From the Editor

Janette Mentha

What a year it has been. We have celebrated the centenary of the Missionary Society of St Columban in fine style in Australia and New Zealand. The occasions were rewarding witnessing the theme of the Centenary in action – Sharing Gospel Joy with our benefactors.

The November/December issue of The Far East covers several important themes including the most wonderful of all, Advent and Christmas.

On pages 4 and 5 you will see that changes are afoot with the former Regional Director for Australia and New Zealand, Fr Brian Vale appointed as the Vicar General for the Society. By the time you read this, Fr Brian will have moved to the Columban Headquarters in Hong Kong where he will reside for the next 6 years.

In preparing for the Plenary in 2020 Fr Noel Connolly speaks about the first year being devoted to Listening and Dialogue Encounters. The article was recently published in the Columban eBulletin and provoked a great deal of positive and negative feedback.

In the Advent Reflection, Fr Cyril Lovett invites us to think about why we focus on Mary in Advent. He gives us three points to think about, one of which is Mary’s holiness lies in persistent, faithful listening to God’s word.

Fr Jim Mulroney writes an opinion piece on the recent agreement between the Vatican and the current government in Beijing on the appointment of bishops in China. After living in China for many years, Fr Jim has good insights as to why the agreement is somewhat controversial.

Building a stable in his parish in Japan, Fr Barry Cairns could never have imagined the joyous outcome from the project. He said it was the best Christmas present ever.

Fr Noel O’Neill tell us about his most memorable mountain hike in Korea led by a monk and feeling the presence of God in the beauty of nature.

Mission World focusses on the recent earthquakes and tsunami that devastated many areas of Indonesia, especially the island of Sulawesi. Pope Francis has sent a first emergency contribution of $100,000 for the aid of the populations and prayed for the suffering and those who had died.

As Vice-Director, Fr Trevor Trotter has taken on the role of leadership for the ANZ Region until the election for a new Regional Director. His responsibility includes writing a monthly column for The Far East. In his first column he reflects on new beginnings as we approach the new liturgical year with Advent.

Known for his entrepreneurial and pastoral skills in South Korea, Fr P J McGlinchey was finally pinned down to do an interview for a radio documentary just prior to this death in April this year. As the interviewer Brian Kenny said, his story is not just interesting, it is inspiring.

At The Church Up-Close Seminar for journalists, in Rome in September, Fr Robert McCulloch gave some perspectives about the current situation of Christians and Muslims in Asia. Working in Justice and Peace, Columban co-worker Ellen Teague attended the conference as the representative from Great Britain.

Read how over 200 youth attended Youth PoWR (Parliament of the World’s Religions) held in Sydney in August. From the Columban Centre for Christian-Muslim Relations, Ryan Epondulan shares how many faiths came together to discuss the theme ‘Harmony for Humanity’.

A special Christmas blessing to my colleague, Assunta Arena and her husband on the arrival of their beautiful boy. Assunta is currently on maternity leave. Chris Murray has taken on the role of designing The Far East until Assunta’s return.

Wishing you every blessing for Advent and Christmas.

Janette Mentha singature

Janette Mentha

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