From the Editor

Janette Mentha

In this issue of The Far East magazine we focus on waiting in joy and hope for the feast of Christmas. After such an extraordinary year of challenges due to COVID-19, we pray that the light of Christ will light up lives all over the world. 

Our first article is from Columban Fr Jim Mulroney telling us about the long priestly life of Fr Chris Baker who has worked in a variety of Columban ministries over 70 years. As Fr Jim says, "his back may be bent but his spirit is strong." 

From Rome, Columban Fr Robert McCulloch reports on a new Emergency Room at St Elizabeth Hospital in Hyderabad, Pakistan. At the Opening Ceremony Bishop Samson expressed his thanks for the work of the hospital and said that the Catholic Church testifies to being an integral part of Pakistani society, helping to heal the sick and contributing to that society with peace, dialogue and harmony. 

In the lead up to Advent and Christmas, Columban Fr Pat O’Shea reflects on hoping and waiting for the coming Saviour. From Ireland, Columban Fr Bobby Gilmore writes about the significant contribution migrant remittances make to two economies and tells the story of Miss Ellen's weekly pilgrimage to the post office.

Stranded in Australia, Columban Fr Dan Harding is still able to maintain contact with his parish of San Columbano in Santiago, Chile. Recently the parish set up a 'Migrant House' for homeless and unemployed migrants who are now working hard to become self-sufficient. 

Based on the USA-Mexican border, Columban Sr Kathleen Mary O’Riordan shares with us her experiences with migrants and refugees. Like Jesus, who had to flee from danger into Egypt, the migrants are fleeing from danger and seeking a secure life.

On page 16, Pope Francis calls for unity and fraternity in his new Encyclical, Fratelli Tutti (Brothers and Sisters, all). See the summary by Archbishop Mark Coleridge. 

In his column, Fr Trevor Trotter writes about the significance of light. He poses the question: Do we think of Jesus as being the Light when all we see in our world is confusion and darkness? 

The Columban region of Great Britain has recently welcomed lay missionaries, Sophia and Ling, from New Zealand. After two weeks in isolation, they are anxious to explore their new environment and immerse themselves in their mission assignments. 

In Japan, Columban Fr Barry Cairns puts his carpentry skills to good use by making Christmas cribs. Looking a bit like Father Christmas himself, Fr Barry gives us an insight into Christmas in modern day Japan.

In the Philippines, Columban Fr John Keenan and young university students visit a leper hospital outside Manila. They do this to bring some gifts and Christmas cheer to the residents there.

I would like to thank you for subscribing to The Far East magazine that supports the work of Columbans in the poorest countries of the world. Thank you. 

Let us give thanks to God as we wait in joy and hope for the wonderful event we are about to celebrate, the feast of Christmas.

Janette Mentha singature

Janette Mentha

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