September 2012 Appeal
12th September 2012 - by Fr Tom O’Reilly
Dear Columban Friend,
As you receive this letter, we Columban Missionaries will be gathered together at our General Assembly, an event which takes place every six years to evaluate the current position of our missionary work and seek directions for the future.
In the past, these assemblies often took place in an atmosphere of great certainty. The task of mission was clear. There were many young missionaries from the churches of the West available for the task. The need was to become more efficient in doing the task and to expand in view of our increasing numbers and urgent invitations from needy churches.
The situation now is quite different. The world has changed, our understanding of mission has evolved and we have a greater awareness of the growing needs that call us to mission. Our active numbers from the UK, Ireland, the USA, Australia and New Zealand are decreasing and younger Columbans are coming from churches in Korea, Fiji, the Philippines and Taiwan, which Columbans have helped to establish and develop over the years. We aim to draw strength from the cultural diversity in our membership and equip ourselves to respond to the call of mission in our present circumstances.
It can be easy to feel some trepidation when faced with the challenges of today’s task. But we must not forget that our mission is the mission of God in Jesus Christ who continues to reach out to all peoples with his message of love, justice and peace. We offer ourselves as we are to be channels of God’s outreach. Furthermore, we are not alone. The call to mission comes to every baptised Christian and not just missionary groups like ours. We are encouraged and sustained by you, our partners and supporters in the missionary task today.
The Assembly begins with three days of silent prayer to open ourselves more fully to the Spirit of mission. We will leave with renewed commitment and energy in responding to the ongoing call of mission, wherever that leads us. We ask you to pray for us at this time that we may be generous in our response.
We thank you for the many ways you continue to support us and promise again to keep you always in our Masses and prayers.
Fr. Tom O’Reilly SSC
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