INVITATIONAll over the world, people are calling for life. Hidden within this call is a cry for God and for His Kingdom of justice, love and peace. Columban Missionaries have been working in the Philippines, attempting to answer this challenge, for more than 90 years, even longer in other Asian countries.
Recognizing the gifts of the laity as partners of the ordained in mission, Columban Lay Missionaries (CLM) are inviting local lay people to work with Columban Missionaries overseas. Likewise, we welcome lay missionaries (LMs) from other countries to serve with us here in the Philippines. Since 1990, the CLM have been exchanging teams between Pakistan, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Britain, Ireland, Korea, Fiji, Taiwan, China, Myanmar and the Philippines. This invitation is extended above all to those who are already deeply involved in missionary work in the Philippines. LMs also work in Japan and the US-Mexico border.
Columban lay missionaries first learn the language of the people. They learn the culture and history of the people. They then go to a parish or community and learn about family life. They experience Church and popular religiosity.
Columban Lay Missionaries are engaged in a wide range of ministries and pastoral activities. Some work in the Columban’s priority ministries of Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation (JPIC), and Inter-faith Dialog (IRD). Others work in catechesis, bible studies, family life, youth, and children ministries. Others are involved in programs for migrants and refugees, elderly, differently-abled persons, women and children. LMs are also engaged health and livelihood programs.
We are looking for people who are:
- Committed Catholics;
- With a four-year college degree;
- between 23 and 40 years old, ideally;
- Mature, happy, healthy, life-giving, good in teamwork, with a passion for life, and who are free from family obligations;
- willing to join a live-in orientation program for nine months, go on mission to serve and learn from another people for three years, and open to God’s call to a long-term on mission.
The orientation begins August and lasts nine months. Its two goals are to develop teamwork and cultural sensitivity. So the focus is primarily on the person of the missionary and then on the context of mission. Those accepted into the Orientation know that it is a period of discernment; they choose to ratify their initial decision to go on mission, or they decide if this life is for them. Likewise, the Columbans and their supervisors discern whether or not this person is ready for overseas mission with this team at this time.
Eleven weeks Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) helps them develop skills to deal with people in crisis and take a good look at their own blocks to ministry. The team live together; they work, study, eat, play, pray, and reflect and share regularly to develop teamwork before they go to another country.
They experience and reflect on their lives and their faith. They study too about Jesus, the Bible, the Church, discipleship, mission, spirituality, care for creation, liturgy, adult literacy, community building, creative drama, personality and psycho-social development. They spend a significant period of time with Muslim and Tribal Filipinos, experiencing the “otherness” of those cultures before reflecting more on cultural differences. The Orientation ends with a directed retreat and vacation. Their own Christian Communities promise their support and prayers at appropriate “sending ceremonies.”
The Columbans pay for the orientation and travel and mission overseas. This include health expenses, an annual vacation and retreat, plus an adequate personal allowance. After three years, those who choose to return for another term of mission will have a long vacation at home, while those who opt for resettlement are given the equivalent of one month salary for every year of service overseas.