WelCom February 2020
Fr Tom Rouse
This month, on Saturday 29 February, there will be a missioning Mass celebrated at Ss Peter and Paul Church of Johnsonville, Wellington, for the first two Columban lay missionaries to be assigned overseas from New Zealand.
Sophia Ting and Hui Ling Chuah have completed a year of accompaniment and a year of formation in Fiji. They have now received their overseas assignment and we are processing their visas for their mission work abroad. Before they go overseas, they will be officially commissioned through the signing of an agreement document whereby they will commit themselves for an initial term of three years.
This will be a significant event for the Columbans in New Zealand. Even though Columban Lay Missionaries (CLM) started as a programme in 1977, Sophia and Ling will be the first two Columban lay missionaries to be sent from New Zealand.
We are grateful to Ohariu Parish for allowing us to hold this Mass in their church in Johnsonville. The church has been chosen because it is from where Fr Vernon Francis Douglas was sent. He was the first New Zealand Columban priest to be killed serving as a missionary overseas ‒ his death occurred after he was captured and tortured at the hands of Japanese forces in the Philippines during the Second World War.
The CLM vision statement is: ‘We are Columban Missionaries responding to the call of God’s mission, with joy and gratitude; we journey in communion with one another, with the poor and the exploited earth and participate in building bridges of dialogue between peoples of diverse cultures and faith in cross cultural mission.’
There are Columban lay missionaries working in Pakistan, Myanmar, the Republic of the Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea, Fiji, Chile, Peru, USA, Ireland and Britain. They include women and men, single and married people and families. Central to the identity and work of CLM is partnership. This recognises the call of all Columbans, lay and cleric, is rooted in their Baptism. As their Policy Handbook states, ‘The Spirit endows the Church with different gifts and ministries, not only to build up the internal life of the Christian community, but also to enable the community to fulfil its mission for the life of the world. All ministries complement one another and are to be exercised in a spirit of mutuality and partnership.’
Please remember Sophia and Ling in your prayers are they prepare to make their final commitment to becoming Columban Lay Missionaries and their assignment to overseas mission.
Mass will be celebrated at 10am, Saturday 29 February, Ss Peter and Paul Church, 29 Dr Taylor Tce, Johnsonville. Columban priest Fr Tom Rouse will be the main celebrant. All are welcome to attend.
Fr Tom Rouse is Country Leader for St Columban’s Mission Society in New Zealand and is based at St Columban’s Mission Centre in Lower Hutt.