We are called to be peacemakers.
For nearly 100 years, Columbans have worked in countries torn by violence and war. In these situations they have worked to heal, reconcile, build bridges, and create mutual understanding through prophetic dialogue. Central to this mission is a commitment to building communities of peace.
“We choose to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence that reflects an inner well-being, just social and economic structures, active non-violence in the face of oppression, and a Christ-like peace that fosters a sense of inter-connectedness and solidarity with all living things.”
We advocate for human rights.
Columbans have been at the forefront of defending human rights, opposing torture and enforced disappearances, and supporting victims of torture and families of the disappeared. For this commitment, Columbans have been imprisoned, kidnapped and expelled under military governments in Chile, Peru, Korea and the Philippines. This in turn has deepened our commitment to active nonviolence. Columbans call for an end to torture everywhere, and respect for the basic human rights of all people.
We advocate for a culture of peace.
Faced with a culture of violence, the expansion of a military presence around the world, and a growing arms industry, Columbans work to cultivate a culture of peace and nonviolence. For nearly 70 years, Columbans have served in Japan and other parts of the world where nuclear weapons threaten global peace and stability. As members of Pax Christi International, Columbans call for an abolishment of nuclear weapons and a development of a moral framework that supports just peace and nonviolence as alternatives to war.
Columbans work closely with indigenous communities in Chile, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines and Taiwan to build relationships of mutual respect and cooperation, and to defend and protect indigenous lands and cultures.
Peace and Nonviolence Resources:
I have just returned from the US – Mexico border, on a journey of accompaniment sponsored by Maryknoll and hosted each year by the Columban Mission Center in El Paso, Texas. I have been to the border many times, but this time in particular was especially heart-breaking and painful. There we met immigrant parents and children who had been detained and cruelly separated from each other for two months; there we witnessed their joyful but often painful reunion at a refugee shelter; there we prepared and shared a meal with them at the Columban Mission Center.
*Capitol Dome close up; (c) John Brighenti, Flickr
Columbans have lived and served in Korea since 1933. Our history in the Korean peninsula spans major wars, foreign occupation, dictatorships, and the militarization of the region.
Throughout this history, Columbans have been committed to the people of Korea and to lasting peace in the region. Through work like pastoral ministry, programs for the intellectually impaired and elderly, and solidarity action with South Koreans resisting the militarization of their country, Columbans, along with many others, have worked for peace for decades.
This month we take a magnifying glass to U.S. foreign policy regarding North & South Korea, US/Mexico border enforcement policies, and some quick takes on federal funding and more.
In August last year, the Columbans in the United States released a statement responding to the increasing tensions between the United States and North Korea, and urging diplomacy between the two nations. At the time, North Korea was conducting a series of missile and nuclear tests, which, along with threats and heated rhetoric from both North Korea and the U.S., raised the threat of nuclear escalation.
After more than seven years of war, millions of Syrians displaced from their homes or in exile, and nearly a half a million people dead, the tragedy of the Syrian people cries out for an inclusive diplomatic, negotiated solution to the conflict. We need to break the vicious cycle of violence with transforming initiatives that will lead to a just and lasting peace.
Today, as we mark the beginning of Easter Week in the nation’s capital, we commemorate the life and legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and so many more unsung men and women, as well as children – remember the four children who died in the bombing of their church in Birmingham – who embodied in their lives the courageous struggle for racial equality, human dignity, and the power of nonviolence and redemptive suffering.
Copyright © 2019 Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Washington, D.C.