100 Years of Columban Mission Through Art

Through the Eyes of a Filipino Columban

By Fr. Jason Antiquera

The author is a Columban priest from Binalbagan, Negros Occidental. He has spent some time in Korea and Peru as a seminarian. He was ordained on January 7, 2015 and on the same year left for Korea, and has worked there since then.

The Missionary Society of St. Columban was founded by two diocesan Irish priests, Fr. Edward Galvin and Fr. John Blowick, on June 29, 1918. The celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Society’s foundation began on November 23, 2017 and will end on November 23, 2018. Columbans all over the world have been exchanging ideas to create programs and activities for a meaningful centennial celebration. On a personal level, I was glad to be asked to create an art that could capture this hundred-year history of Columban mission. What a task! But it has to be done.

In the Name of the Trinity, I am a Missionary

By Luda L. Egbalic

Luda in Talaandig dress

 The author is from Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, and is the second of the ten children of Mrs Lucresia Luminhay Egbalic of the Talaandig Tribe in that province and of Mr David Fabre Egbalic, a Boholano. She has been in Korea as a Columban Lay Missionary since 2014.

A Messenger of His Love

I am not a writer, but I’m writing this reflection for myself and for others, hoping to be enlightened more about the Trinity’s love and God’s desire for each one of us to become a messenger of His love and the Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life.

I’ve always believed it is the love of the Trinity that brought me to this beautiful country, South Korea, and compelled me to persevere on mission. I also believe that this mission is not mine. It is God’s mission, and He has blessed me to carry it out with Him. God is always at the forefront, and I follow Him. There would be times when I kept my distance from Him because I felt tired and even tempted to stop. But along the way I knew God had sent the Holy Spirit to keep me going.

Ask, Seek, Knock

By Sun Hee ‘Sunny’ Kim

The author is a Columban Lay Missionary from Korea who came to the Phliippines in 2011. This article first appeared on the blog of the Columban Lay Missionaries – Philippines.

In January 2015 I began a new ministry in Payatas, Quezon City, known as the Second Smokey Mountain, the original having been in Tondo, Manila, a landfill that had been used for more than 40 years. I am assigned to the CBR (Community Based Rehabilitation) Center for special children. In the center, physical therapy and learning programs are offered to the children three times a week.

‘I will help you carry your cross’

By Luda Egbalic

When I was a child I used to visit San Isidro Cathedral in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, where I grew up. I would go to the Mass Media Center and read stories of the saints. I was inspired by their good deeds and sacrifices for the Lord. One time when I was praying and gazing at the big cross on the altar, innocently I said to myself, ‘When I grow up, I will help you carry your cross. I will serve you.’

Around Malaybalay City.jpg
Malaybalay City, with San Isidro Cathedral, lower left.

After my college days, I joined the Canossian Volunteers Philippines. In this program, I was happy serving people in urban and rural areas of Mindanao and Luzon. We called ourselves ‘young missionaries’. 

Christmas in Seoul

By Fr Seán Conneely

Columban Fr Sean Conneely, ordained in Ireland in 1969 and working in Korea since then, looks back over the 2012 Advent preparation/ celebrationat the Columban Mission Centre in Seoul, South Korea.

Who was Christ like this year?  How Christlike was any of us during the past year?

At Christmas each year the church celebrates the birth of Christ, the baby boy born in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. God become human to live in our midst to show His love for us.

To help prepare for the liturgy of Christmas we gathered in semi darkness in the main hall of our Columban Mission Centre in Seoul in the Advent spirit of waiting in expectation for the coming of our Saviour. We read some of the main readings from the prophet Isaiah from the daily Masses of Advent and sing Advent hymns. We then moved to the Christmas readings. A young couple with their own children carried the “baby Jesus” in slowly as the gospel was read.

Christmas flash mob in Myongji Hospital, Korea

As the congregation came forward to pay homage to the child in the manger we sang the appropriate Christmas hymns. After some silent reflection we watched a PowerPoint presentation of important events of the last year that relate to the meaning of Christmas in our lives today.

Columbans celebrate 80 years in Korea

On 29 October 2013, the Columbans in Korea began a series of celebrations to mark their 80 years of missionary presence in Korea.

The Columban Superior General, Fr Kevin O’Neill, joined Archbishop (now Cardinal) Andrew Reom Soo-jung of Seoul,

Additional Material

  • Columban Homily on Feast of Korean Martyrs
    By Fr Donal O’Keeffe
  • Columbans who died in the Korean War
missionaries, benefactors and parishioners from former Columban parishes in a commemorative Eucharist in St Mary’s Cathedral, Seoul, to give thanks to God for these 80 years of missionary presence.

‘The Columbans have made a wonderful contribution to the Korean Church and people. We are truly grateful to them’, said Archbishop Yeom at the commemorative Eucharist.


L to R: Fr Carlo Eiukyun Lee, Joon Bin Lim, Rev Augustine Jehoon Lee.
3 May 2014. See below
Some Columban updates from Korea. [Source: FB of Joon Bin Lim]

The first Columbans arrived in Korea on that same date, 29 October in 1933. There were ten of them, nine having been ordained the previous year. Their average age was 25 years. One of them, Fr Dan McMenamin, was to die of uberculosis four years later at just 29 years of age.

On the Second Sunday of Easter in April 1934, the newly arrived Columbans took possession of their first parish in Korea on the outskirts of the city of Mokpo. This was to be the first of 129 parishes that the Columbans would establish during those 80 years in Korea. In the city of Seoul alone, Columbans established 25 parishes.

The 80-year celebrations of missionary presence in Korea will continue until the Second Sunday of Easter this year, 27 April, and will give thanks to God for the work of Columbans in nine different dioceses throughout the country.

Pope Francis will be in Korea from 14 to 18 August to take part in the sixth Asian Youth Day in Daejon. He will also preside at the beatification of 124 Korean martyrs.

World AIDS Day 2013

This year World AIDS Day is observed on 1 December. Here we feature three Columban missionaries working with persons affected by AIDS/HIV, Sr Mary Dillon, an Irish Columban Sister in Myanmar, Jhoanna Resari from the Philippines and Kim Jung-Woong (Bosco) from Korea, two Columban Lay Missionaries in Taiwan.

When I pray the Our Father

By Maira San Juan

Maira San Juan is from Taytay, Rizal, near Manila, and worked as a Columban Lay Missionary in Korea from 2007 till the end of 2012.

It’s been five years since I arrived in Korea as a Columban Lay Missionary from the Philippines. Since my nine months of language study I have been immersed in ministry with a community of persons with AIDS. On my first day there I felt a mixture of excitement and fear: excitement because it was my first time meeting people living with HIV and I was curious to know how they were coping after learning that they were HIV-positive; fear because at the back of my mind I was thinking I might get the HIV virus through them since we ate at the same table, used the same toilet, talked to each other and so on. But through the years I have been with them, my thinking and feelings have changed, not only about them but also about life, about people, about me and about God. Being a missionary involved in AIDS ministry has helped me to grow not only as a person but also as a woman called by God to be a part of his mission. Throughout my journey, the prayer that has helped me and acquired a new personal meaning is the Lord’s Prayer.