From the Director
As the Columban Centennial Year draws to a close, and as we prepare to embark on a new century of mission, I am reminded of how the Catholic Church engaged a significant milestone in its history—the transition from the second to the third millennium—and turned it into an opportunity for conversion in order to rededicate itself to God's mission.
Back in the year 2000, the Pope at that time, John Paul II, made a public confession on behalf of the Catholic Church for its failures during the course of two thousand years. During Mass in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, he acknowledged various mistakes and humbly asked forgiveness for the hurt or harm that people had suffered as a result of the Church's infidelity to its mission. In doing so, Pope John Paul II wished to cleanse the Church so that it would go forth into the new millennium with a heart renewed by God's mercy and the forgiveness of those it had wounded.
My prayer is that, through sincere contrition for our own faults, Columban missionaries can go into a new century of mission, and into a broken and divided world, with a deeper awareness of God’s mercy for ourselves and for others.
With this public act of contrition, Pope John Paul II opened the way for every organization within the Catholic Church to admit its failures, receive mercy and forgiveness, and then go forth into the future and into the world with a greater reliance on God.
Therefore, as Columban missionaries look back on our history, and prepare for a new century of mission, we humbly ask pardon of God, of our friends and supporters, as well as of anyone whom we have harmed in any way. We ask forgiveness for those times that we have failed to be faithful witnesses to God's love in the world, as well as for those occasions when we have disrespected or hurt other people. We are sorry for those times that we did not put our resources or our talents at the service of God's mission. For our failure in so many ways to be messengers of the Good News in various places, we ask mercy from God, forgiveness from those who have supported us, and pardon from those we have injured or neglected.
Jesus reminds us that it is only by acknowledging our own failures and seeking forgiveness that we can become true messengers of God's unconditional love for others: "The one who has been forgiven little, loves little."(Lk 7:47) My prayer is that, through sincere contrition for our own faults, Columban missionaries can go into a new century of mission, and into a broken and divided world, with a deeper awareness of God's mercy for ourselves and for others. Then, we will become truly capable of witnessing to our Centennial Year motto, "Sharing Gospel Joy."