Christmas Appeal 2018

2nd December 2018 - by Stephen Awre

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Fr. Peter Hughes, Columban Director in Britain, draws inspiration from the recent canonisation of Oscar Romero for his Christmas message to the whole Columban family. 

As our centenary year draws to a close, we give special thanks for your kind and generous support to Columban mission, which makes it possible for those called to be Columban missionaries to cross boundaries and to share Gospel joy with all God’s people.

Donate to our 2018 Christmas Appeal

Dear Columban Friend,

“We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.” ¹
Holy Family

Soon we will celebrate the season of Christmas, a special time of joy, hope and peace for you and your family. Before we get to Christmas Day, however, there is much to do! At least, this is how it often feels.

So, these words from the ‘Romero Prayer’¹, associated with Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was canonised in October and is an inspiration to many for his defence of the poor in El Salvador, are a helpful reminder of how much we depend upon God and how wonderful it is to have God with us – Immanuel – as we walk the path he has called us to follow.

In our longing for a more just and peaceful world, we have occasionally fallen in to the trap of believing we can ‘do everything’. We are liberated from this illusion, and become more aware of our limitations, when we walk side by side with the poor and the marginalised and experience the Lord’s grace as never before. Only then are we free to ‘do something, and do it very well’, trusting that God will bring to completion the work we have begun, through the hands and feet of other people called to missionary action.

Mission requires teamwork and during our centenary year celebrations in 2018, it has been a delight to witness around the world the communion of Columban priests, lay missionaries, associate priests, lay co-workers, Columban Sisters, mission partners, companions and benefactors, united in thanksgiving, each person called to take ‘a step along the way’ towards revealing the Kingdom of God to all. As the year draws to a close, I wish to thank you more than ever for your kind prayers, encouraging messages and generous financial support.

In 2018, we received a warm welcome from many of you in the dioceses of Middlesbrough, Northampton and Nottingham, as well as various deaneries in Scotland, where we have been visiting parishes to give the annual Mission Appeal. We greatly appreciate your generous response.

In 2019, we will visit parishes in the Archdiocese of Birmingham and look forward to this new opportunity to share our experience of mission in today’s world.

At the heart of Columban mission is sharing Gospel joy. The humble birth of the infant Jesus is the source of this joy and Pope Francis calls us to “a new chapter of evangelisation marked by this joy” ².

We pray that you and your family may share Gospel joy this Christmas.

Yours in the peace of Christ,
Fr. Peter Hughes SSC
Columban Director in Britain

¹ The ‘Romero Prayer’ became associated with Archbishop Oscar Romero after his assassination in 1980, but this prayer-poem was composed by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, USA, in November 1979. Both men shared a passion for social justice. The full text of the prayer is printed here.

² Evangelii Gaudium