Fr. Kevin O’Neill, Superior General of the Columban Fathers and Fr. Patrick Colgan, member of the General Council, attended a meeting of leaders of Society of Apostolic Life Missionaries from April 6 – 9. Forty-three participants from five continents reflected on the impact of Pope Francis’ Evangelium Gaudium and Laudato Si in their ministries.
Fr. Kevin mentioned:
“The hospitality and generosity of the Guadalupe Missionaries, priests and seminarians, and the staff at their seminary where the meeting of leaders took place has been a rich blessing. The warmth and friendliness of the Mexican people is a real witness of God’s love for all peoples. I was inspired by the many people, particularly the youth, young adults and families, visiting the churches and spending time in quiet prayer, this was most evident at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. At the Shrine special help is afforded those in need, especially those living with different kinds of addictions. Like our own Columban missionaries who accompany the poor on the Mexican-US border, a number of the other Missionary Societies also have priests and lay missionaries working in difficult and sometimes violent areas in Mexico and other parts of the world. It was a moment of solidarity as we shared stories about the lives of our fellow missionaries. The rich faith and warmth of the Mexican people will remain implanted in my heart!”
Fr. Pat Colgan commented that it was a rich sharing, along with trips to the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and also the Aztec Pyramids of Teotihuacan. He said:
“I have been touched by the deep welcome of the Guadalupe Missionaries to us, their sincere repetition of the phrase “mi casa es tu casa” and the faith of the people we have seen at the churches and shrines. We also experienced traces of the suffering Christ. A bishop of a small diocese near Mexico City shared with me, while serving us food at his own house that over 100 people have met violent in his diocese, gang related deaths this year alone, while authorities and police do little to protect priests whose houses and cars were burned out.”