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50 Years

Fr. Frank McKay celebrates 50 years as a Columban priest

By Fr. Frank McKay

Fifty years seems like a long time when you are young. I remember many years ago attending one Columban priest’s 50th anniversary celebration at which he said, “Half my class is dead and the other half is half-dead.” We laughed but I thought, “Wow! 50 years is a really long time.”  And come to think about it, planes had not year been invented 50 years before I was born! But having reached that milestone, 50 years does not seem that long – it seems more like 30 years. I have had a really wonderful life in Japan over the last 50 years. Wonderful literally – filled with wonder. I have seen God bless so many people, give them hope, healing, freedom and joy.

Columban Fr. Frank McKay worked on mission in JapanI remember when I was in the seminary, we discussed the purpose of the missionary priesthood. At the Second Vatican Council the Church affirmed that “God does not deny the help necessary for salvation to those who strive to live a good life.” (LG 16) After that some began to wonder why send missionary priests at all if everyone can be saved. Of course, to get into heaven everyone has firstly to receive the Holy Spirit and have all their sins forgiven whether it is in this life or in the next and you can receive those two graces only through Jesus, “No one can come to the Father except through me.” (JN 14:6) But salvation is not just about getting into Heaven: salvation is for this world too!

God wants to save us totally, body, soul and spirit. He wants to heal our sicknesses, our hurts, the places where we are not free.  God wants to heal all our relationships: our relationship with Him, with others and with ourselves. He wants to save us from fear, fear of God, fear of others, fear of death. He wants to save us from anxiety and worry (MT 6:25-34). He wants to save us from divisions, hatred, resentment, jealousy intolerance, unforgiveness. And He wants to save us from our self-dislike, save us from our compulsions, attachments, impatience, selfishness, etc.

I have been very blessed to experience God’s love for me and God’s love for others through me. When people experience how much God loves them, Their whole world changes. I see that as part of my mission in Japan – helping people experience God’s love. As people change, those around them change and the environment too changes. For me, this is the Good News.


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