September Appeal 2018

29th August 2018 - by Stephen Awre

Fr. Peter Hughes, Columban Director in Britain, reflects on how our encounters with people ‘on the margins’ of society, away from ‘the centre ground that we occupy in our lives’, can lead us ‘to discover God’. Columbans are called daily to ‘places where differences meet’.

Thank you for your support to the young men and women in formation to become Columban priests, sisters and lay missionaries.

Please donate to our September Appeal

Dear Columban Friend,

Jesus said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once.

(Matthew 15:26-28)

With so many images on television, the internet and in newspapers, there are few who could say they have not seen the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth. Our eyes are opened wide by the tensions caused when new communities come to live among us, by the plight of those experiencing homelessness, by refugees fleeing terrible conflicts, by the environmental impact of urban pollution and by the threat to wildlife caused by disposable plastic.

Pope Francis, however, calls us to hear the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth, to draw closer, to listen and to encounter the marginalised people and places crying out from the wilderness.

Columban students, as part of their formation, are sent on a missionary assignment in another country. A Filipino student called Jerry is in Pakistan for his assignment and recently wrote the following:

“if you want to know the people in the margins you have to first meet them ‘rubaru’ (a Hindi word meaning ‘face to face’). It can be in the streets, in the shops, in the work fields or farms, in their houses and villages, or on public transport. Oftentimes, they give the best narratives of their lives and wisdom that nobody might ever want to hear”.

To meet people on the margins we have to move away from the centre ground that we occupy in our lives and listen; not so we can provide for them or act on their behalf, but to receive the wisdom they hold, to grow in solidarity with them and, in doing so, to discover God.

Making the transition from where we are – a place of safety and privilege – to the unfamiliar and discomfiting edges of society is not easy. Even Jesus found it hard. In his encounter with the Syro-Phoenician woman, a person shunned by the society of her day, it is her persistence to be heard and her deep faith that leads Jesus to a new understanding of his mission.

Columban missionaries are called to these vital places where differences meet. In Pakistan, the Columban parish of St Thomas offers the church compound to local Muslims for the breaking of the daily fast during Ramadan, strengthening the bonds between them.

In Britain, Centenary Masses of Thanksgiving, held in London and Birmingham, brought many different people together and we are truly grateful to all who were able to share in these life-giving celebrations.

We are blessed and transformed by your companionship and support to Columban mission.

Please pray for all the men and women in formation to become Columban missionaries and for Columban leaders, including me and Fr. Denis Carter from Britain, as we meet for our General Assembly in September, to discern and plan our future contribution to God’s mission.

Yours gratefully,

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Fr. Peter Hughes
Columban Director in Britain

Supporting children’s rights in Peru

Fr. Ed O’Connell in Peru has sent us six brand new videos to show the work of Columban parish project ‘Warmi Huasi’, both in San Benito near Lima, where the project began, and in Ayacucho, a mountainous area in the south of Peru. 

WARMI HUASI VIDEOS

Please donate to our September Appeal