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Columban Missionaries Celebrate 90 Years of Mission in the Philippines

by Anonymous last modified May 16, 2019 09:03 AM

This year, we celebrate our commitment to the poor and the exploited earth. We honor those who have gone before us as we continue to commit ourselves to God’s mission in collaboration with our mission partners and benefactors. This commitment is expressed in our work with the vulnerable and the marginalized, indigenous people, interfaith dialogue and the care for God’s creation in our ministries and parishes.

90yrs

Columban  Missionaries Celebrate 90 Years

of Mission in the Philippines

 

Today, dozens of Filipino men and women, ordained and lay, are serving as Columban Missionaries around the world following the footsteps of the first Columban Missionaries who arrived in Our Lady of Remedies Parish, Malate on May 30, 1929.

From three priests in 1929 the numbers of Columbans in the Philippines grew to 257, serving 150 parishes in thirteen dioceses. At one point, Columban missionaries comprised 5% of all the clergy in the Philippines.

The Columbans shared the fate of the people they worked with.  During World War II the Malate Martyrs and Fr. Vernon Douglas paid the highest price.

Fruits of the 90 years of Columban mission in the Philippines are not only the promotion of vocation to mission but also taking concrete steps to respond to the challenges of the time. The Columbans addressed issues of poverty and the need to provide education by building parochial schools in parishes where they were working.  They saw the need to strengthen the faith of the young and develop leadership skills from among the hundreds of thousands of students in Manila’s non-sectarian colleges.  Thus, they founded the Student Catholic Action.

During the martial law years, the Columbans stayed with the people they served. Two Columban priests, together with a diocesan priest and six lay workers, were falsely accused and put into prison because of their work with the poor.

Responding to the call of Pope Paul VI for reconciliation between Muslims and Christians, the Columbans embraced the Dialogue of Life way of living initiated by the late Bp. Bienvenido Tudtud. While living this call to dialogue two Columbans suffered violent deaths in Lanao del Sur.

Over the years, the Columban missionaries have realized that the system that creates and perpetuates poverty is also destroying planet Earth. Together with the people, they have protested and organized pickets against logging, and later on against mining. A priority of the Columbans is to care for our fragile planet as urged by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ 1988 pastoral letter, “What is Happening to Our Beautiful Land”, and by Pope Francis’ “Laudato Si’ On the Care of Our Common Home”.

Columbans invite young Filipinos to be lay missionaries and to be Columban Missionary priests. Today, these young men and women are fruit of the work done by Columbans in the Philippines over 90 years.

This year, we celebrate our commitment to the poor and the exploited earth.  We honor those who have gone before us as we continue to commit ourselves to God’s mission in collaboration with our mission partners and benefactors. This commitment is expressed in our work with the vulnerable and the marginalized, indigenous people, interfaith dialogue and the care for God’s creation in our ministries and parishes.

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