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Feb 21st
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Home Far East

Far East

"Reflection: What do you want me to do for you"

The blind beggar heard the crowd passing him on the road. Feet hurrying, people talking, all moving quickly along. What was going on? “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” It was enough. Immediately the beggar shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” He was making a nuisance of himself. Shut up, they warned him. But this was not a man to be silenced. He had heard of the Nazarene. He knew, beyond a shadow of doubt that he would help him. This was his chance and no one, no crowd was going to stop him. So, he shouted louder, “Son of David, have pity on me!” (Mk 10: 46-52).

Jesus stopped. The crowd stopped. The man was still shouting. Jesus ordered that he be brought to him. And now those very people who wanted to be rid of the noisy beggar had to make way for him to bring him to the Lord.
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A Detour Visit

Filipina lay missionary Liezl Noya Laradan’s ministry during her first term of mission in Fiji was with the only Indo-Fijian community in Labasa. She was known to the locals by her Hindi name, ‘Lata’. She went for regular home visits and joined prayer meetings in the town and she was also involved with the Catholic Women’s League in the diocese.

One day, after coming from a visit to an Indian family, I found myself resting comfortably at the mission house. But then, Auntie Bebie, one of the women I worked with in the community, came in saying, “Lata, we will go tonight to visit the Hindu family who invited you.” I remembered that I had given my word to visit them before, so I agreed to go despite feeling tired. I prayed that God would give me strength and lead me. After resting awhile, I went with one of our parishioners, Uncle Sammy, who was accompanying me on the visit.
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Columban Divestment

Amy Woolam Echeverria writes about the Columbans’ decision to divest from fossil fuels as part of their commitment to care and respect for the earth.

St Columban, known for his mystical relationship with the natural world, is quoted as saying, “If you want to know the Creator, know Creation”. Today, Columban missionaries incorporate this spirituality of care and respect for Creation as integral to our missionary identity and way of participating in God’s mission. This has led Columbans to dedicate ourselves to education and advocacy, nationally and internationally, on key ecological issues like climate change, water, food, extractive industries and biodiversity.
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Chiangmai - where Catholics are increasing

Fr Alo Connaughton interviews Bishop Francis Vira Arpondratana of Chiangmai in Thailand about the small but growing Christian population there. 

Q: Could you give a rough idea of the terrain and the people in your diocese.

A: Chiangmai is the most northerly of the ten dioceses of Thailand. It is bordered by Myanmar and Laos and a drive of less than an hour will take you into China. About 90% of the people belong to six big ethnic groups. In the past many of them migrated from Yunnan in China. It is a mountainous area and in the years gone by one of the main activities was growing poppies for the opium trade. In more recent times, big efforts were made to change this and a lot of the people now grow conventional crops like rice, tea, coffee, fruit and flowers.
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God's Work

Sr Damien Rooney is the oldest Columban Sister in the world. She shares some of her memories of life before she became a nun and meeting Bishop Edward Galvin in China. 

 “I went to China because we used to get the Far East. I was the eldest of six children - four girls and then two boys. We grew up between Roscommon town and Castlerea. I read about China in the magazine and decided this is where I would like to end up. I wrote to the Columban Sisters and I was invited to meet the person in charge of vocations in Dublin when I was seventeen.”
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Hearing the Cry of the Earth and the Poor

Ellen Teague marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Columban publication Vocation for Justice and outlines some of the other JPIC campaigns the Society is involved in. 

In his inspiring 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis urged the faithful to “Hear the cry of the Earth and the Cry of the poor”. His appeal resonated with Columban missionaries who in 1994 said, “in looking at the world and the missionary challenges it presents, we do so from the evangelical standpoint of solidarity with the poor and the exploited Earth.”
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Sharing Gospel Joy

Stephen Awre, office manager in Solihull, writes about a recent event in London where the Columban team offered perspectives on ‘Mission in Today’s World’. 

“We must never tire of sharing the joy of the Gospel,” Fr Tom O’Reilly told those gathered last October in the Archdiocese of Westminster to look at how mission has evolved since Vatican II. Fr O’Reilly, who was Director of the Society in Britain for five years, and worked for a decade in Pakistan, underlined that “all of us are missionaries, rooted in our baptism”.
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Celebrating 100

This commemorative year opens on St Columban’s Day 23rd November 2017 and concludes on St Columban’s Day 23rd November 2018. 

The Missionary Society of St Columban will mark a very important milestone in 2018 when it commemorates 100 years since the Maynooth Mission to China was officially founded in 1918.

Events connected with this momentous anniversary will take place in 2017 and 2018. This commemorative year opens on St Columban’s Day 23 November 2017 and concludes on St Columban’s Day 23 November 2018.

During the centenary year, the Far East will mark its own milestone. In January 2018, the magazine will have seen 100 years of continuous publication.
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Duterte's War

Fr John Kennan has seen first hand the cost of the crackdown on drugs in the Philippines. Here he appeals for a more humane way of dealing with this menace.

The ‘war on drugs’ initiated by President Rodrigo Duterte on 1 July 2016 has made headlines around the world. The 5th commandment ‘Thou shall not kill’ has been widely ignored. Most of the extrajudicial killings take place among the poor. Even women are killed and sometimes children are caught in the crossfire.

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