Pentecost Appeal Letter 2021

by Fr. Peter Hughes

Pentecost this year falls on Sunday 23rd May. Below is a letter written by Fr. Peter Hughes, Columban Director in Britain to Columban supporters, friends and benefactors in Britain as part of our annual Pentecost Appeal.

Dear Columban friends,

What is it that unites us? Columban missionaries are spread around the world, living and working in very different places and circumstances. We respond to the injustice of human trafficking in the Philippines and the pain caused by drug addiction in Myanmar; we stand in solidarity with migrants at the US/Mexico border and give children a platform to speak out in Peru; we campaign in many countries for the care of God’s scarred and neglected creation. What binds this diverse range of ministries, and the whole Columban community? The gift of the Holy Spirit.

Our experience as Columbans has taught us that to be a missionary is to live a life guided and empowered by the Spirit of Jesus Christ in today’s world. Without the activity of the Spirit in us, it is not possible to follow Jesus, accept his message and live by his values. The Spirit reminds us, as it did the Apostles at the first Pentecost, that we are God’s beloved children; all equal, in this respect, and all different. So while Columban ministries are varied and, like any community, we have our differences of opinion and in the choices we make, all that we are and do is led by the Spirit and the unwavering belief that every human being is a son or daughter of the one God, our Father, and a sister or brother of Jesus Christ.

Pentecost challenges us to look anew at the Church and our baptismal call to mission through the eyes of the Spirit. It can be tempting to “nest” in our parishes and to centre our faith in structures and plans, or to find unity in traditions and a shared morality. Yet, the Spirit called the Apostles to step outside the security of the Upper Room and to risk their lives to proclaim the message of Jesus. What kept them going? The desire to give what they had received and the knowledge that they shared in the same mission – one body, one family in Christ.

However the Spirit is calling us to participate in God’s mission, we need food for the journey. Recently, I have found nourishment in the words and images shared by more than 100 participants in our 2021 Schools Media competition on the theme ‘Let’s create a world without racism’ (featured in the ‘Far East’).

I also commend to you a new book by Fr. Tom O’Reilly called ‘Acts of the Apostles: A Reading for Mission Today’, which Tom hopes “will be useful for groups coming together to reflect on their mission in the light of the word of God”. The book is advertised in the ‘Far East’ and available from Veritas publications.

In the last year, we have been especially thankful for your kind and generous support. More of you are choosing to donate via Direct Debit and we are very grateful indeed to all who are able to make a regular commitment, which helps us to be confident about the support we can provide to Columban ministries around the world. For further information about regular giving via direct debit or standing order, please contact the office on by calling 01564 772096 or emailing

May the Spirit lead us to become instruments and signs of the communion which is God’s dream for our world.

Yours in the peace of Christ,

Fr. Peter Hughes SSC
Columban Director in Britain

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