2 November, 2020
2020 Christmas Appeal Newsletter
To All Our Companions in Mission
This year Christmas will be unlike any we have known before. Only last Christmas there were isolated reports about a virus that was affecting people in one province of China. Since then we have experienced a global pandemic.
Here in New Zealand, our geographical isolation and prompt government action have ensured that we have been safeguarded from the experience of many other countries around the world. Nevertheless, we have undergone level 4 lockdown for a month and, since then, tried to ensure that our borders are secure. We have also had to deal with the emergence of local clusters and the need to briefly return to level 2 or 3 in order to contain the spread of Covid-19. Still, we are aware that this pandemic is going to remain with us for a while longer.
What affect has this pandemic had on us as Columbans? There are a number of Columbans isolated in various parts of the world. One unusual case is that of one of our priests who went to Kiribati in March which was supposed to be a couple of weeks to promote Columban vocations. After six months he is still there!
Ling and Sophia depart for Britain
We were fortunate to arrange for our two lay missionaries to make their way to England where they were appointed.
Ling and Sophia with Fr Tom (middle) Fr Don (Left) and Fr David at Wellington Airport before departing for Birmingham, Britain
But now with the new wave of COVID 19, they have emerged from their time of managed isolation in Birmingham to find that they are very much restricted in what they can do. Read more
Soup kitchens in Santiago, Chile
Despite severe lockdown regimes, Columbans in various countries have been able to provide for families that have been left without access to employment or food. One example is the soup kitchens that were set up in the parish of St Columban in Santiago, Chile. Read more
At the San Columbano Parish Soup Kitchen in Santiago
Death of Father Paul Prendergast
One New Zealand Columban, Fr Paul Prendergast, died in Peru on 23 August. His funeral in the Andes could only be attended by a limited number of people. The people of his parish in the Andes look forward to a more fitting memorial service after this pandemic has passed.
Fr Paul Prendergast
Meanwhile, here in New Zealand, Fr Paul’s family celebrated a memorial mass in Hamilton in October. May he rest in peace. Read more
70 Years of Priesthood
In Victoria, Australia, Columban Fr Chris Baker celebrated 70 years of priesthood. Sadly, only 12 Columbans who live with him in the Columban house in Melbourne were able to be there to celebrate with him.
So despite restrictions, we continue to live out our call to mission in these vaious countries. For this reason, we continue to seek support for our work and thank you very sincerely for your continued prayers and support.
Let us pray together for our world, pray that we may look forward to the day when this pandemic will become a memory of the past.
Meanwhile, may this Christmas be a time to remember how the birth of one child makes a difference to the way we believe and understand how God chooses to relate to our world, not as one who stands at a distance but as one who intimately embraces the pain of a global community as we struggle to move beyond this pandemic.
Fr Tom Rouse
Columban Leader New Zealand
Support the Columban Christmas Appeal 2020.
St Columbans - Lower Hutt
St Columbans Mission Society
PO Box 30-017
Lower Hutt 5040
Phone: 04 567 7216