From the Editor

Janette Mentha

I can't tell you how good it is to be back on deck. My sincere thanks goes to Assunta Arena, Columban Frs Dan Harding and Ray Scanlon who did such a wonderful job of publishing The Far East magazine in my absence.

It is refreshing to begin this edition with a good news article from Columban Fr Shay Cullen in the Philippines, despite lock-downs and economic downturns.

In our next article, Fr Jim Mulroney interviews Jao Resari, a talented artist and Columban lay missionary who works in Taiwan with those living with HIV/AIDS. Jao's dream for a better tomorrow is reflected in the many movements of her artistic hand.

The Reflection features the Paschal Candle used last year at the Columban headquarters in Hong Kong for the Easter Vigil. The candle has its own unique story that tells of prison, freedom, hope and promise.

Campaigner for migrant issues, Columban Fr Bobby Gilmore, recalls how a young couple from Cuba arrived unannounced on his doorstep in Jamaica, seeking refuge. Their story takes many unexpected turns.

Australian Columban Fr John Hegerty recalls how his time working on the family farm in Victoria has enabled him to establish a mini-farm on the Columban Centre House grounds during COVID-19 lockdown in Lima, Peru.

From Fiji, we hear how the American ambassador, his wife and seven children brightened up the lives of Columbans there. A man of strong faith, the ambassador shares his experience of being separated from his family for many months and how he found solace in prayer and Mass.

‘Mission World' features a recent press release from the Columban General Council on the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

“We are all connected” is the title of Columban Fr Trevor Trotter's column. He asks: If God's love is like the energy of electricity, what does that imply for us? God's love, like electricity, and is always there. All we have to do is turn on the switch and open up our minds and hearts to God.

Columban Fr Neil Magill tells of his long friendship with the late Archbishop of Mandalay, Myanmar, Paul Zinghtung Grawng, who showed a keen interest in education and assisted Fr Magill in founding the higher Education Centre there. Bishop Paul, as he was known, was not interested in too much episcopal pomp and ceremony. He died in October last year. May he rest in peace.

Research confirms how vital facial expressions can be in human interactions. Columban lay missionary Kevin Sheerin writes about the risk of becoming desensitized and robotic in our daily interaction with other's faces when wearing a mask in these pan-demic times.

In his new book, well known Columban environmentalist, Fr Sean McDonagh, demonstrates that the tools that we use to connect, protect and support us can also be put to use in ways that have a negative impact on our privacy, freedom and life choices.

In the words of Columban Leader Fr Tim Mulroy,"…. because of our shared belief in the risen Christ, let us rejoice that Christ freed all of us from the prison of sin and death, and has given us a new start, filled with hope and promise"

Wishing you a safe and blessed Easter.

Janette Mentha

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