Showing posts with label Columbans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Columbans. Show all posts

24 Mar 2017

Columban parish in Peru cut off by devastating floods

March 24, 2017 Media Release –
Flooding in Peru. In wake of the unprecedented flooding in Peru, Columban Fr Kevin McDonagh in his parish in Samanco near Chimbote [420 kms north of Lima], has been cut off from the outside world. He is managing ok, but the situation is getting precarious for the people.

The worst is not quite yet over as rain is still expected over the next few weeks, with some of it moving south. The challenges ahead are enormous in terms of reconstruction, etc. There is little bottled water available, but fortunately there is water flowing again in Lima though with low pressure. It is worrying to think of so many people without clean water especially in the provincial areas.

So far there are 75 known deaths and over 100,000 people who are homeless. That figure will be multiplied when help reaches all the areas that have been incommunicado since the flooding began. It is mind boggling. We had bad flooding in 1982, and we all thought it was terrible. But that was child’s play in comparison to now. The question is how much more can the people take. Their response and solidarity so far has been nothing short of heroic. Even in the midst of all the suffering, we are seeing Peru and Peruvians at their very best. It is inspiring and heartbreaking all at once. These people are really heroic.
Please, we are asking for prayers and positive thoughts in solidarity with the people of Peru in these times of suffering, especially those most directly affected

In Christ,
Fr Kevin O’Neill
Superior General
Missionary Society of St Columban

9 Mar 2017

Columban Fr Charles Duster RIP


Fr Charles Duster (15 September 1934 - 7 March 2017)

Father Charlie was born on 15 September 1934 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA, where his parents Charles Henry Duster ['DOOster'] and Cleo Catherine Handley Duster owned and operated a supermarket. He has an older brother William C. Duster (Audrey) of Littleton, Colorado, a sister Mrs Robert Enns (Katie) of Fort Pierce, Florida, and eleven nieces and nephews and their families. His older sister, Margaret Jeanne Duster, died in 1972.

24 Jul 2016

'Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy,' WYD Krakow 2016. Sunday Reflections, 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C


Man Praying, Van Gogh, April 1883, The Hague
Gospel Luke 11:1-13 NRSV, Catholic 

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.”
And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Fr Patrick Ronan, from County Kilkenny in Ireland, was one of four Columbans jailed in China in 1952 by the Communist authorities for 'subversive activities'. Another Columban, Fr Aedan McGrath, spent nearly three years in solitary confinement in China between 1950 and 1953 because of his involvement in the Legion of Mary. All five were expelled in 1953.

St John Paul II singing the Our Father in Latin
Full post here.

3 Jun 2016

Columban Fr Vincent Batchelor RIP



Fr Vincent Batchelor died in Box Hill Hospital in Melbourne on 28 May at around 5:30pm in his 96th year. He had been living in Nazareth Care Camberwell, under the care of the Sisters of Nazareth. Camberwell is a suburb of Melbourne. Father Vincent had a fall after which the staff decided to send him to hospital for observation. The doctor suspected that the fall was brought on by a heart attack. He had been visited by his sister Mary and niece and Fr Ray Scanlon who kept in constant contact with him and with Fr Gary Walker, the Regional Director of the Columbans in Australia and New Zealand, that afternoon. He died shortly after they left.

Vincent Batchelor had little interest in money or possessions and once sold his car after a
cyclone in Fiji to buy food and essentials for people who had lost everything. He was clear in his desire to be a missionary, always willing to accept whatever appointment was asked of him. He was childlike in the best sense and God’s word was revealed in him as the many emails we have received testify.

Full post here.

23 Apr 2016

'By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.' Sunday Reflections, 5th Sunday of Easter, Year C

Frs Owen McPolin, John Blowick, Edward Galvin China 1920
Gospel John 13:31-33a, 34-35 (NRSV, Catholic Ed)

When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer.

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

On the evening of 29 January 1918 an extraordinary event took place in Dalgan Park, Shrule, a remote village on the borders of County Mayo and County Galway in the west of Ireland. At the time Ireland was part of the United Kingdom, which was engaged in the Great War. Thousands of Irishmen were fighting in the trenches in France and Belgium. Many, including my great-uncle Corporal Lawrence Dowd, never came home. There was a movement for independence in Ireland that led to the outbreak of guerrilla warfare in Ireland later in 1918. There was widespread poverty in the country, particularly acute in the cities.

Despite all of that, on 10 October 1916 the Irish bishops gave permission to two young diocesan priests, Fr Edward J. Galvin and Fr John Blowick to have a national collection so that they could open a seminary that would prepare young Irish priests to go to China. The effort was called the Maynooth Mission to China, because Maynooth, west of Dublin, is where St Patrick's National Seminary is, where Fr Galvin had been ordained in 1909 and Fr Blowick in 1913.
The seminary opened that late winter's evening with 19 students and seven priests. Many of the students were at different stages of their formation in Maynooth but transferred. The seven priests belonged to different dioceses but threw in their lot with this new venture which, on 29 June 1918, would become the Society of St Columban.

This Sunday's gospel was part of what the new group reflected on as they gathered in the makeshift chapel in Dalgan Park, the name of the 'Big House' and the land on which it was built.
Full post here.

12 Feb 2016

‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’ Sunday Reflections, 1st Sunday of Lent, Year C


Three Temptations of Christ (detail), Botticelli, 1481-82 .Sistine Chapel,Vatican 

Gospel Luke 4:1-13 (NRSV, Catholic Edition, Can.)


Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”
Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written,
‘Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.’
Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written,
‘He will command his angels concerning you,
to protect you,’
and
‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Kyrie eleison, and Intercessions in different languages
Taizé - Pilgrimage of Trust in Rome
Prayer presided by Holy Father Benedict XVI
St Peter's Square, 29 December 2012
Tomb of St Gregory the Great, St Peter's,Rome
I first posted this reflection on 14 February 2013 just after Pope Benedict had announced that he was stepping down.
I can't help reflecting on this gospel in the light of Pope Benedict's announcement last Monday when he said, Well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome.

When the devil tempts Jesus with the promise of glory and power Jesus quotes from Scripture, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.

In an audience in 2008 speaking about St Gregory the Great, who reluctantly had become Pope Gregory I, Pope Benedict said, Recognizing the will of God in what had happened, the new Pontiff immediately and enthusiastically set to work. From the beginning he showed a singular enlightened vision of the reality with which he had to deal, an extraordinary capacity for work confronting both ecclesial and civil affairs, a constant and even balance in making decisions, at times with courage, imposed on him by his office.
Full post here.

12 Jun 2015

'The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground . . .' Sunday Reflections, 11th Sunday in Ordinary time, Year B

A Grove of Cedars of Lebanon [Wikipedia]
On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it, in order that it may produce boughs and bear fruit, and become a noble cedar (Ezekiel 17:23 - First Reading).
Jesus said to the crowds: “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”
He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.
The Sower (after Millet)October 1889, Saint-Rémy, Van Gogh
Below is part of what I posted three years ago for this Sunday.  It is now 73 years since my parents married and 'the youngest born last month' is now aged three. His father came through the medical procedure successfully, thank God.

The parables in this Sunday's gospel remind us that the faith has had many small beginnings. Perhaps the greatest is the Twelve Apostles. 

Full post here.

25 Apr 2015

'I know my own and my own know me.' Sunday Reflections, 4th Sunday of Easter, Year B

From The Gospel of John (2003) directed by Philip Saville

Today's Gospel, John 10:11-18 [1:19 - 2:30]
Jesus said:
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.  I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”
Fr Barry Cairns is a Columban priest from New Zealand who was ordained in 1955 and went to Japan in 1956 where he still is. He writes frequently for our various Columban magazines. I met him only once but I know him to be the kind of joyful proclaimer of the Gospel that Pope Francis so often speaks about. 
Full post here.

1 Mar 2015

'I have tried to follow when you called.' Sunday Reflections, 2nd Sunday of Lent, Year B

Transfiguration of Christ, Paolo Veronese,1556,
Cathedral of Santa Maria, Montagnana, Italy 

Gospel Mark 9:2-10   
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified.  Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus. continue reading

Bishop Edward Galvin (1882 - 1956)


After his ordination in 1909 for his native Diocese of Cork in the south of Ireland Fr Edward J. Galvin, born on 23 November, the feast of St Columban, 1882, was sent on loan by his bishop to the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. In those days it was common for young Irish diocesan priests to be sent to English-speaking countries until there was a vacancy at home, a situation that certainly doesn't exist any more in Ireland.


Full post here.

8 Nov 2014

'Zeal for your house will consume me.' Sunday Reflections, Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

Archbasilica of St John Latera 
 Cathedral of the Diocese of Rome.
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) 
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” continue
Pushkin Museum, Moscow [Web Gallery of Art]
We are not isolated and we are not Christians on an individual basis, each one on his or her own, no, our Christian identity is to belongWe are Christians because we belong to the Church.
Pope Francis spoke these words at his General Audience on Wednesday 25 June this year. He went on to say:
The Christian belongs to a people called the Church and this Church is what makes him or her Christian, on the day of Baptism, and then in the course of catechesis, and so on. But no one, no one becomes Christian on his or her own. continue
A few weeks earlier in his homily at Mass in St Martha's on 15 May the Bishop of Rome spoke in similar words:
Full post here.

25 Oct 2014

'You shall love the Lord your God . . .you shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Sunday Reflections. 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

St Matthew and the Angel,Vincenzo Campi, 
San Francesco d'Assis, Pavia, Italy [Web Gallery 
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, 
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment.  And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

In preparation for the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines in January 2015 Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, reflects on today's gospel.
The first of the three videos in this series has the theme The Works of Mercy. In the second Cardinal Tagle looks at The Beatitudes
Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan, Archbishop of Seoul (1922 - 2009)
I'm in Korea at the moment, partly because of the ordination to the priesthood on 1 November of revered Lee Jehoon Augustine, a Columban who spent two years working in the Manila area as part of his preparation for the priesthood.
Yesterday, Friday, I went with two Columban priests, Fr Liam O'Keeffe, a classmate from County Clare, Ireland,
 Full post here.

24 Apr 2014

ANZAC Day greetings to readers from Australia and New Zealand

Anzac Day Dawn Service, King's Park, Western Australia, 25 April 2009 . I posted this three years ago. 

Many contributors to and readers of this blog are North Americans and may not be aware of ANZAC Day or of its significance in Australia and New Zealand.

The Columbans arrived in Australia in 1919 and in New Zealand two years later. Our arrival in those two countries was only a few years after the event in the Great War, World War I, that had a huge impact on their people of European origin, mainly British and Irish at the time, the landing in Gallipoli, Turkey, on 25 April 1915. Many of my confreres are from these two countries and because of that, their history is part of mine.
I paid my first visit to Australia just after Easter 1990. I was there for the 75th anniversary of the landing of the first members of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps, the 'Anzacs', in Gallipoli. That particular anniversary generated new interest in this event. The Australian government flew a group of Gallipoli veterans, some of them aged more than 100, to Gallipoli to mark the event. Since then many young Australians have been going there for the anniversary ceremonies.

On one TV discussion while I was there a participant pointed out that the iconic symbol of the Great War and Gallipoli for Australians wasn't one of soldiers killing or being killed, but of one saving lives: Private John Simpson, a stretcher-bearer, born in England, who was with the first group that landed, and his donkey, which he 'recruited' in Gallipoli and which acquired the name 'Duffy'. He had worked with donkeys as a youth during summers in England.                                       
Full post here.

22 Feb 2014

'Love your enemies . . .' Sunday Reflections, 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

German Miniaturist, 1236-46 [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)                                  

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Gospel Matthew 5:38-48 (New Revised Standard Version,Catholic Edition, Canada)

Jesus said to his disciples:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."


Columban Fr Rufus Halley (1944 - 28 August 2001) 


Father Rufus Halley was one year behind me in the Columban seminary in Ireland. We were close friends. He came to the Philippines in 1969, two years before I did. He spent his early years in the country in Tagalog-speaking parishes in an area of the Archdiocese of Manila south of the metropolitan area, now the Diocese of Antipolo. He was fluent in the language. He began to feel a clear call from God to leave the security of working in an area overwhelmingly Christian and mostly Catholic to a part of Mindanao where Columbans had worked for many years that is overwhelmingly Muslim, the Prelature of Marawi. There he became fluent in two more Filipino languages, Maranao, spoken by the majority of Muslims in the area, and Cebuano, spoken by most of the Christians.

Full post here.

1 Nov 2013

Columban Fr John O'Connell who died recently in Peru


Fr John O'Connell (1933 - 2013)

by Fr Leo Donnelly 

I thought I'd share this since we're observing All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. And I know from experience that missionaries can have an enormous impact on the lives of the people they serve. From the beginning Columbans have lived and worked among those whom Fr Donnelly refers to as 'nobodies'.
Fr Leo Donnelly writes about his close friend Fr John O'Connell who died recently in Lima, Peru. Father John is one of a small number of Columbans who have served as Regional Director in two different countries. A regional director is the equivalent of provincial superior in religious life. We are not religious but secular priests, members of a society of apostolic life. That means that we don't take a vow of poverty nor are we required to live in community.
I've added a memory of my own. So many of our happy memories are connected with music and with festive gatherings. I don't know if anyone else who was present remembers what I recall below. But memories of 'little things' are very personal. 
Fr Leo Donnelly, an Australian Columban, was ordained in 1957, the same year as the late Fr John O'Connell was. Father Leo has been in Peru all his life as a priestThe photo above was taken at a despedida (farewell party) for Father John in Túpac Amaru District, Lima, in 2011.
Fr John Joseph O´Connell died in hospital in Lima the morning of Thursday, 24 October aged 80. Father John, a Kerryman to his fingertips, often sported Kerry jerseys around his parish of San Pedro y San Pablo, Payet, Independencia, Lima.
The crest of the Kerry Gaelic Football and Hurling teams. The boat is a symbol of St Brendan the Navigator, one of Ireland's early missionaries and, like Father John, a Kerryman. 'Kerry' is the anglicized form of the original Irish, 'Ciarraí'. [Image from Wikipedia]
Continue here.

27 Apr 2013

'By this all men will know that you are my disciples . . .' Sunday Reflections, Fifth Sunday of Easter Year C


Fr Patrick Hurley beside a photo of Bishop Edward Galvin (1882-1956), Co-founder of the Columbans.

Fr Hurley will turn 89, God willing, in June. Two of his brothers, Father Dermot (1920-1999) and Father Gerard (1926-2002), were part of the pioneering group of Columbans who went to Fiji in 1952. Sister Catherine Hurley, their sister and now retired, served as Superior General of the Columban Sisters from 1970 to 1981.

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) 

Gospel John 13:31-33a, 34-35 (Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition)

When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of man glorified, and in him God is glorified; if God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. Little children, yet a little while I am with you.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."


Fr John Blowick (1888-1972) Co-founder of the Columbans

On the evening of 29 January 1918 an extraordinary event took place in Dalgan Park, Shrule, a remote village on the borders of County Mayo and County Galway in the west of Ireland. At the time Ireland was part of the United Kingdom, which was engaged in the Great War. Thousands of Irishmen were fighting in the trenches in France and Belgium. Many never came home. There was a movement for independence in Ireland that led to the outbreak of guerrilla warfare in Ireland later in 1918. There was widespread poverty in the country, particularly acute in the cities.

Despite all of that, on 10 October 1916 the Irish bishops gave permission to two young diocesan priests, Fr Edward J. Galvin and Fr John Blowick, to have a national collection so that they could open a seminary that would prepare young Irish priests to go to China. The effort was called the Maynooth Mission to China, because Maynooth, west of Dublin, is where St Patrick's National Seminary is, where Fr Galvin had been ordained in 1909 and Fr Blowick in 1913.

The seminary opened that late winter's evening with 19 students and seven priests. Many of the students were at different stages of their formation in Maynooth but transferred. The seven priests belonged to different dioceses but threw in their lot with this new venture which, on 29 June 1918, would become the Society of St Columban.

This Sunday's gospel was part of what the new group reflected on as they gathered in the makeshift chapel in Dalgan Park, the name of the 'Big House' and the land on which it was built. Among the seven priests was Fr John Heneghan, a priest from the Archdiocese of Tuam, as was Fr Blowick, and a classmate of Fr Galvin. Fr Heneghan never imagined that despite his desire to be a missionary in China he would spend many years in Ireland itself teaching the seminarians and editing the Columban magazine The Far East. But his dream was to take him to the Philippines in 1931 and to torture and death at the hands of Japanese soldiers during the Battle of Manila in February 1945, when 100,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed and most of the old city destroyed.

Fr John Blowick emphasised the centrality of the words of Jesus in this Sunday's gospel, A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. The second sentence there was written into the Constitutions of the Society, drawn up the following year.

To this particular Columban these words of Jesus from the Gospel of St John are the greatest legacy of Fr John Blowick to the many men from different countries who have shared his dream and that of Bishop Galvin to this day. 

And not only men, but women too, as Columban Sisters and as Columban Lay Missionaries

The Society of St Columban was born in the middle of the First World War because of the vision of two young men who saw beyond that awful reality and who took Jesus at his word. Down the years Columbans have lived through wars, in remote areas where their lives and the lives of the people they served were often in danger. Some have been kidnapped and not all of those survived. Among those who did was Fr Michael Sinnott, kidnapped in the southern Philippines in October 2009 when he was 79 and released safely a month later on 12 November.

Fr Michael Sinnott in Manila on the day of his release.

With his sisters, Mrs Aine Kenny, left, and Mrs Kathleen O'Neill, right, at Dublin Airport, 3 December 2009

Father John Blowick's insistence on the words of Jesus in this Sunday's gospel becoming part of the very fibre of the being of Columbans sustained Fr John Heneghan, Fr Patrick Kelly, Fr John Lalor and Fr Peter Fallon, as Japanese soldiers took them away from Malate Church, Manila, on 10 February 1945, and their companion Fr John Lalor who was working in a makeshift hospital nearby who with others was killed there by a bomb three days later. 

The words By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another are not only the hallmark of Columbans but of countless other groups, of countless families. They are meant to be the hallmark of every Christian.



Fr John Blowick accompanied the first group of Columbans to China in 1920 but didn't stay there was he was needed in Ireland as Superior General and as a teacher in the seminary. In 1965 he visited the Columban missions. The photo above was taken in Negros Occidental, Philippines, that year. He is third form the left, seated. I was in the seminary at that time and I remember how thrilled he was after coming home.

Thine be the Glory, music by George Frederick Handel, original French lyrics by Edmond Budry

St Thomas' Anglican Church, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Finding Virtue in the Mundane: Even Doing Dishes!

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