I have many aspirations in life. Some of them I have already achieved. I am happy every time I achieve a goal. But every time I achieved something, I felt there was still something missing. I was searching until I became a Columban lay missionary. Here, I recognized what I was missing – a sense of belonging.
Milly Hampson is eleven years old. She lives with her parents Darren and Beatriz in a tower block of flats overlooking the River Mersey in a rather unfashionable part of Stockport, Greater Manchester (UK) called Lancashire Hill.
I have known her parents for over twenty years and celebrated their wedding. Stockport is my home town. Beatriz is Peruvian, and at the time of their marriage she was living in a Columban parish in Lima very near my own.
This spring a pair of great horned owls took over a large nest in a tree not too far from the Narragansett Bay shoreline. As one would expect before too long little owls could be seen safely peeking from the nest high in a tall evergreen. Of course owls are not meant to spend their lives in a nest; they are, as the saying goes, “born to fly.” Even so, flying is an acquired skill and takes some practice.
For more than a year I spent most of my time visiting the elderly. I would say that meeting the different types of elderly is interesting and enjoyable, but needs a lot of energy, and a peaceful mind and heart to be able to listen to them.
Due to their age and physical condition many can no longer walk far. Most of them just stay in their houses and spend time watching television. There was a time I caught an elderly person drinking makgeolli (rice wine) just to ease her loneliness. Some of them spend time sitting near the window waiting for the daylight to fade.
The summer mission appeals starts in June and finish by the end of August. In 2016, I felt so blessed that everyone was so accommodating and flexible in terms of the parish visiting schedule.
By Columban Fr. Shay Cullen
Rosi, in the photograph, was a six-year old child detained in the police detention cell of Police Station B on Magsaysay Drive in Olongapo City, the Philippines, some years ago. More like her will be jailed if the minimum age of criminal liability will be lowered to nine or 12 years old.
St. Anthony is a favorite saint of South Indian Catholics. Today I celebrated his feast with the mainly Indo-Fijian congregation at Raviravi, a rural settlement on Fiji’s main island. A South Indian Catholic, known as Tambi, had built a small thatched church in his honor. Later in the 1960s Fr. John Mahoney, a Columban from the U.S., had the present church constructed. St. Anthony’s feast is the high point of the Church year in Raviravi.
Life is for living. It is to experience freedom to love and help others, to be free to grow and have family. To be human is to be free from fear and punishment and ill health, poverty and hunger. Living is to be free to think, to speak our thoughts and freely choose the good. To be alive is to have justice and dignity and the fullness of existence. To be able say I am alive and I know that I am is to be aware of life. But millions are deprived of these basic values of human life. The death penalty is just another way to deprive people of life itself.