Christmas Appeal 2017

1st December 2017 - by Stephen Awre

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Father Peter Hughes, Columban Director in Birtain, sends Christmas greetings to our friends and supporters, and invites all to make room in their heart for the call of God’s mission.

As we begin our centenary year, 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 2017 Christmas Appeal

Dear Columban Friends,

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth,
and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7

The innkeeper had no ordinary visitors when Joseph and Mary, carrying God’s only Son, turned up at his door, hopeful of safety and warmth after their long journey. Just as God knocked on the door of the inn in Bethlehem, God knocks at our doors as well, and asks if there is room in the inn. Is there room in our heart to let God in? Sometimes we may look out and we don’t really like what we see, or we don’t like what it would mean to let Christ in. So we close the door and say:

“There’s no place for you here”.

The first Christmas may not have happened if Mary had closed the door to God. She was young and engaged to Joseph, so one can imagine the excitement she was feeling, her heart filled with joy, love and hope for the future. Unburdened by life’s challenges, she is perplexed but decisive in responding to God’s call, though she did not know what lay in store. Her heart was already opened wide by love, so there was plenty of room for God’s plan for the salvation of all people. She trusted God and this would carry her through the anguish of being turned away by the innkeeper, the pain of Jesus’s birth in a cold and dirty stable and, ultimately, the agony of his death.

So, the Christmas story challenges us to be more like Mary – young, free, joyful – and less like the inhospitable and pitiless innkeeper in our response to God’s call. If we recognise ourselves as ‘innkeepers’, how can we recover in ourselves the capacity to love God and our neighbour? Columban missionaries know the answer is to open our eyes and to love. Inspired by our founders, Fr. Edward Galvin and Fr. John Blowick, and by St. Columban, our patron, we reach out beyond the boundaries of the life we know, to love in other places where love is needed among the poor, the forgotten and the exploited. This is our gift to God’s world and opens our hearts to receive the gift of love from others.

As we begin a year of celebration for 100 years of Columban mission, we give thanks for your unstinting support. In reaching out to the poor with us, you are part of God’s compassionate outreach in Jesus Christ and you are entering into the true meaning and spirit of Christmas.

When we look upon the child Jesus in the manger this Christmas, may our hearts and eyes be opened to the joy of giving and receiving God’s unbounded love. I pray that you and yours will experience the love, blessings and peace that Jesus at his birth brings into the world.

Yours sincerely,


Fr. Peter Hughes SSC
Regional Director for Britain