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The Magazine of the Missionary Society of St. Columban

November 2012

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Justice in the World Justice attains its inner fullness only in love1. The 1971 Synod of Bishops from Asia, Latin America, and Africa issued a statement called, “Justice in the World.” Written at the time of great global social and political upheaval and on the heels of the Second Vatican Council, we hear the Church calling for a radical re-structuring of the world where the first will be last and the last will be first (Mt. 20:16) and where we define our neighbor not by nationality, race, or creed, but by a love that impels us to be in relationship in the world especially with the vulnerable and marginalized. I can remember my first encounter with that kind of all-consuming, boundary-defying love. As a child I would pour over the pages of a photo journal of missionaries working in India. The images on the pages were paradoxically shadowed yet illuminated. Love flowed freely in and through the hands and feet, eyes and bellies of the people on the pages. Vision was blurred between who was being served and who was serving. For twenty years I searched to find the same love in those pages again, only this time in flesh and blood. I found them when I went to Chile and began working with Columban missionaries. While the poverty I saw was not as extreme as in the pages of the photo journal, I could not escape a new awareness that the poverty that existed in Chile and throughout Latin America came from the same sources as in India, Africa, and countless other places n o any ords around the world. I had yet to read Justice in the World, By Amy Woolam but my heart had found the meaning of those words. Echeverria The veil of oppression is lifted when we can see with new eyes, hear with new ears and love with a new heart. When we can name greed, violence, exclusion, and exploitation as the root causes of much of the world’s suffering, we begin to walk the road to healing. But words are not enough. When we read Church documents like Rerum Novarum (1891), Peace on Earth (1963), Populorum Progressio (1967), Justice in Our World (1971), Caritas en Veritate (2009), we hear the Church calling us to action as an integral part of living our faith. Again, from Justice in Our World, “Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel, or, in other words, of the Church’s mission for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation.” 2 An authentic experience of God’s love can bring a pain so deep that the only way to find solace is to release that same love back to the world.



The veil of oppression is lifted when we can see with new eyes, hear with new ears and love with a new heart.

1 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World. 1971. p7, #34 2 Ibid, p2, #6

Amy Woolam Echeverria is the director of the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach in Washington, D.C.

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The Left and Bereft Emigration Breaks Relationships By Fr. Bobby Gilmore

The modern city is a place where everyone’s a stranger, so it seems, on his way to somewhere else…Yet what makes an airport especially curious is that its look-alike settings are the scenes for the most emotional moments in our public lives. People break down at departure gates…Part of the pathos and stress of the airport is that lives are being changed irreversibly, and people have nothing to steady themselves with but a Coffee People outlet, a Sky Plaza…all the comforts of home, made impersonal. ~ Pico Iyer, The Global Soul In school in the 1950s our teacher at the national school pondered on emigration seeing it as a failure of the Ireland he belonged to. It was as present as the rain in the area in which I grew up. Every family had someone who was an emigrant and would be an emigrant. They were resigned to a future that would see the past repeated. I didn’t understand his anguish about emigration. The returning emigrants that I knew were home on holidays, well groomed and dressed and with money in their pockets. I wondered why the anguish about emigration and the traumatic, grief-laden departures. “The village seems strange; this is separation as if my beloved has left it. The grief of separation is so cruel that it is not scared of anyone;” ~ Shahzeb Faqir 4

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In October 1956, I was at Galway railway station waiting for the Dublin train that would take me back to college after playing a rugby match. The station master announced that this train was bound for Dun Laoire and the mail boat to Holyhead. As people made their way into the station my attention got locked into a group in front of me. The group was comprised of a man, woman and three children, a family. The man carried a small suitcase indicating that he was traveling. They stood close together and carried on a conversation that was for themselves only. The children were huddled between both parents giving the impression of a clutch of chickens. Eventually, the station master announced that those with tickets should board the train. The scene changed. The wife, mother, picked up the suitcase and handed it to her husband and children’s father. In

doing so she was asserting her new role as both father and mother. She gave the suitcase to her husband. He took it and left it at his feet. She beckoned the children to give their father a hug which they individually did and then she did the same. She said, Dia Leath and he replied Dia Liv. She took a handkerchief from her pocket, wiped his tears as he stepped towards the train. She then wiped the children’s eyes and lastly her own. As I stepped on to the train I too cried. There and then I understood the full meaning of emigration. Primary relationships broken, husband without wife, wife without husband, children without a father, a father without his children. A mother playing two roles. All separated, gone and left behind. As I traveled back on the train I pondered the scene at the station. Having left home to go to boarding school my own goings

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and comings over the previous few years flashed through my memory. Homecomings were happy occasions, departures were heart rending, not just for myself but also for my mother and father. We were all losing something of each other that only afterwards we could articulate. It wasn’t just me that was hurting at losing them. They were hurting too on losing me. There was loss on both sides, and all of us had to deal with loss in our own way. There were no lectures about leaving home, emigrating. Anything we knew about leaving home was picked up by observation at moments of departure, going away parties, American wakes. It was an awkward time. Indeed, there were some who could not deal with departure by the front door, so to speak, so they just left without saying goodbye, by the back door. Leaving by the back door was a cause for greater grief because parents were left to wonder if the silent departure was their fault. This grief took a much longer time to heal as parents were left to ponder why they were rejected, abandoned. Years later, retuning on holidays from overseas I was visiting my neighbors. Emigration had begun again. In one house I visited, three children had just departed. A cloud of grief filled the house. All of a sudden a father and mother were left behind. One could touch the emptiness. They were trying to understand the causes of emigration and at the same time deal with the porousness of their emotions. In the conversation one of them said, “Ah, the houses are quiet now,” and the other said, “sure, and the countryside is quiet too.” That said it all. Those who left had to deal with the hole in their hearts, culture shock, the discomfort of the unfamiliar and

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the fact that they were not at home anymore. Those left behind, the bereft, had to realize that those who had left were not going to be at home anymore. All, those at home and away, were on their own now. Primary relationships were broken. They would not be the same again. New aspects of these relationships would have to be invented. Those having left would develop tourist brochure memories, of home, parents and friends that they would in times of confusion seek shelter in. Those left behind would do likewise. The danger of frozen tourist brochure memories is that they can become prisons of nostalgia that are difficult to break out of. Sadly, governments and other institutions of society are slow to get involved in enabling people with relevant information so that the emigration experience becomes productive and healthy for all concerned. It is not a lack of knowledge that has kept it away from people. Unfortunately, emigration is looked at through the lenses of economics, loss of a national asset by the emigration countries, the gain of an asset for free by those nations that receive them. Immigrants are commodified as units of labor needed in economic prosperity, discarded in economic failure, and often scapegoated in elections. Since the demise of communism, new enemies are needed. This time immigrants are portrayed as a risk generally mentioned in the same media sentence as terrorists and drug traffickers. Emigration, a journey of hope of the heart in the internal landscape of the soul, was always a risk and still is. Why turn on those who generate economies by their work and at home by their remittances? European history has a tendency to scapegoat the

weakest minority. Is the only certainty we learn from history that we do not learn anything from history? The task of migrant nations, like Ireland, calls for at least an awareness of the emigrant condition and to recognize the contributions they make at home and away. Emigrants deserve decent services, objective information and recognition. It is important to remember that it was the success of those Irish abroad that gave confidence to the people at home in the past. Irish emigrant remittances between 1950-65 from Britain was the equivalent of seven billion £s. Yet, the Irish government was slow to involve itself during difficult times in the Irish Diaspora. Also, the Irish government does not hesitate about running to the Diaspora seeking help having bailed out those at home that caused the economic malaise. Tommy was my neighbor in Montego Bay. A fine looking young fellow. His mother saw no future at

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home. When Tommy was five she left for the United States leaving Tommy in care of a relative. She sent back money for Tommy’s education. I got to know him, because he asked me to write letters to his mother in New York. The relative did not value education leaving Tommy illiterate. He also had a serious stammer. Neighbors related that his stammer set in after his mother emigrated. They believed that Tommy’s stammer was caused by the shock and loss of his mother’s departure. Grace Nichols, the Jamaican poet, catches the grief and loss of those left behind. In small populated island nations, branch economies like Jamaica and Ireland, emigration to the trunk economies is always on the horizon.

“His cane-shot eyes his voice cracked as he wails what his bones know for certain: ‘Nevaar to meet again Nevaar to meet again.’ Come, Hanuman, only your many arms can help console this manstill waving to an empty sky the white flag of his handkerchief.” ~ Grace Nichols, Jamaican poet Columban Fr. Bobby Gilmore lives and works in Ireland.

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Chocolate Nations Living and Dying for Cocoa in West Africa By Anne Lanyon


hocolate is an ideal case study of the injustice of globalization. That’s why I use it to educate about the connections between peace, ecology and justice. Chocolate is our treat, our comfort snack, even our addiction. Yet those who actually grow the main ingredient, cocoa beans, don’t eat chocolate. Nor does growing it even come close to giving them a decent life. Out of the global market of U.S. $75 billion in 2008, Ghana earned U.S. $1.26 billion. Yet cocoa farmers get a measly 4% of the price of an average chocolate bar. Australians are said to eat the most Easter eggs per person in the world, but like most people, probably don’t give a second thought to those who produce the chocolate. How can this happen? The book Chocolate Nations by Orla Ryan and published

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by Zed Books United Kingdom, shines a light on answers to this question. Experienced in the world of finance journalism in the U.K., Orla lived in Ghana for two years. Her book looks in detail at the two principal cocoa growing nations, Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire, using a narrative style that includes personal stories which connect the real lives of people to a factual study of the complex issues involved in the production and marketing of cocoa beans. They tell of peasant farmers’ hopes being dashed, national leaders who led their countries into poverty and strife, power struggles, disappeared journalists, fights to the death over land, a culture of fear and suspicion, cocoa taxes being siphoned into the purchase of weapons to maintain a political leader and civil war. They tell of well-meaning efforts to eradicate slave labor, to develop a local chocolate industry and to get a better deal for cocoa farmers. Cocoa came originally from South America where it has cultural

significance, but not so in West Africa. It was brought there in the late 19th century and did well because of the suitable rainfall, temperature and humidity. Upon independence, rainforest was cleared, roads built, the number of small farms increased, and by the middle 20th century, cocoa beans had become the dominant economic base. Fifty years later, both Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire struggled under the weight of debt, the early promise had died and the farmers were left at the bottom of the cocoa chain. The book deals with the history of this, for example, Nkrumah was hailed as a hero in Ghana, but he set up the system that has impoverished its people. Cocobod, the marketing board, provided cocoa funds for development. Unfortunately, it fixed prices, and the farmers had to pay high taxes. Because of tumbling prices, after fifteen years it went from being in surfeit to $1 billion in debt in 1966. The key is that cocoa is produced from two million November 2012

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small farms. It is the life blood of Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire. Huge multinational chocolate manufacturers such as Cadbury, now subsumed into gigantic Kraft, and powerful exporting companies like Cargill, who make enormous profits, are all dependent on these small farms where in Ghana they earn 42 cents a day. In Cote D’Ivoire, the farmers earn even less. All the family has to work, including the children. Farming practices are poor, and trees are prone to disease. Child labor is used, and some of them are slaves. Education is lacking. Roads and infrastructure are poor. Farm life in remote rural areas is hard, and most young people drift to the city to find work. Farmers have to contend with marketing boards which reward government friends and buyers who curry favor with the regulator. They are at the mercy of fluctuating global price swings or the price the government is willing to pay them.

We support Fair Trade chocolate as a way of assisting the poor growers. Orla critiques Fair Trade as one small part of the picture and says it is not in itself a solution because of all the other parts of the picture. She features Kuapa Koko as a successful Ghanean Fair Trade cooperative to show what can be achieved. Because demand outstrips supply, the industry no longer assumes there is enough cocoa to meet our appetite. Therefore, chocolate manufacturers have had to get involved in efforts to improve cocoa farmers’ lives. The facts are that farmers lack a voice in the power relationships of manufacturers, traders,

supermarkets and governments. They need accountable political leadership, education and land reform. Companies need to be transparent and fair in their dealings with the farmers. The bottom line according to Orla Ryan is that chocolate lovers will have to get used to paying more. The bottom line according to us is that chocolate lovers need to find out more about what they are consuming and realize that there is an unjust system that they are part of that is destroying rainforest, causing conflict and keeping people in poverty while a powerful few make a profit. Having learned more by, for example reading this book, they then need to reflect and pray about the right thing to do, then connect with others to take action for justice. CM Anne Lanyon is the Coordinator of the Columban Mission Institute, Center for Peace, Ecology and Justice Sydney, Australia.

2012 Jubilarians 50th Jubilee Bill Brunner Francis Carroll Tom Cusack John Hogan

The Missionary Society of St. Columban wishes to congratulate the 2012 Jubilarians 8

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Donald Kelley John Smith

60th Jubilee Brian Gallagher

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Mission to Tackle Climate Change Columban JPIC in the United Kingdom By Ellen Teague


ne conversation stands out for me from when I was a young lay missionary in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna 30 years ago. Over a beer one night, an elderly neighbor, Baba Kofi, was asked about the changes he had seen in the city. “You know, when I first came to this place it was just a few houses in a forest clearing, and I could hear hyenas and other wildlife at night.” I could hardly believe there was WWW.COLUMBAN.ORG

once a forest in a region which was so dry and desert-like. Within one person’s lifetime, the settlement from which people walked into the forest to meet their daily needs for food had become a vast city of several million people teeming with shantytowns. So began my interest in the links between development and environment. It was around five years later that I recalled that conversation again. Based in London, I was

the campaign coordinator for the Renewing the Earth campaign of CAFOD, the Catholic development agency in England and Wales, and Columban Fr. Sean McDonagh was brought in as a consultant. The issue of global warming had been mentioned in his first and recently published book “To Care for the Earth,” and the Irish missionary, with twenty years of experience in the Philippines, urged that climate change become one of the issues of the campaign. Drought and disruption of food patterns had been a significant factor in the 1984 Ethiopian famine and other humanitarian emergencies, but talk of climate change was not taken seriously. Despite a growing number of scientists suggesting that humans were having an impact on the global climate, most people refused to believe it. Another two decades passed before CAFOD November 2012


and international Catholic agencies featured climate change in their campaigning work. However, Columban JPIC, backed by the expertise of Fr. Sean McDonagh, had been lobbying all that time. The Columbans, inspired by Fr. Sean, were warning about climate change twenty years before the scientific consensus finally proved it was happening. And the Columbans were groundbreaking again when their JPIC contacts gathered in Manila in September 2007 to focus on the issue. Columbans in Asia, China and Korea were concerned about dust descending upon their countries from the Gobi Desert expanding due to global warming. Those in Peru reported that the number of emergencies related to natural disasters had increased six fold over the past two decades and that 22% of Peru’s tropical glaciers had melted away in the past 25 years. The meltwater from these glaciers provided water for major urban conurbations, such as Lima. Climate change has been one of our four primary JPIC objectives for some years, the others being migration, mining and patenting of life. This means significant time is spent on it by our team of Fr. Peter Hughes, Fr. Frank Nally and me. In recent years we have been involved in planning and supporting a religious lobby of parliament on climate change, and “The Wave” demonstration in December 2010 where 60,000 people marched through London demanding action at the Copenhagen Climate Summit. In advance of that march there was a service attended by 2,500 Christians which the Columbans helped organize. Our strategy has led us to take every opportunity to join with others. We played our part in the lobby of the U.K. government to introduce the world’s first Climate 10

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Act and establish a Green Climate Fund through our web work, printed materials and advocacy. With climate change being a key concern in at the Rio+20 Earth Summit, June 2012, in Brazil we joined the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition of agencies and joined in their awareness raising work in the lead-up. We promoted an internet lobby of British members of parliament ahead of the summit, asking them to sign up to the Rio-U.K. Declaration that “the U.K. should lead the world in the transition to a fair and green economy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and protect biodiversity.” We urged them to deliver on the commitments under the Climate Change Act. Two weeks before Rio+20 we promoted and attended a meeting set up by church agencies to engage with Caroline Spelman MP, Secretary of State for the Environment, who was Britain’s representative at Rio. She acknowledged that the churches had an important role in advocacy work on sustainable development. After the meeting, I put into her hand a statement and briefing produced by the National Justice and Peace Network (NJPN) called “A Transformative Agenda for Sustainable Development.” I drafted the statement as chair of the Network’s Environment Working Group. We called for the world leaders not to back track on commitments made at the first Earth Summit in 1992, both the principles and the legally binding treaties, one of which tackled climate change. The statement said, As members of the global movements for climate, water and food justice, NJPN wishes to echo those who are expressing deep concern for the false solutions proposed in the name of reducing carbon emissions and combating global warming. Market mechanisms that

commodify nature have not only failed to reduce global warming at a sufficient rate, but serve to create ownership and profitability of natural resources that belong to the global commons and must be protected in the public trust. Religious leaders and agencies in Britain used Ash Wednesday 2012 as a call to all Christians to repent for the “shrug-culture” existing towards climate change. Operation Noah, a Christian climate change lobby, released its Ash Wednesday Declaration. This was a sevenpoint call to action based around Biblical themes about creation and humanity’s responsibility to care for it. We were represented at the public launch service in St. MaryLe-Bow Anglican church in the City of London. Subtitled Climate Change and the Purposes of God: a call to the Church the Declaration stated that global warming and its effects raise questions central to the Christian faith. It highlighted seven areas, including Finding joy in creation, Repenting our polluting habits, Taking responsibility for creating a new sustainable economy, and Acting with hope. For myself, I have written a study program on climate change and the Church’s Social Teaching for Operation Noah, which is downloadable on the internet. Another example of Columban JPIC linking in with other Christians is Christian Ecology Link’s Eco-Cell program which helps small groups work together to reduce their carbon footprints. The Columbans congratulated Christian Ecology Link earlier this year for its work across the Christian denominations for 30 years to link faith and environment. In March, I chaired a session at Christian Ecology Link’s 30th anniversary conference where the current push for economic growth by politicians and financial institutions was questioned by environmentalist and WWW.COLUMBAN.ORG

keynote speaker Jonathon Porritt. “Economic growth is kept at the heart of our model of progress despite plenty of scientific evidence about the scale of environmental problems,” said Porritt, “and many believe so firmly that technology will one day solve these problems that the growth paradigm goes unchallenged.” The only growth that is sustainable is “growth that doesn’t entail destruction of the Earth’s natural capital.” A packed audience of around 150 Christian environmental activists was urged to re-examine the notion of wealth as meaning wellness rather than simply money. “After 100 years of suicidal growth it is still possible to change our dire situation,” he said, “but we need to strain each sinew to do so – and call in aid every spiritual resource.” We are often looked to for talks on Creation Theology, highlighting the work of theologians such as Thomas Berry and Elizabeth Johnson. We find Catholic groups very interested in discussing WWW.COLUMBAN.ORG

humanity’s place in Creation. Specific initiatives pushed by Columban JPIC U.K. include the live simply parish award scheme, which encourages parishes to demonstrate ways in which they are changing the way they impact on the environment and supporting communities in developing countries. It is fairly new, so only a handful of parishes are involved, but we advertise the development of the award in our own media. Talking of media, we upgraded the Columbans U.K. website in July 2011 and started up Columbans U.K. Facebook and Twitter accounts. Social media has been an excellent tool in spreading news about Columban mission on a daily basis. Twitter especially has built up a following of people and organizations. We not only tweet Columban news but retweet links and news from other organizations. Information on climate change features daily. On Facebook too we share material coming from such sources as the

Catholic Climate Coalition in the U.S., Catholic Earthcare Australia, the Vatican and Columban JPIC internationally. Our Vocation for Justice newsletter goes out three times a year, to around 8,000 people, and articles are placed in Catholic papers whenever possible. This is combined with group media work, such as talks to head teachers and Justice and Peace Groups. It means the Columbans are regarded as having an expertise within the Church in the U.K. on climate change and on environmental justice generally. Finally, I have been involved in moves these past few years to bring environmental concerns into the structure of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Indeed, in the past, Fr. Sean McDonagh has been consulted about the way forward by the Bishops’ Conference secretariat. I sit on the national Catholic Environmental Justice Group and feed in Columban perspectives and resources. Last year’s report of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on mountain glaciers in the anthropocene was discussed by the group in its last meeting. I also sit on the Campaign Working Group of CAFOD and have been involved in the organization of their Climate and Water campaigns. Yet, I feel the more exciting and challenging initiatives are to be found in the alliances we have formed with other Christian denominations and with secular agencies, plus the contacts we are building up with social media. CM

Ellen Teague has worked for the Columbans U.K. JPIC team for 22 years.

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Social Media A New Language By Amy Woolam Echeverria

I’m old-school when it comes to technology. In grade school my teacher would send me to the office to make copies on the mimeograph machine. In high school I learned how to type…on a typewriter. In college I used the card catalogue to find books, and I did my research on microfilm machines. I used to carry change so that I could make a phone call from a phone booth if needed. I can remember the time and place when I first heard about email and internet. The idea of sending a letter electronically and without a stamp was absolutely foreign to me. In contrast, the students I work with in our Advocacy Internship program cannot remember life without internet, Facebook, touchphones or i-pods. They Google, like, and tweet their way through learning, relationships, and life. Theirs is a new language which like any other language must be studied, learned, and practiced if one hopes to have any fluency. In the ten years I’ve been in our JPIC ministry, much has changed about how we mobilize our grassroots base, share information with our colleagues around the world, and engage policy makers on the issues. For example, with technological capabilities like e-blasts, with the click of the mouse we can send letters to the entire Congress sharing our Columban story and urging for an action. Similarly, by posting a story 12

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on Facebook, which is linked to our website, we have the potential to reach thousands of supporters in a call to action. It brings new meaning to, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation.” (Mk 16:15) But why should we and the Church make the effort to learn and use this language? The same reason that Jesus told parables and that St. Paul wrote letters, because each age has its tools for evangelization. The message is meaningless unless it can be spoken and delivered in a way that the audience can meaningfully hear it.

stories that drew from everyday life. Jesus spoke the language of the people of His time, used examples from their daily lives and offered it all in a mode they appreciated. And if He did not consider speaking in familiar styles as undignified, then why should we? This oral tradition is one that has kept the Church alive throughout history especially in times of persecution. Considered the first missionary, I would add that St. Paul could also be named the first blogger of the Church. Surely he would have Facebook and Twitter accounts! Through extensive letter writing

Jesus spoke the language of the people of His time, used examples from their daily lives and offered it all in a mode they appreciated. From story-telling and the written word, to radio, television, and now the internet and social media, the Church is challenged to both speak the language of its day, without losing its core message of justice, love, peace, and right relationships. Jesus was a master story-teller. As Fr. James Martin, S.J., explains, “Jesus spoke in a language that people understood and used media that people found accessible.” Using a mode of communication specifically designed to reach his audience, Jesus’ parables were vivid

and preaching, St. Paul tirelessly spread the Good News. Similar to today’s world of “latest-news” communication, there was always a sense of urgency and timeliness in his message. Paul’s love of Christ compelled him to the ends of the earth when he exclaimed, “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1Cor 9:16) Just as Paul’s mission was to bring social change to his time through the spreading of the Gospel, today the Church’s message is meant to bring WWW.COLUMBAN.ORG

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…we believe that creating an online community for people to encounter Christ is as valid today as St. Paul’s home churches were for iPad

early Christians.

transformation and healing to our world. Using social media like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are some of the ways we can challenge structures and change lives in ways that reflect our missionary calling to be cross-cultural. As one social media activist writes, “The key work of [social] change continues to operate on a person-to-person level because relationships are how people make real change. Today, social media tools, can disseminate messages quickly on platforms that cross boundaries of age, gender, race, and economic status, making online organizing an effective method for gathering, inspiring, and translating collective power into common solutions.” For missionaries, anything that can help break down barriers and bring people together is something that should be taken seriously. The Church has been a strong proponent of using social media. Pope Benedict XVI said in his message on the 2010 World Day of Communication, “Church communities have always used WWW.COLUMBAN.ORG

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the modern media for fostering communication, engagement with society, and, increasingly, for encouraging dialogue at a wider level.” Even the Vatican is on Facebook! Ultimately, social media is a tool for evangelization, an e-vite to bringing the Gospel to our world. As missionaries, we understand the importance of meeting people where there are and using the language that speaks to their hearts. The Columban online invitation takes people to where

For missionaries, anything that can help break down barriers and bring people together is something that should be taken seriously.

they feel they are being called; maybe it’s an online donation, or receiving e-updates about a specific project, or responding to an e-advocacy calling for more just and sustainable legislation. Whatever it is, we believe that creating an online community for people to encounter Christ is as valid today as St. Paul’s home churches were for early Christians. What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. (1Jn 1:3) Nothing can replace a flesh and bone human encounter, but through modern technology, we can build communities that bring us into relationship, move us to action, and sustain us in our faith. CM Amy Woolam Echeverria is the director of the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach in Washington, D.C.

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Carbon in Soils

It’s Important! By Fr. Charles Rue


few years back I wrote Let the Son Shine: an Australian Response to Climate Change. The booklet summarizes many issues common to the western world and gathers major Catholic environmental teachings. It was framed in the Cardinal Cardign method of See-Judge-Act. As an update, I am sharing my experience of meeting scientists, farmers and consumers of food who focus on the importance of carbon in soils. Soil scientists explained to me the two vital roles carbon plays in soils. First, soils are a nature given sink for large amounts


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of atmospheric carbon with measurable value as a tradeable commodity; and second, carbon in soils is an essential component for producing plentiful and healthy food. Microbiologists explain that the process of soil creation moves through long and many stages – from rock through single cell bacteria, microbes, fungi, organic matter, carbon, worms and the like culminating in the humus which supports plant life and the animals which depend on it. It may not be an interesting subject for some, but it gave me a sense of awe. Nature’s system for the continuing refertilization of soil is an evolved recycling system. Forms of farming that only take from the soil disrupt this system and its organic mix. In a double whammy, human management has often disrupted nature’s balanced system. First it has increased the percentage of carbon gases released into the atmosphere so changing growing conditions, and second, it has decreased the ability of soils to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. A push to promote techniques to deposit more carbon in soils is often led by farmers who need a property that both supports them financially and preserves soil health. A push for healthy soils is also coming from consumers who want to offer healthy and nutritious food for themselves and their family. I have met many farmers and food consumers who out of common interest have formed cooperatives around farmers markets and foodie events. The three groups together are a great example of solidarity. The scientific links between climate change, food and soil carbon has been made.

While efforts to promote energy efficiency and alternative sources of energy to fossil fuels get a lot of press, actually reducing the levels of carbon in the atmosphere, taking carbon out of the atmosphere, is the other half of the equation. Soils are already a sink for atmospheric carbon, but the process needs to be positively managed to increase the amounts of carbon deposited in soils. Managers suggest three stages: enlist the understanding of players in the agricultural industry about the importance of carbon in soils and their cooperation; develop step by step carbon techniques to bury carbon using better farm management practices; put in place financial mechanisms that benefit this positive management action. Carbon trading is one option. Meeting people concerned with the carbon content of soils resonated with my experience of a decade of campaigning about the dangers of genetically modified foods (GMOs). It seems that disrupting soil organisms can impact on healthy bacteria in the human gut. Publicly available long term testing and labeling of transgenic foods is needed but is not easy to get under counter pressure from international seed and agricultural chemical companies. Even the law has been dragooned to serve them through patenting laws. I am grateful to the many farmers, consumers and scientists who have taught me that soil carbon is important in both the climate and food debates, issues for my living as a Catholic and missionary priest. CM Columban Fr. Charles Rue lives and works in Australia.

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We Shall Overcome

Promoting Hope By Euikyun Carlo Jung


ince I was assigned at the Christ the King Catholic Parish in Ba, Fiji, for my First Mission Assignment (FMA), I have seen the people who are having a difficult time recovering from the recent major floods. However, I am sure that they have not lost their hope, “We shall overcome.” When I was studying at the Columban International Theologate in Chicago, Illinois, I had the privilege to experience how people overcome their difficulties in many different ways— campaigns, protests, support and sympathy. However, it was when I spent a month at the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach in Washington, D.C., that I learned about the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) ministry. When I was at the CCAO office, I was concentrating on some issues, such as the Keystone Pipeline XL Project, the water situation in Fiji, and the Four Rivers Restoration Project in South WWW.COLUMBAN.ORG

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Korea. Moreover, I had many occasions to attend hearings at Congress (both the Senate and the House of Representatives). One of the most valuable things I learned at the CCAO office was building better relationships with other seminarians through better communication. After I returned to Chicago from the CCAO office, I began to promote an internet phone conference. Many seminarians have participated in this meeting and discussed local issues, such as climate change, and the water situation in Fiji, and extractive industries in the Philippines. The meeting provides an opportunity to the Columban seminarians to be united in our shared vocation of missionary priesthood. Furthermore, I hope all Columban seminarians promote the JPIC ministries when we become priests. CM Euikyun Carlo Jung is a Columban seminarian.

Map of the Four Rivers Restoration Project in South Korea

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Walking Lightly on the Earth The Spirit and Practice of Simple Living by Fr. bill morton


e are facing tremendous pressure to change our lifestyles for the sake of our health, the well-being of our neighbor and the good of our shared planet. What would our lives look like if we took Gospel values and Catholic social teaching seriously? What wisdom might we find from our parents and grandparents; our ancestors who were hunter-gatherers, farmers, fishermen and artisans, who knew how to live in harmony with the earth and were frugal “waste not, want not” people? How might we deepen our faith and our experience of God by entering into a process of learning to live more simply so that others may simply live? Recently, I had the pleasure of teaching a class on simple living at the Tepyac Summer Institute in the Diocese of El Paso, Texas. Like those who attended the class, I imagine many of you have been simplifying your lives in big and small ways: purchasing reusable bags for the supermarket trips, reducing your time in the shower, using recycled water for plants, lawns, even flushing the toilet, recycling plastic water bottles, or simply swearing off bottled water altogether, using more fuel-efficient cars or making more use of public transportation, and reducing your use of air conditioning and heating just to name a few. This brief article is to thank you for your efforts, to encourage you in these practices 16

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and to offer more motivation from a Christian perspective as to why we can and should do more as faithful stewards of God’s creation and friends of the poor.

Learning from Our Elders

As a child in the late fifties and early sixties, I can still see my Dad bundling the newspapers and cardboard, carefully tying them up in packets with used string from the bakery boxes and putting them on top of the trashcans so an elderly gentleman in an old truck could pick them up and sell them. No waste. Economic stimulation. Community building. In that same house on Old York Road in Philadelphia, when the milk was finished, the bottle was rinsed and placed outside for the milkman to pick up the next day and take back to the factory where it was cleaned and refilled and sent out with another half-gallon of milk. No trash except for the little paper or aluminum cap on the bottle. There was a sense of responsibility on our part to ensure that bottle continued its mission unabated. Breaking a bottle or dropping the carrier with four empty bottles was a serious offense in my house. Most, if not all, of the costs of each half gallon of milk were included in the price my folks paid. The producer had to calculate the cost of the bottle, the milk, the delivery, cleaning and refilling the bottle, etc., before setting the price. There were few, if any, externalized costs.

We—or many of you—could go on from here to list the customs and practices of your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, that were radically environmentally friendly, long before that word was ever used. Later producers of milk and other beverages discovered they could externalize costs by using disposable bottles, cans or cartons. No longer did we pay a deposit on the bottle; we just threw away the empty plastic or aluminum container. Who paid for that? The city? Our tax dollars? The trashed river? Increasingly industry learned to outsource and contract both at home and overseas so that even though it says the bottle of water costs $1.20, in fact, the true costs monetarily, environmentally and socially—especially for the poor— were many times $1.20. You would be amazed at the different players involved in my one bottle of water and the costs that they and the planet pay for it. I wonder what our frugal ancestors think when they see us paying 2,000 times as much money to drink a couple ounces of water out of a plastic bottle rather than tap water. And how advertisers and marketers have brainwashed us using “manufactured demand” to think we need bottled water, that it tastes better and is purer. We could reverse this insanity overnight if we wanted. The church’s concern about social issues is nothing new. Even

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Solar panels recently added to the roof will save money and energy resources.

a cursory reading of the Gospels shows Jesus’ constant concern for the physical, emotional, social and spiritual well being of the human person. While on earth, Jesus went about feeding the hungry, healing the sick and working to protect the dignity of social outcasts like prostitutes, tax collectors and lepers all while bringing comfort to those so afflicted and scandal to those who consider themselves righteous in God’s sight. Not surprisingly, then, one of the strongest forces promoting more responsible attitudes toward the environment and more compassion for those who suffer most from environmental degradation is the Catholic Church. Our tradition of social teaching, which centers, primarily, on the common good and love of neighbor, leaves us well equipped to think, pray and act in accordance with the values of Christ. The principle of the common good, since its articulation by the ancient Greeks, has evolved in our understanding of how it should be applied to contemporary society. The state and society in general should be organized in a way to benefit all of its members justly and no individual or group can be treated unjustly for the benefit or convenience of others. A few examples would be wage theft, the prohibition against slavery and child labor. The principle of the common good, to which every aspect of

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social life must be related if it is to attain its fullest meaning, stems from the dignity, unity and equality of all people. According to its primary and broadly accepted sense, the common good indicates “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.” Catholic Compendium of Social Doctrine, no. 164 Today we would include environmental degradation as a sin or crime against the common good. A manufacturer who knowingly produces a product in a way that contaminates the drinking water supply of the local community is going against the common good for the sake of profits. Catholic ethics further articulate that the common good should be the criteria for the ways we structure ourselves politically, economically, socially and, today, environmentally. Focus on the common good ensures that every member of society is seen as having the same dignity and rights; in other words, that we are a community. This teaching can be in conflict with the individualism of western culture that often pits individual rights and needs over and against the common good and the environment.

One specific principle that helps explain the church’s emphasis on the common good is what the church calls the “universal destination of goods” and it’s listed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (No. 2401) in the section that deals with the Seventh Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Steal! The church believes that all of nature’s gifts are created by God (Genesis 1:1—2:4a) and that every human being on the earth has a right to share in these goods. We need to ask ourselves, “How is this consumption complying with Jesus’ command that I love my neighbor as myself? How am I personally participating in this unfair distribution of the goods created by God meant to be shared by all? What am I willing to do to change my own lifestyle for the sake of the poor?” If you would like to practice more voluntary simplicity for the sake of the common good and the poor, read up on our Catholic social teaching. And share it with others. Blessed Pope John Paul II said “The teaching and spreading of her social doctrine are part of the Church’s evangelizing mission.” Solicitudo Rei Socialis, 41 We are living in a time of planetary crisis and can be overwhelmed by its dimensions. But if we look at it as part of our personal and communal conversion and transformation, we can begin to do something right now. CM Columban Fr. Bill Morton lives and works in El Paso, Texas.

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A Timeline of Catholic Social Teachings Related to JPIC by grant goodman

1891-On the Condition of Labor (Rerum Novarum) ~ Pope Leo XIII This social encyclical addresses the dehumanizing conditions in which many workers labor and affirms workers’ rights to just wages, rest, and fair treatment, to form unions, and to strike if necessary. The Pope wrote this in a time of social change that encompassed a growing movement for democracy and an increasingly popular appeal of socialism. Pope Leo XIII criticizes both capitalism for its tendency toward greed, concentration of wealth, and mistreatment of workers, as well as socialism, for what he understood as a rejection of private property and an under-emphasis on the dignity of each individual person. 1961- On Christianity and Social Progress (Mater et Magistra) ~ Pope John XXIII On the 70th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, Pope John XXIII revisits the question of labor and global inequity. In a wide reaching encyclical, Pope John XXIII commented on communication advances, increases in workers’ rights and social programs, the decline of colonialism, global interdependence, the arms race, growing inequalities between the rich and poor, the use of science and technology to benefit the common good, the plight of rural farmers, and a respect for culture in the Church’s missionary activities. He states that intervention by government is necessary to address global problems and proposes that Christians should engage in a process of observing, judging, and acting to put the Church’s social doctrine into practice. 1963- Peace on Earth (Pacem in Terris) ~ Pope John XXIII This encyclical was one of the first coming out of Vatican II. It was another period of social unrest when people across the world were fighting for the rights of oppressed individuals and groups. It was also a time when a nuclear arms race was underway between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the Berlin Wall was constructed. Pope John XXIII emphasizes basic human rights and responsibilities, calls for an end to the arms race based on trust and respect for human rights, and support the creation of a world authority to protect universal common good. He notes both that the arms race impedes the development of societies and that under-development and injustice threaten peace. 18

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1965- The Church in the Modern World (Guadium et Spes) ~ Second Vatican Council This is perhaps one of the most important Church documents to emerge out of the 20th century. The Second Vatican Council focuses on responding to the signs of the times, especially to the poor by emphasizing concern for human dignity, the solidarity of the human community, the role of human work and activity in the world, and the engagement of the Church in society. The second part focuses on marriage and family, cultural development, the role of the Church in social and economic life, political life, peace and war, international cooperation, and the need for a person-centered development. 1967- On the Development of Peoples (Populorum Progressio) ~ Pope Paul VI Pope Paul VI criticizes unjust economic structures that have led to inequality and underdevelopment, including the inequalities of the market system, the effects of colonialism, economic domination and exploitation of poor countries by rich ones, and the prioritization of military spending. He challenges nations to focus on development that includes much more than economic growth, requiring solidarity. 1971- Justice in the World (Justicia in Mundo) ~ Synod of Bishops Statement Written during a time of oppression and civil conflict, especially in Latin America and Asia, this was the first document to come from the bishops in the developing world out of Vatican II. The Bishops of Africa, Asia, and Latin America authored this document sensitive to the concerns of the developing world, showing the contradictions of abundance and division in the world. It calls for structural change, mentioning the failure of development, overspending on armaments, environmental damage, the domination of economic systems by the wealthy nations, and the lack of access by poor countries to those things necessary to fulfill their right to development. 1981- On Human Work (Laborem Exercens) ~ Pope John Paul II Pope John Paul II presents work as a fundamental dimension of human existence emphasizing the dignity of labor and notes that through work, the human

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person can share in the activity of the creator. He reminds us that labor should be valued over capital and that for this reason, we must protect the rights of workers to employment, to just wages, and to organize unions. 1983- The Challenge of Peace ~ U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops This pastoral letter from the Catholic bishops of the United States discusses the scriptural traditions of war and peace and offers two responses— just war and nonviolence. It was written when the United States was still in a cold war with the Soviet Union and engaged in conflicts in Latin America. They then condemn the use of nuclear weapons against civilian populations, the deliberate initiation of nuclear warfare, and the arms race, and note that nuclear deterrence is only to be used as a step toward progressive disarmament. 1986- Economic Justice for All ~ U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops In this pastoral letter by the Catholic bishops, they call for the common good in order to address economic issues related to poverty, employment, food and agriculture, and developing nations. They argue that economic policies should be evaluated based on how the poor are faring and highlight the moral implications of the U.S. and global economies discussing the need for government guidance to ensure that the free market benefits the poor. 1987- On Social Concern (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis) ~ Pope John Paul II Pope John Paul II wrote this encyclical to update the Church’s stance on international development as stated in Popularum Progressio. It emphasizes the need for authentic human development which values being over having, criticizes super-development and consumerism as false development, and discusses the dignity of creation in terms of the environment. He also notes “structures of sin” such as the desire for profit and thirst of power that help create the evil of poverty and threats to life and calls for solidarity in order to gain true peace. He also highlights the preferential option for the poor and delivers a harsh critique to the developed nations for their role in perpetuating the vast inequalities among the world’s rich and poor. 1991- On the Hundredth Year (Centesimus Annus) ~ Pope John Paul II Pope John Paul II writes on the 100th anniversary of Rerum Novarum, the landmark document on the dignity of work and the rights of workers, examining the fall of communism brought by workers and the

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inefficient economic system that failed to protect human rights, private property, and economic freedom. He also points out the limitations of capitalism and the market, which does not adequately respond to human needs and can prioritize profit at the expense of the dignity of the human person. 1995- The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae) ~ Pope John Paul II This encyclical addresses a wide range of old and new threats to life, especially abortion, euthanasia, experimentation on human embryos, and the death penalty. Pope John Paul II notes that the family is the “sanctuary of life” and connects respect for life with the need for social and economic policies that support families and integral human development, which promotes the dignity of the person. 2005- God is Love (Deus Caritas Est) ~ Pope Benedict XVI Pope Benedict XVI writes that the human person’s ability to love is rooted in the Father’s love for humankind and that every person was created in God’s image. The Church must form the consciences of the laity so that they can work for a just ordering of society in which their political activity should be lived as “social charity,” infused with the light of faith and love. 2009- Charity in Truth (Caritas in Veritate) ~ Pope Benedict XVI Pope Benedict XVI identifies justice as the “primary way of charity” and notes that values such as love, truth, and solidarity must inform all aspects of economic life, such as finance, trade, and globalization. He emphasizes the international community’s duty toward solidarity which should be realized in many ways, such as attention to the needs of workers and immigrants and development assistance to poor countries, which should be implemented in a way that prioritizes respect for life with the duty to care for creation, especially environmental concern. CM Grant Goodman is a former CCAO intern.

A more extensive look at church documents may be found at the following websites: ChurchDocs.html, and November 2012

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Center for Peace, Ecology and Justice A Culture of Peace By Fr. Jack Evans

“God’s creation is one and it is good. The concerns for nonviolence, sustainable development, justice and peace, and care for the environment are of vital importance for humanity.” Pope Benedict XVI, World Youth Day Address, Sydney 2008. By way of introduction and context, the Center for Peace, Ecology and Justice (PEJ) is situated within the Columban Mission Institute in Sydney. The Institute has three other Centers – Christian Muslim Relations, China, Mission Studies – each reflecting an aspect and focus of the Society’s broader mission. Australia is an affluent nation and is often referred to as the “Lucky Country.” And, indeed, compared with many others, this is so. But affluence also brings with it its own baggage. We see our mission as challenging people to step out of their comfort zones and connect with the realities of environmental damage, poverty, injustice and the myopia that can come with self-interest. This means relating the local to the global and vice versa. We do this by raising awareness in the Church and society of the connections between peace, ecology and justice. Through our programs, we hold up a culture of peace as a vision for our society towards which we work. In practical terms it means we work in partnership with other agencies, cultures, groups within the Church and within the wider Christian tradition, other faith groups and with people who have no particular religious affiliation 20

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but who share the same vision and care for the world and all in it. Thus we offer workshops and conduct forums on such diverse issues as chocolate and its relationship to slavery and debt, Eucharist as the call to justice and peace, ecology and its very real connectedness to justice and the future of humanity and the planet. An example is the Growing a Culture of Peace Formation Program for teachers from both secondary and primary schools. It has proven to be an effective way of enabling participants to reflect on and apply aspects of Catholic Social Teaching in the learning environment of the school, particularly with regard to a range of local issues relating to justice and ecological concerns. Being on the Australian Catholic University campus in Strathfield, Sydney, has also given us the opportunity to run similar programs for students training to be teachers. This usually involves lectures and running tutorials over a three day period. We publish a variety of resources. Our humble newsletter, Columban Connections, keeps our supporters in touch. Electronic bulletins provide news, reflections and action ideas for parishes and schools. One really effective collaboration with Columban JPIC UK led to an Australian version of the Stations of the Forest dvd which has now received almost 3000 hits on YouTube. Keeping the theme, we published The Grace of Forests, an online Lenten resource. resources/The-Grace-of-Forests/

We were part of the original Jubilee 2000 Drop the Debt campaign and have continued with Jubilee Australia which researches and campaigns on the impact of Australian economic policy on impoverished communities and countries overseas. We see our role as an advocate in faith communities on the issues of GM food, climate change, ecology, militarism and globalization. From our center we facilitate the Faith Ecology Network (FEN). This interfaith network, which has representatives from ten different faiths, shares insights and news about ecology using electronic media, but also holds public forums on themes such as water, food, mining and climate change. One really enjoyable activity we run is an enrichment day for FEN members where we go into the bush somewhere to learn about the natural world. We are a small center with only four people, but we reach a wide and diverse network in an effective manner. We are constantly amazed by and grateful for the generosity of the committed, knowledgeable people and groups with whom we work. The words of Pope Benedict to young people in Sydney 2008 sum up what we are about as we look to the future with hope. CM Fr. Jack Evans is a member of the Columban Mission Institute, Center for Peace Ecology and Justice in Sydney, Australia.

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International Paralysis Growing Levels of Poverty and Environmental Destruction By Fr. Seán McDonagh


he most upsetting and disturbing outcome from the Rio+20 Earth Summit in June 2012, was the inability of the human community to respond adequately to the worsening global ecological crisis and the continued impoverishment of more than one billion human beings. Thirty leading scientists at the Stockholm Resilience Center have identified what they call planetary boundaries, which, if breached, will cause irreparable harm to planet earth, and as a consequence will impact in a negative way the entire human family for the foreseeable future. These scientists argue that human beings have already exceeded three important boundaries during the past few decades—climate change, nitrogen loading and the enormous loss of biodiversity. They warn us that humankind are dangerously close to crossing the other six boundaries which they identify as the increased acidification of the oceans, stratospheric ozone, aerosol loading, fresh water pollution, soil erosion and chemical pollution. Warnings of impending catastrophes are also echoed by international bodies such as the United Nations. The present director of United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Achim Steiner, “warned that pollution is killing millions of people each year, that ecosystems decline is increasing, that climate change is speeding up, and soil and ocean degradation is worsening.” He continued, “if the trends continue governments will preside

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over unprecedented levels of damage and degradation. Earth systems are being pushed towards their biophysical limits.” A largescale study from MIT Chicago in 2009 predicted that, unless there were stringent policies to drastically reduce CO2 emissions, there would be an average increase in global temperature of 5.2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. This would cause chaos across the globe. Even though many scientists, development workers and missionaries would agree with the analyses of the Stockholm Resilience Center and Achim Steiner, the politicians who met in Rio+20 did not design policies and programs which would effectively address each one of the boundary lines. Twenty years ago in 1992, more than 109 heads of state as well as politicians, diplomats for 170 countries and more than 50,000 people from Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) converged on Rio for the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development, popularly known as the Earth Summit. That conference, which was by no means perfect, came up with legally binding international conventions on protecting biodiversity and stopping climate change. It also articulated a very important principle namely that each country has a “common but differentiated responsibility” for protecting the earth’s environment and ensuring that every person has access to the basic necessities of life. The vitality of the Earth Summit was sadly absent from the

Rio+20 meeting. There were no legally binding treaties or timelines for any initiatives. Most crucial of all, there were no sanctions for failing to comply with the terms of any treaty. I did not have high expectations for Rio+20, because I have witnessed a growing divide between rich and poor countries at the various meetings of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change since Nairobi in 2006. As a result, all the leaders of the various delegations could agree on was to begin discussions on ecological and social problems so that countries could come up with a set of global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2015. There was also a recommendation to strengthen the role of the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP). This could strengthen the hand of UNEP in securing international cooperation on crucial environmental problems. One of the excuses often given by politicians at a national and global level for not taking decisive action on the environmental issues in 2012 is that they are preoccupied by the financial crisis which has continued since 2008. These politicians believe that their first imperative is to get their country back into economic growth as quickly as possible. CM Columban Fr. Seán McDonagh lives and works in Ireland.

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“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” ~ Proverbs 22:1

The Beauty and Everlasting Strength of the Evergreen The natural beauty of the evergreen tree is difficult to pass without notice; it is the tree with a leaf for all seasons. Evergreens have the unique ability to alter their growing environment to provide an easier path for young evergreens to survive the difficult seasons of cold and drought. The evergreen often reminds us of God’s gift to us through Christ, “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.” – John 6:47 Like the evergreen, a Legacy Gift to the Columban Fathers is everlasting. It ensures that the work you have so generously supported throughout the years will always survive! When you include the Columban Fathers in your estate plans, you become a lifelong member of the Columban Fathers’ Legacy Society, and your gift will stand like an evergreen.

For more information regarding membership in our Legacy Society, obtaining our legal title or for a handy booklet on how to prepare a will, contact Fr. Michael Dodd at: Columban Fathers P.O. Box 10 St. Columbans, NE 68056 phone: 402/291-1920 fax: 402/291-4984 toll-free 877/299-1920


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Moved to Compassion


n invitation from God can be a frightening

union with the man who was hurt and vulnerable.

thing. Fear can lead us to filter out what

As the Samaritan emptied himself of all that he had

is different and makes us uncomfortable.

physically (bandages, food, medicine, drink, money)

But God calls us precisely to be in communion

he was filled with the Spirit of Justice, and Peace.

with the other. When we go outside of ourselves we

And therein lies the life to which we are called as

become vulnerable to the awesomeness of God’s

Christians; the paradox of giving to receive, of dying


to new life, of strength in vulnerability.

During the Columban General Assembly held

The story doesn’t end with the Good Samaritan.

in Los Angeles, California, the Columban delegates

Jesus concludes the story by commanding his

reflected on the story of the Good Samaritan (Lk

followers to, go and do the same. This of course is

10:25-37). It is a good example of how when we are

the challenge to us all. This is God’s invitation to

moved with compassion, we enter into relationship

love and across boundaries of language, race, and

with the stranger who then becomes our neighbor.  

religion, and all barriers that keep us divided. A

When the Samaritan crossed the road to lend a

Christian life is one based in contemplation and

hand to the hurt man,

action. As Jesus says, “Hear the word of God and act

he radically broke with

on it.” (Lk 8:28)

tradition. The Samaritan

We can ask ourselves, how was it possible for

was unable to contain

the Good Samaritan to act with such courage and

his compassion and was

compassion? Do we have the same courage? When

literally moved towards

we are in constant and profound relationship with God, we become aware of a new way of being in

From the Director By Fr. Arturo Aguilar

relationship in the world. When we have an intimate encounter with God, we are pushed to seeing with the eyes of our hearts, just like the man on the side of the road.   At our recent Columban General Assembly we

When we have an intimate

affirmed this fundamental call to be in relationship

encounter with God, we are

normally tread; to speak when we may wish to be

which means choosing to walk where we may not

pushed to seeing with the eyes

silent; to act when we may desire to be still. Through

of our hearts, just like the man

and become leaven in the Bread of Life.

God’s grace, not our initiative, we are transformed

on the side of the road.

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An Invitation Calls for a Response We are but clay, formed and fashioned by the hand of God.

That is to say, we are weak and vulnerable but with God’s grace we are capable of great generosity and idealism. Is God calling you to spread the good news? To a life of ministry among those who are less fortunate and more vulnerable than you are?

Watch the mail for your free 2013 Columban calendar! You can order additional copies for yourself or loved ones by writing to us or sending an email to: MISSIONOFFICE@COLUMBAN.ORG.

We invite you to join this new generation by becoming a Columban Father or Columban Sister. If you are interested in the missionary priesthood, write or call…

If you are interested in becoming a Columban Sister, write or call…

Fr. Bill Morton National Vocation Director Columban Fathers St. Columbans, NE 68056 877-299-1920 Email: Website:

Sister Virginia Mozo National Vocation Director Columban Sisters 2546 Lake Road Silver Creek, NY 14136 626-458-1869 Email: Websites:

Japan + Korea + Peru + Hong Kong + Philippines + Pakistan + Chile + Fiji + Taiwan + North America

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Columban Misssion Magazine November  
Columban Misssion Magazine November  

Columban Misssion Magazine November 2012