What Columban supporters did next

18th May 2016 - by Stephen Awre

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From book barrows to breakfasts, parachute jumps to pilgrimages, some Columban supporters are not content to receive the Far East magazine and send a donation.  What could you do?

In the just over four years that I have been with the Columbans as a member of the Mission Office Team in Solihull, the devotion and generosity of our benefactors has never failed to impress.  The Far East magazine remains at the heart of this cherished relationship and we know that many of our supporters pass on their copies to fellow parishioners, neighbours, friends and family of all faiths and none.  In this way, Far East subscribers join us in inviting all people to participate in God’s mission.

One supporter has taken this task a step further by organising a ‘book barrow’.  Joan Baines of the Legion of Mary in St. Benedict’s parish, Hindley, contacted us in March to ask if we could supply some back copies of the Far East magazine to give out to shoppers in the local Tesco, alongside other magazines and books.  We gladly obliged and were delighted to receive the following report from Joan:

“The statue of Our Lady was placed on the table and teams of Legionaries staffed it for 3 hours chatting with shoppers and getting a mixed reception.  One lady said “I don’t believe in God” and her little girl said “but I do mummy”!  Many said they were atheists, many more were lapsed or Christians of other denominations who accepted the literature; a total of 40 Miraculous medals were given out with lots of books and magazines. The aim was to ‘plant seeds’ and through witness re-kindle the light of faith.”

We would love to hear of other ways in which the Far East magazine and its mission stories are reaching a wider audience and contributing to local mission activities.  E-mail to or write to St. Columban’s, Widney Manor Road, Solihull, B93 9AB.

If you are someone who has collected back copies of the Far East magazine, or have simply finished reading the current issue, why not think about how they could be of interest and benefit to others and pass them on.

Fundraising is another way in which some Far East subscribers have chosen to support Columban mission.  One supporter made crafts and sold them at her parish.  A brave sixth-form contingent in Essex jumped out of a plane (with parachutes!) for the Manuel Duato School in Peru and a primary school in Gateshead collected pennies for an after-school club founded by Columban Sister Martina Kim.

Special mention must go to the parishioners of Blessed Robert Grissold parish in Balsall Common, Solihull. Since the Millennium, they have held 60 fundraising breakfasts for Fr. Ed O’Connell in Peru, raising more than £15,000 for the many projects he has founded or facilitated.

If you would like to fundraise for Columban mission, please contact us on 01564 772 096 or with your ideas and we can provide assistance with sponsor forms and setting up an online donations page.

Last year, we commemorated the 1400th anniversary of the death of St. Columban, the patron of the Columban missionaries, who was called to leave his home in Ireland to be a missionary in France, Switzerland, Germany and Italy.  Some Columban supporters joined in a pilgrimage to Cornwall, which Columban is likely to have passed through on his way to France.  One supporter, Denis O’Mahoney, of the St. Francis’ Catholic Ramblers Club, completed his own pilgrimage route in July, visiting St. Columb Minor near Newquay and walking in the footsteps of this renowned European saint.