Christmas Appeal

26th November 2013 - by Stephen Awre

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‘At Christmas we celebrate with joy the fact that God shared a most precious gift with us. This is what prompts us to share with those who are most needy, but we are also enriched by the lives of the people to whom we are sent.’

Fr. Tom O’Reilly, Director of the British Region, sends the following Christmas letter to all our supporters and benefactors, in which he celebrates the mutual sharing and exchange that lies at the heart of Columban mission.  There are many stories that illustrate this and we will be sharing some of these over the coming days and weeks.

We are very grateful indeed for the overwhelming generosity of our benefactors in Britain.  You sustain us in our missionary task and bring people of faith together.  Please support our Christmas Appeal.

Dear Columban Friend,

“Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.”
2 Corinthians 8:9

On Christmas Day 1978, I was in a small remote village in Fiji where a Columban missionary was coming to the end of his term as parish priest.  The people wanted to show their appreciation for his years of service among them.  Having slaughtered an animal, they presented him with a huge quantity of meat cut into small portions.  I whispered to him that if he had a deep freezer he could feed himself for a year!  He replied that according to the culture, after he has gratefully accepted the people’s gift to him, he is expected to hand out a portion of meat to each family in the village as his parting gift to them.  I thought it was a great example of the mutual sharing which is part of the Christmas spirit.

At Christmas we celebrate with joy the fact that God shared a most precious gift with us.  God gave us an only Son to bring about a ‘holy exchange’ between God and humanity.  In the Christmas Mass we pray ‘that we may share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity’.  This is the real foundation and model of the mutual sharing at Christmas.  This is what also prompts us to share with those who are most needy.

Columban cross-cultural mission is about mutual sharing and exchange.  We go to peoples of other cultures and religions to share our experience of the Good News of Jesus Christ.  But we are also enriched by the lives of the people to whom we are sent.  Missionaries often say that they receive more than they give.  And we are often deeply gifted by those who seem to have nothing to give.  The poor have taught us a lot about the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Through your financial support for Columban mission you generously share what you have with people who are most needy.  We sincerely thank you for that.  We pray that in this sharing the Lord in turn will enrich you abundantly.

In 2013 we received a warm welcome from many of you in the dioceses of Salford, East Anglia, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Galloway and Argyll & the Isles, where we have been visiting parishes.  We extend our own welcome to those who have encountered Columban mission for the first time during this year and our sincere thanks to you all for your prayers, generosity and encouragement.  We look forward to visiting in Leeds, Clifton and Scotland in 2014.

We wish you and your loved ones a blessed Christmas.

Yours sincerely,

Fr. Tom O’Reilly SSC
Regional Director for Britain
Celebrating 25 Years of the British Region 1988-2013

You can make a credit or debit card donation to the Christmas Appeal by calling 01564 772 096 (Mon-Fri, 9.30AM to 4PM) or visiting our secure web donation page provided by Charity Choice

Please note that there is no administration charge made by Charity Choice for donations made to the Columbans and you have the option of paying the fee levied by the credit/debit card companies, which means that more of your donation can go directly to supporting mission.