Fax: 402-291-4984