Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong of Kwangju holds a photo of the first Columban missionaries
to Korea at a Mass marking the start of centenary celebrations of the society at Gwangju Catholic
Lifelong Education Institute in Gwangju.
The Missionary Society of St. Columban has kicked off its 100th centenary year in Korea by pledging
to seek new ways to proclaim the Gospel and serve the poor and alienated.
The pledge came at a Mass last week celebrated by Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong of Kwangju
at the Gwangju Catholic Lifelong Education Institute in Gwangju.
Columban missionaries worldwide are celebrating their 100th anniversary.
Monsignor Marco Sprizzi, acting Apostolic Nuncio to Korea, retired Archbishops Victorinus Yoon Kong-hi, and Andrew Choi Chang-mou of Kwangju, as well as Julian Clare, Irish Ambassador to Korea attended the Mass along with 500 priests, Religious and lay people.
“Just like Saint Columban, the missionary society is dedicated to serving the poor. The seeds of mission sown by the society sprouted not only in Korea but also in other many countries and the missionaries contributed much to the development of Kwangju Archdiocese,” Archbishop Kim told the gathering.
The Columban missionaries played an important role in establishing Kwangju Apostolic Prefecture in 1937. Its first ordinary was Bishop Own McPolin, also a Columban missionary.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary, the Columbans in Korea will hold various events, including seminars and a project to collect historical material on the activities of the Columbans in Korea.
The Missionary Society of St. Columban was founded in Ireland in 1916 and approved by the Vatican in 1918.
They first arrived in Korea in 1933, after already establishing themselves in China and the Philippines.