Honorary Doctorate conferred on Columbans

(left) Fr Kevin O'Neill, Superior General, Missionary Society of St Columban.
Three doctorate degrees were conferred by Saint Patrick's College Maynooth to representatives of places or religious life associated with Saint Columban on Monday 14 December, 2015 to commemorate the 1400th anniversary of Saint Columban's death.

The Trustees of St Patrick's College and the Pontifical University conferred the Doctor of Philosophy honour on:

  • Reverend Kevin O'Neill, SSC, Superior General of the Missionary Society of Saint Columban
  • Bishop Gianni Ambrosio, Bishop of Piacenza-Bobbio, Italy
  • Mr Mauro Steffenini, San Colombano al Lambro, Italy

Each of the honourees were being recognised for the extraordinary contribution they each have made in separate ways to continuing the work and mission of St Columban in the 21st century.

Fr Kevin O'Neill's honour is intended to recognise the outstanding work done by the entire Missionary Society of St Columban – formerly the Maynooth Mission to China – from its foundation until the present day.

"On behalf of the Missionary Society of St Columban I wish to thank the Pontifical University, St Patrick’s College, Maynooth for conferring this award in commemoration of the 1400th anniversary of the death of St Columban, and in recognition of the work of the Missionary Society of St Columban. This award honors the rich heritage and legacy which unites our work and mission," said Fr Kevin O'Neill.

Address given by Fr Kevin O'Neill at the ceremony:

In his speech Fr Kevin O'Neill said: "As Columbans we enter into a given cultural context sharing life with the people among whom we live and serve. We deliberately choose to locate ourselves among those most in need and strive to live in solidarity with them. We encourage people, and walk with them on their faith journey, and in their struggle to change the unjust structures that keep them poor and on the margins of society. The source of our witness and actions is our faith in Jesus. We desire to mirror in our lives the pattern of Jesus' life, helping people of all faiths, or no faith, to gain their dignity as sons and daughters of God, loved by God." (read full address)

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