St Columban’s Day, Dalgan Park. Ireland 2023.

Derry Healy set the scene for the celebration of the Mass by decorating the collage chapel with banners with quotes from the sermons of St Columban. The famous altar cloth made in the year 2015 to celebrate 1400 years since Columban’s death was draped on the main altar. During 2015 this cloth travelled around the 14 countries where Columban missionaries work.
The main celebrant of the Mass, Fr Pat Colgan – freshly returned from Fiji, spoke in his homily of the austere and courageous life of Columban – his influence in a dark and disturbed Europe of his day, his desire of moving on finding monasteries throughout France and Switzerland and at the age of 70 crossing the Alps into Italy and on to Bobbio where he died in 615. No doubt Columban is still an inspiration for us both old and young missionaries of today.
A beautiful festive meal was prepared and enjoyed by all. Later, in the afternoon – the Fiji three-o (Frs JJ Ryan, Pat Colgan and John McEvoy) gathered in JJ’s room for a few bowls of kava or yaqona (Fiji’s ceremonial drink). This was followed by a few traditional tunes by Frs Alo Connaughton on the According, Paddy Conway on the tin whistle and Pat Colgan again on the violin. Finally, an impromptu sing along brought the curtain down on Columban’s Day in Dalgan Park, Ireland for 2023.

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