September Appeal 2016

30th August 2016 - by Stephen Awre

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As Columbans begin their pilgrim journey toward the centenary year of the Society in 2018, Regional Director Fr. Peter Hughes reflects on the value and significance of ‘anniversaries’ as staging points that prepare us for the onward path of God’s mission.

Please donate to our September Appeal and support Columbans around the world who are seeking and discovering daily the signs of God’s Spirit in the people and places to which they are called. Thank you for your support.

Dear Columban Friend,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favourable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:16-19)

On 10th October 1916, the Irish bishops approved of a new missionary society proposed by Fr. Edward Galvin called the ‘Maynooth Mission to China’ and it can rightly be said that the Missionary Society of St. Columban was born on this day.

The 100th anniversary of this courageous decision will be marked by the youngest missionaries, ordained and lay, when they gather in the Philippines in October to support one another and, inspired by their forebears, to seek together the mission to which God now calls them. The meeting will set in motion a pilgrimage toward 2018, when the Society will celebrate the centenary of the official founding of the Columbans as a Society of Apostolic Life of the Church.

Anniversaries of any kind are, for all of us, important opportunities to pause, rest and prepare for the onward journey. They are also times when we gather and reconcile with our family and friends and share in the Gospel joy of lives graced by God’s unwavering love.

The biblical origin of ‘the Sabbath’ and ‘year of Jubilee’ celebrates the need to rest and acknowledge God’s love and mercy. We can choose to fulfil this need in our daily routines by making time to be with God. In September, churches around the world call upon us to make time to listen to the cry of God’s earth, which too often buckles under the strain of our demands (Creation Time, 1 Sep – 4 Oct).

Fr. Tomás King visited Britain recently from Pakistan and illustrated to us the effects of flooding for the desert communities of the Sindh province. The resilient people of Fiji continue to recover from the destruction caused by Cyclone Winston. At the National Justice and Peace Conference in July, attended by Columbans, a speaker from Zimbabwe spoke of the immense challenges for communities where rainfall has declined dramatically in the last 30 years.

Prayer is ever at our service when confronted by the challenges we face. Many of you will be familiar with The Prayer Trust and the booklets of Fr. Pat Sayles, which has now moved to be with us in the Columban House in Solihull.

I can also report with joy that Fatima House in Birmingham, providing temporary accommodation to asylum seekers and featured in my Pentecost letter to you in May, welcomed its first guests on 25th July.

Thank you for your unwavering companionship to Columban mission.

Yours sincerely,
Fr. Peter Hughes SSC
Regional Director for Britain

All are welcome to our Sharing Gospel Joy event on 22nd October in London.