Catholic Outlook

Fanning flames of hope and faith

Catholic Outlook August 2011 Vocations Feature Columban Missionary Society
Columban seminarian Taaremon Matauea.
By Taaremon Matauea*

Three years ago, when I was a seminarian in Chicago, the Columban Missionary Society asked me to go to Taiwan for two years. The purpose of this overseas assignment was for me to live and work side by side with experienced Columban missionaries, learn one of the local languages (Chinese Mandarin), get to know the Taiwanese people, and learn about their life and faith.

I was privileged to be able to visit the place where the founder of the Columbans, Bishop Galvin, and several of his missionary companions lived when they first arrived in China more than 90 years ago.

However, I also learned that when the communists came to power 30 years later (1951) all Christian missionaries, including Columban priests, were expelled and the local Christians were persecuted.

During my visit I spent time with Columban, Fr Dan Troy and I began to realise how difficult it is to live in another country and befriend, almost in secret, its people.

Despite being a priest, he has no church, no Sunday congregation, no catechism classes, and no Bible study groups. He believes, however, that all the people he encounters are children of God and that the only way that they might ever know the Bible will be through the Christian life he shows them.

The gentle yet firm conviction of his faith as he lives his daily life among the Chinese people made me ask myself: How faithful am I in proclaiming the Good News of Christ’s love? How effective am I as a messenger of God not just on Sundays, but in my everyday humdrum life?

* Taaremon Matauea is a Seminarian from Fiji.