Easter joy to becoming ‘Church’ at Pentecost

by Guest Contributor
Fr. Peter Hughes reflects on our journey from Easter joy to becoming 'Church' at Pentecost, taking inspiration from the recent Invitation to Mission programme visit to Peru. "Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people.” Acts 2:46-47 Dear Columban Friend, Freedom with responsibility’ is one of the values of the Asociación Civil Santa Bernadita in the district of St. Martin de Porres, Lima, Peru, which was begun by Fr. Tony Coney in 1995. I am reminded of this by Trish, a long-standing member of our Mission Office team in Solihull, who has been experiencing Holy Week and Easter with the Columbans in Lima, as one of eight participants in the Columban ‘Invitation to Mission’ (I2M) programme. Easter joy is liberating – the hope of new life in Jesus Christ; if we can only bring ourselves to trust in our Father’s mercy and love and to experience the healing power of forgiveness for ourselves. In Lent, we focus on our personal faith journeys, an important time of prayer and penitence, when we renew our own relationship with God. In Holy Week, through witness of Jesus’ passion, we are glaringly exposed to God’s love for us. Our joy at the Resurrection urges us to turn our gaze outward in communion with one another and if we allow ourselves to do this, if we accept God’s invitation to mission, we shall hear the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth as never before. zReceiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the apostles were freed from their fears and emboldened to take on the responsibility of bringing God’s mercy and love to others as ‘Church’, a community of hands and feet at the service of the poor and the oppressed. By visiting St. Bernadette’s, the Manuel Duato Special Needs School, the Association of Persons with Different Abilities (ASPHAD), the ‘Warmi Huasi’ project and the Happy Worm initiative, the participants in the I2M programme have turned their gaze outward and encountered a Spirit-filled Church in Peru. Back home, the feast of Pentecost may just mean something more to them than it did before. You can read all about their experiences at www.columban.co.uk During 2017/18, your donations to Columban mission have been used in particular to support Columban mission in Peru, the Philippines and China. Over the course of the next year, through our correspondence to you and our website, we aim to share with you more about our mission work in these countries. We are very grateful indeed for your kindness and generosity. Our centenary year continues to fill us with joy and thanksgiving for 100 years of Columban mission. We are grateful that so many are able to join us for a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. George’s Cathedral, Southwark on Saturday 30th June, to which all are welcome. To those who replied to our adverts for the Mass, you may be assured of the places you have requested. To any who wish to attend, please email: sharinggospeljoy@columban.co.uk  or tel: 01564 772 096. Yours sincerely  Fr. Peter Hughes SSC Columban Director in Britain