The Vincentian Fathers of France had maintained a mission presence in China for many years. By 1928, the Columbans had established and made a name for themselves in China, and the Society was growing.
The Vincentians and the Holy See saw an opportunity to hand off some of their territory to the Columbans, while the Vincentians focused on other regions of China.
In January 1928, Bishop Edward Galvin, accompanied by Columban Father John McGrath, traveled to Kiangsi Province to meet with Vincentian Bishop Louis Jean Clerc-Renaud of the Vicariate of Yukiang.
Bishop Renaud agreed to transfer a portion of the Vincentian territory in his vicariate to the Columbans; specifically, a portion of territory known as Kienchang, also known as Nancheng, which at the time had a population of around one million.
In May 1928, 10 Columbans, led by Father Cornelius Tierney, arrived to begin their work in Nancheng.
Less than three years later, unfortunately, Father Tierney would become a martyr in this new Columban territory. His death would not be in vain; the Columbans were expanding their presence in China and continuing the mission.