Fr Kevin O’Neill is the Superior General of the Columban missionaries. An Australian, he has served on mission in China, Hong Kong and Ireland. He writes:
Recently I have been on visitation to the Region of Britain, meeting with Columban priests, lay missionaries, and co-workers. I have been inspired by their passion and commitment to participating in God’s mission in Britain through several ministries.
There is the ministry of mission awareness and fundraising through mission appeals across the dioceses in England, Wales and Scotland, sharing the stories of Columban missionaries around the world and the lives of the people among whom we are blessed to live and serve. Visiting parishes also provides an opportunity to give thanks for the generosity of our many supporters in Britain and ‘Far East’ readers.
The ministry of Justice, Peace and Ecology – with a focus on migration, environmental justice, economic justice and peace – is well-known internationally, particularly through the Columbans UK website, facebook and twitter. Also, the ministry of Interreligious Dialogue, primarily undertaken by our lay missionaries in Birmingham, supporting projects and initiatives which offer sanctuary to asylum seekers and refugees, and building life-giving relationships among people of different faith backgrounds.
Columbans in Britain also provide opportunities for people to experience and engage in Columban Justice, Peace and Ecology Advocacy and education through participating in cross-cultural mission exposure trips and internships for young adults. I had the fortunate opportunity to participate in a weekend of reflection for those who have engaged in these programs, and was deeply touched by the faith commitment of these young adults.
There is the ministry of support for Columban mission in China and facilitating exchange between the church in Britain and the church in China.
May God continue to bless our generous supporters in Britain and all engaged in Columban mission, together with the many people and groups with whom we are blessed to network with in service of the Reign of God.
In Britain, Fr Kevin O’Neill visited a new project in Birmingham Archdiocese offering accommodation to refugees and asylum seekers, an ‘Eco-Congregation’ Church in London, and participated in Columban mission awareness work at Feltham parish in West London. On May 2 he concelebrated at the annual Migrants Mass at Westminster Cathedral and met with Cardinal Vincent Nichols and with several migrant groups such as ‘Justice for Domestic Workers’.
Fr Kevin O’Neill’s twin brother Peter is also a Columban priest, serving in Taiwan, and his sister Kate is a member of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions.