Priests, lay missionaries, students, and co-workers


The idea of founding the Missionary Society of St. Columban was first conceived in China between 1912 and 1916 when Fr. Edward Galvin and three other Irish diocesan priests who had volunteered to work in Hangyang saw the need for a mission from the Irish Church to the people of China. They would have as their patron the 6th Century Irish missionary monk, Saint Columban, who had zealously preached the Gospel in Europe to those who had not heard of Christ.
The groundwork for the establishment of the Columban Missionaries began on October 10, 1916, when the Irish bishops were asked by Fr. Edward Galvin and Fr. John Blowick (a young theology professor at the National Pontifical Seminary of Ireland) to support an Irish mission to China. Thus, the Missionary Society of St. Columban was founded on June 29, 1918. 
The first group of Columban priests went to China in 1920.
Some of the early Columbans went to the USA, Britain, Australia and New Zealand to recruit young men for mission in China. 
In response to an urgent appeal by Archbishop Michael O’Doherty of Manila, the Columbans began to work in Malate Parish in 1929. By the 1970s around 260 Columbans were already working in Luzon, Negros and Mindanao. Most of the parishes established by the Columbans are now served by diocesan priests, as the aim of the Columbans was always to build up the local Church. Over the years the Columbans took on missions in Korea, Myanmar, Japan, Chile, Peru, Fiji, Pakistan and Taiwan. They have also had missions in Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Guatemala and Jamaica over the years.


The Columbans are priests, sisters and lay missionaries who consider accompanying the poor and taking care of all of God’s creation as essential elements of our missionary commitment to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the past, we came to build the local Church. We went to Manila, Rizal, Cavite, Pangasinan, Zambales, Misamis Oriental and Occidental, Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur, Negros Occidental, Surigao and the Zamboanga Peninsula, building churches, schools and organizing communities.
Today, we continue to help the local Church to become more fully missionary. We work in various ministries throughout the Philippines, including, Parish ministry, Interreligious Dialogue, Indigenous People’s Apostolate, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, Ministries with the Deaf and those with special needs, and University Chaplaincy, among others. We train young men and women from the Philippines to share the God News in foreign lands as Columban priests and lay missionaries.
We believe in the God of relationships whose image we see in all creation. As Columbans, we are sent by Christ as disciples, to be signs and instruments of God’s universal communion in a world of conflict and division. (“Our Vision”, TCM 2018)
As Columbans
  • We are missionary disciples
  • We live interculturally in communion
  • We empower people and one another
  • We live in solidarity with the poor and the exploited Earth
  • We remain hospitable and open to change