As I look back at the year just ended I do so with mixed feelings. The violence of recent months and the loss of life in the Israel-Gaza conflict and the ongoing war in Ukraine fill me with sadness. I can only pray that the guns of war will fall silent, and the voices of reason will be heard.
The Synod of Bishops in the late Autumn fills me with hope for the future of the Church. “For in the one Spirit we were all baptised into the one body” (1Col 12:13) For the first time, at Pope Francis’ invitation, men and women from all over the world were invited, by virtue of their baptism, to sit at the same table, to take part, not only in the discussions, but also in the voting process of this Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.
Jesus’ invitation to follow him, to know him and his truth is given to each of us through our baptism. Each in his or her own way has a unique invitation to know Jesus as the way, the truth and the life and in turn make Him known to others.
This year – 2024 – marks the Centenary of the Columban Sisters. We join with them in giving thanks to God for one hundred years of service, dedication to mission, to journeying with the poor and caring for our fragile earth. The Columban Sisters have been given a unique invitation to make Jesus known through their charism which is expressed in their dedication to God, through a life of prayer, a life of mutual sharing and a life of missionary service.
Life is shared with each other living interdependently in intercultural communities, through cross-cultural mission in the service of the poor, in the care of our earth and in the proclamation of Christ’s way, truth and life. I wish the Sisters many blessings as they mark this special year.
This will be my final year writing to you in my capacity as Regional Director. As I reflect back over these last six years, I recognise that you our readers of the Far East magazine are truly our blessings. Your support and encouragement are a source of hope and inspiration for us. On behalf of all Columban Missionaries I thank you for your continued support. I pray 2024 will bring you and your family many blessings. Happy New Year.
Fr Raymond Husband is completing his second term as regional director of the Columbans in Ireland. Ordained in 1989, he has served on mission in the Philippines.
Published in the January/February 2024 issue of the Far East magazine. You can subscribe here: https://columbans.ie/far-east-magazine/