At the heart of the Columban mission is cross-cultural exchange, the belief that God speaks to us through the experiences of others, particularly those who are marginalized or living in poverty, and that we should open our hearts to learn from those experiences. As St. Columban puts it: “a life unlike your own can be your teacher.”
Welcome to 2019! We look forward to working with you this year to advocate for a healthy environment, protections for migrants, sustainable livelihoods for all, and peace around the world.
image: mural at Sacred Heart Parish in El Paso, TX of Our Lady of Guadalupe offering relief to migrants
by Scott Wright
Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! See, I am coming to dwell among you. (Zechariah 2: 14-17)
In the midst of increasingly inhumane conditions at the border, Congress is currently in negotiations to decide how to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) until October 2019. They have until December 7 to decide.
Columban Fr. Tomas King accompanies the Parkari Kohil tribal people of Pakistan. He sees firsthand the corrosive effects of poverty, corruption, and violence on his neighbors. In Pakistan, one out of every fourteen children die before the age of one and this wouldn’t be so, Fr. Tomas asserts, if a large fraction of the country’s financial resources weren’t wasted on corruption and unnecessary military spending.
On a Sunday afternoon in February 2012, Columban Fr. Pat Cunningham got ready to attend Mass on the rock of Gureombi, a volcanic rock plateau on Jeju Island, South Korea. The rock “had sacred significance for the villagers,” said Fr. Pat, “as it was a ‘living rock’ and therefore intimately tied up with [the] identity [of the] village people – a place where people from the 400-year-old village used to celebrate their ceremonial rites.”
Columban Fr. Neil Magill helps run a “Higher Education Center” in Myanmar (formerly, Burma) that trains young adults living in Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps to be teachers and development workers. That’s where he met Patrick in 2017.
On a Sunday afternoon in October 2016, after Columban Fr. John Kennan had finished celebrating mass in a shantytown in Manila, a couple invited him to bless their house. “Filipinos will not sleep in a house where a murder has been committed until it has been blessed.” Fr. John heard from the couple that a police officer killed their brother as part of the Philippine government’s “war on drugs.”
During Advent, God makes us a promise: “I will make a just shoot spring up for David; he shall do what is right and just in the land. In those days Judah shall be saved and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; this is the name they shall call her: ‘The Lord our justice.’”
*photo: Vicki (far left) and her border delegation visit the "Buen Pastor (Good Shepherd)" tutoring and scholarship program
Copyright © 2019 Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Washington, D.C.