Columbans Ireland

Oct 18th
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Home Far East January - February 2017

January - February 2017

"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.

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.

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.

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.

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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