Pakistan has given Columban Fr Robert McCulloch its highest civilian award. He was with the first group of Columbans to be assigned to Pakistan in 1978. He had been in Mindanao, Philippines, from early 1971 till then. He was coming towards the end of his course in Cebuano Visayan, the predominant language in the central and southern Philippines, as I was starting in the Columban language school in Ozamiz City in October 1971. He recently moved to Rome as the Procurator General of the Columbans. The following press release was issued by Fr Gary Walker, Regional Director of the Columbans in Australia and New Zealand, on 17 February.
Australian born, Columban Fr Robert McCulloch has been awarded the Sitara-e-Quaid-e-Azam, the highest civilian award that can be given to foreign nationals with the citation: 'For services to Health, Education, and Inter-Faith Relations'.
Fr Robert McCulloch has been in Pakistan for over 30 years. He is Chairman of the Saint Elizabeth Hospital’s Administrative Council which provides quality medical services to the people of Hyderabad and rural parts of Sindh. He also runs a medical outreach programme in rural Sindh.
He set up the first home-based Palliative Care unit in Pakistan which provides care for cancer patients who are terminally ill. He initiated projects, in 2007, to provide educational, spiritual, moral and personal formation for 150 Catholic boys and young men in Hyderabad. Two centres were set up: the Catholic Centre of Academic Excellence in Hyderabad and the Catholic Youth Development Centre.
His other major contribution includes taking steps to preserve the language of Tharparker known as Parkari Kohli. He engaged experts around the world and worked on a script to turn this language into a written language.
During the floods of 2011 he arranged to provide food and medical treatment to over 1,000 families in Southern Pakistan and is building accommodation for the flood victims.
Fr McCulloch now resides in Rome after taking up an appointment as the Procurator General for St Columban's Mission Society in late 2011.
St Columban's Mission Society (the name we are known by in Australia and New Zealand) is an International Missionary Society that crosses boundaries of Culture and Religion.
Fr Robert McCulloch SSC can be contacted on skype: robert.mcculloch49, email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Fr Gary Walker
You can read more about Fr McCulloch and his work here.