22 November 2008

St Columban's Day

St Columban’s Day

The feast of St Columban is celebrated on 23 November. However, as the Solemnity of Jesus Christ, Universal King, falls on the 23rd Columbans will observe the feast of their patron liturgically the following day.

Here are links to various items about St Columban.

On 11 June this year Pope Benedict spoke at his Wednesday audience about this great saint and we feature his talk in the current Misyon.

You can find a number of interesting items about St Columban here.

Here is the message of our Superior General, Fr Tommy Murphy, to all Columbans.

Saint Columban’s Day Message.

We Columbans are good at celebrating and each year we particularly look forward to getting together to honour our Patron St Columban on his feast day.
Earlier this year St Columban was honoured in a most unique way when Pope Benedict recognised the contribution of St Columban by making him the special focus of his Wednesday General Audience Address in St Peters’ Square on June 11th last.

Pope Benedict acknowledged that St Columban faced considerable difficulties but stressed that his work of evangelization began ‘in the first place through the witness of the missionaries’ own lives’.

As this feast day approaches I wish to acknowledge the contribution of all who are involved today in Columban Mission in our Regions and Mission Units. Many of you are working in challenging contexts and under difficult conditions. I have witnessed first hand some of the strains under which you carry out your present responsibilities. It is not easy to be a Catholic Missionary today. At times there is the temptation to despair because the odds are stacked against us and the challenges seem too great for the time and personnel we have.

Earlier this year at the Columban US Regional Assembly we were reminded of the helpful distinction between ‘Chronological time ‘, and ‘Kairos time’. It was stressed that while we may not have enough chronological time to complete what we want to do; we do have enough time to do what God wants us to do. This perspective can help us to lighten the real or perceived burdens of life and ministry and to take a broader view of our calling as Columban missionaries no matter what context we are working in. We are encouraged to live in Kairos time which is holy and it is God’s time, laden with meaning and choice and we have the freedom and responsibility to use this time and these choices well.

Pope Benedict in this year’s World Mission Day message wrote: ‘with concern we ask ourselves: What will become of humanity and creation? Is there hope for the future, or rather, is there a future for humanity? And what will this future be like? Humanity needs to be liberated and redeemed. Creation itself – St Paul says-suffers and nurtures the hope that it will share in the freedom of the children of God. These words are true in today’s world too. Creation is suffering. Creation is suffering and waiting for real freedom; it is waiting for a different and better world.’ And ‘there are countless people who are thirsting for hope and love’.

In this Year of St Paul, we note a strong belief that was shared by both St Paul and St Columban. The oft quoted statement from St Columban’s 10th Sermon, Christi simus, non nostri, is translated as ‘We are for Christ not for ourselves’, or ‘Let us be Christ’s, not our own’, or ‘We are Christ’s, not our own’. St Columban’s awareness of the importance of the presence of Christ in his own life and work was alive and well over five hundred years earlier in St Paul’s conviction that it was not himself but that it was Christ that lived in him. ‘and it is no longer I who live, but Christ in me.’ Gal 2.19. St Paul was very clear that it is only in Christ that humanity can find redemption and hope.

For over 90 years Columban missionaries have committed their lives to ensure that the hope and love of the Gospel message is experienced by people in many different parts of the world. Today we give thanks to God for this long history of commitment.

During the coming days, as we come together in our Regions and Mission Units to celebrate the feast of our Patron, we recommit ourselves to our mission; and to be focused and dedicated in healthy ways that bring life to ourselves and the people with whom we live and work.

May the life and spirit of St Columban encourage all of us.

Fr Tommy Murphy. November 21, 2008.

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