As we look back on 100 years of Columban missionary activity here in Britain, we give thanks to God for all the gifts and challenges which have been showered on us during that time. We commit ourselves with renewed energy to what the future may bring, confident that the God of mission will continue to inspire and guide us.
The Centenary is an opportunity, not only to celebrate with joy, but also to discern our small but unique contribution to God’s mission in the future.
Britain our basic mission has four aspects which are; to raise awareness of and elicit support for Columban missions; to work , in solidarity with the poor and the exploited earth, for justice, peace and the integrity of creation; to promote life-giving relationships between peoples of different cultures and religions; to facilitate mission for others and the exchange of personnel and resources between Britain and other places where Columbans work.
Pope Francis is a rich source of inspiration, encouragement and challenge as we respond to our missionary call today. He reminds us that the message we proclaim is joyous Good News and that must always be seen in the way we present the Gospel and in the way we relate to others. The message is basically about the unconditional love, compassion and forgiveness of God reaching out to everyone become a basic principle of all our exchanges. Francis is very emphatic in saying that our missionary call is rooted in baptism.
Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that we are ‘disciples’ and ‘missionaries,’ but rather that we are always ‘missionary disciples'” (EG, 120).
Responding to this challenge, the Region of Britain continues its commitment to Columban ordained priests, Columban Lay Mission and Columban co-workers as a key way of facilitating the exchange of personnel and resources between this country and the places where Columbans work We move forward with confidence to where God may be calling us.