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Columbans’ anniversary Mass will reflect diversity

Hymns, prayers and readings will be shared in Spanish, Korean, English, Filipino and other languages at a 100th anniversary Mass of the Missionary Society of St. Columban, reflecting the group’s global reach.
 
And the opening procession for the 3 p.m., July 1 Mass at St. Columbkille Church in Papillion will include banners displaying photographs of Columbans serving in such countries as Pakistan, Peru and Fiji.
 
Presiding will be Archbishop George J. Lucas, whose own involvement with the Columban Fathers included a two-week trip to China two years ago.
 
The Mass and reception that follows will be celebrated just two days after the society’s official birthday – its June 29, 1918, recognition as a society of apostolic life by the Vatican on the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul, said Father Tim Mulroy, regional superior of the Columbans’ mission in the United States, headquartered near Bellevue since 1921.
 
“That’s the day we got our ‘birth certificate,’” he said. “It means you can go about your missionary activity with confidence.”
 
The mission is to share God’s love with people on the margins, he said.
 
“We are trying to share the love and mercy of God with people across the world who are for the most part forgotten, underrepresented, on the margins. Through our presence, our concern for them, to help them be the people God is calling them to be.”
 
Founded in Ireland with world headquarters now in Hong Kong, the Columban Fathers around the world are celebrating the centennial with events that reflect the local character of each missionary effort, Father Mulroy said. 
 
In the Archdiocese of Omaha, the Columbans will emphasize the Latino, Filipino and Korean communities, reflecting the close ties they have to those communities in the area, he said. A supporter of the Columbans will do sign language for those with a hearing impairment. Members of the choir and others at St. Mary Parish in
Bellevue also will participate in the Mass, one way to recall the Columbans’ assistance to the parish just down the street from its headquarters – and the parishioners’ support of the Columbans, he said.
 
“This is a Mass of thanksgiving,” Father Mulroy said. “Thanking God for the blessings of these past 100 years, calling to mind the blessings we have received and calling to mind the local Catholic community. We could not have done what we did without your support, prayers, generosity and friendship.”

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