(L-R) Fr Tim Mulroy, Superior General, Fr Joseph Kang, Councillor, Fr Brian Vale, Vicar General, Fr Alvaro Patricio Martinez Ibañez, Councillor. Photo: © Missionary Society of St Columban.
As the Missionary Society of St Columban begins its second century, a new General Council was elected at the General Assembly in Taiwan in September. It will draw together expertise from the US, Ireland, Australia/New Zealand, South Korea and Chile.
Fr Tim Mulroy – Superior General
Irishman Fr Tim Mulroy has been selected as the new Superior General and will be assisted by three other Columbans, Fr Brian Vale from New Zealand, who is the new Vicar General of the Society, Fr Alvaro Patricio Martinez Ibañez from Chile and Fr Joseph Kang of South Korea.
Responding to the news Fr Tim said, “As Columban Missionaries conclude the celebration of the centenary of our founding and at the same time prepare for a new century of mission, I feel both humbled and honoured to be given this leadership position”.
A former primary school teacher, he has been Regional Director in the US for the past six years. Originally from Meelick, Swinford, Co Mayo, Tim became a Columban seminarian in 1987 and was ordained at Our Lady Help of Christians Church, Swinford in 1995.
The 54-year-old worked in parish ministry in Japan from 1995 until 2002, when he went to the US as Director of Formation at the Columban International Seminary in Chicago, a role he held for nine years.
Afterwards he served in parish ministry at St Pius X Parish in El Paso, Texas before he was elected Regional Superior in November 2012, a role he continued in until 2018.
“Coming from Mayo, I am conscious that I am walking in the footsteps of Fr John Blowick from Belcarra, one of the founders of the Columban Missionaries, who led this international organisation during its infancy years,” Fr Tim commented.
“Today, a century later, Columban Missionaries include women and men, married and single, lay and ordained from various countries, who strive to build bridges across our divided world and promote the unity of all God’s children.”
“As I look at Columban Mission around the world, from Mexico to Myanmar, as well as from Peru to the Philippines, I am inspired by those people who remain committed to living out their faith in difficult circumstances. They remind me that the Joy of the Gospel is far greater than the world’s problems and suffering.”
The incoming Superior General said that, “As Columban missionaries look towards the future, we will continue to promote greater understanding and collaboration among people from different religious traditions. We will also continue to emphasize the importance of caring for our planet earth, so that succeeding generations will enjoy God’s blessings.”
Fr Brian Vale – Vicar General
Fr Brian Vale, (former) Regional Director for Australia and New Zealand was elected as the Vicar General for the Missionary Society of St Columban. The appointment is immediate and so we wait for another election to see who will be the next Regional Director. In the meantime, Vice-Director, Fr Trevor Trotter is holding the fort.
Fr Joseph Kang – Second Councillor
Fr Joseph Kang, Vice-Director in Korea, was elected Second Councillor. He studied theology in Maynooth and spent six years in Peru.
Fr Alvaro Patricio Martinez Ibañez – Third Councillor
Fr Alvaro was Regional Director for Chile until 2017. He had been due to take up a new assignment in the US region but will now take up his position with the General Council in Hong Kong.
It is less than twelve months since I moved into the ANZ Columban Regional Director’s office in Melbourne and it is time to move again.
I was elected Vicar General of The Missionary Society of St Columban at the September 2018 General Assembly in Taiwan. I will be moving to Hong Kong in late October to take up the new position.
I have enjoyed the camaraderie and atmosphere in the Essendon house and office and will miss the friendly staff and Columbans.
I will meet many Columbans over the next six years but will take some time to adjust to working with the other General Councillors and to the busy city life of Hong Kong. It will be a transition with mixed blessings.
I would like to thank you, our supporters, for your commitment to the Missionary Society of St Columban. Your partnership in Columban Mission ensures that those most in need are not isolated from society.
Fr Brian Vale
- Read more from The Far East, November/December 2018