One of the many joys of being a Columban lay missionary is the joy of entering into a new culture and sharing my faith and experience with the people, while at the same time learning so much more from them in return.
“Why did you choose to join the Columban missionaries and not some other missionary organization?” is a question that I’m often asked. My simple response is, “A letter from God!,” which generally leads to the other person becoming even more inquisitive.
Columban Fr. Michael Doohan is not a member of the English rock group! The Columban missionary set up a school for mechanics which has provided scores of young men on Negros Island, Philippines, with a livelihood. He shares his story in his words.
The city of Wuhan where I live is always changing. We can see new public slogans almost every day. Jobs and government policies change very frequently, and buildings are been constantly knocked down and replaced by new ones. Even the weather in Wuhan is always changing fast.
Na yacamu? Na yacaqu, O Jinky mai, Philippines. What is your name? This is the common question I used to hear and the common answer I used to say every time I meet people in the village of Navatuyaba, Toga, in Rewa province Fiji where I am having my exposure for language and culture.
Since I was appointed to mission in China I have been constantly asked what kind of ministry I have been involved in given that mission activity is banned in China. Due to a number of restrictions placed on foreign missionaries, I cannot be involved in parish ministry.
In the Gospel we hear how Jesus performed a miracle by saying to the paralyzed man, “Rise up and walk!” Today He continues to work the same miracle, maybe not directly, but through the intervention of people like us.
A good friend of mine, a religious Sister, served on the missions in Ethiopia during a terrible famine there. A year or two later she found herself back in the United States speaking to various groups, sometimes to Catholic schoolchildren, about her mission experience.
I responded to my baptismal call to become a lay missionary with the Columbans in 2017. I can still remember how my heart was pounding with joy as I signed my agreement even though I was aware that there would be uncertainties on the road ahead as I embarked on my mission journey to Fiji.