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Who we are

Fr Shay Cullen SSC

The Missionary Society of St Columban is a society of missionary priests, originally founded in 1918 by Fr Edward Galvin and Fr John Blowick for missionary work in China.

The newly formed Society took as its patron and model the sixth century Irish missionary to Europe – St Columban – and from that point on began to be known as the Columban Missionaries.

Today, Columban Missionaries work in fifteen countries worldwide: China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Pakistan, Myanmar, Chile, Peru, Fiji, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Britain.

They are joined in their missionary outreach by Associate Priests, Columban Lay Missionaries and Lay Co-Workers. They also work in close collaboration with the Missionary Sisters of St Columban.

Crossing boundaries of country, language and culture, the specific objectives of the Columban Missionaries are:

  • to establish the Church where the gospel has not been preached.
  • to help local Churches grow into evangelising communities open to all peoples.
  • to promote dialogue between Christians and those of other religious traditions.
  • to facilitate interchange between local Churches, especially those from which we come and those to which we are sent
  • to help people become fully human, to help establish a world of peace with justice and to care for the integrity of creation in solidarity with the poor.
Fr Tomás King SSC in Pakistan

Within this framework, Columban Missionaries often find themselves working with and accompanying people who are suffering great injustices. Involved in reaching out to the margins of society we believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ demands that his followers, i.e. the Church, challenge the scandals of poverty and violence.

We strive to identify with Jesus of Nazareth who said, “He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free and to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.” (Lk 4:18)