September Appeal

2nd September 2011 - by Fr Tom O’Reilly

The Columban Director in Britain – Fr Tom O’Reilly – has written to Columban benefactors

The tragic events in Norway on July 22nd in which 77 people died, many of them young people who dreamed of a better world, is another shocking reminder that our world urgently needs the message of Jesus Christ. He spoke of God’s dream of a world where all peoples live together as brothers and sisters in mutual respect and understanding, despite differences of class, race, culture and religion. Jesus died for the realisation of that dream.

What happened in Norway is an extreme and deranged expression of a mentality which sees those who do not belong to our race, culture or religion as undesirables to be removed, so that our identity can be guarded and remain untainted. And this is done in the name of God! Those who flew planes into the Twin Towers in New York in September 2001 saw themselves as faithful followers of the God of Islam. The one who recently shot dead defenceless people in Norway understood himself as a Christian crusader.

The God of these extremists is not the God of Jesus, who calls us to make known the true God and to work for the realisation of God’s dream for our world. Christian mission in a multi-cultural and multi-faith world takes the form of dialogue between peoples from different backgrounds, so that we can live in mutual respect, understanding and enrichment. Guided and empowered by Jesus’ Spirit, we engage in mission to bring people together in the one human family of a loving God.

In August 2001, Columban missionary Fr Rufus Halley was shot dead by Muslim extremists in the Philippines, where he had worked for more than twenty years promoting better relations between Muslims and Christians. He shared the lives of Muslims and sometimes was asked by them to act as mediator in their internal disputes. When he died, he was widely mourned in the Muslim community as a man of God who had shown them the ways of peace. The world today badly needs prophetic missionaries like Rufus Halley.

Your prayers and generous support enables us to face such challenges in mission today. We thank you for that, assuring you of an ongoing remembrance in our Masses and prayers.


Fr Tom O’Reilly SSC

Regional Director

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