During my spring break from language school I traveled alone around Japan for ten days. I was a Columban seminarian back then and had only a rudimentary knowledge of that country’s language, customs and places of interest. However, since I had read in my guide book that there was a youth hostel in the town of Manazuru in Kanagawa prefecture, I got off the train in order to spend Saturday night there.
As I walked from the station, with the street map from the guide book open in my hand, I met a man who paused to ask me where I was heading. While I responded to him in my broken Japanese, his breath, reeking of alcohol, enveloped me. I felt very unsure, therefore, when he told me that I was going in the wrong direction! However, since it was still daylight, I took his advice and arrived at the hostel just as he had directed me!
After supper that evening I asked the owner of the hostel if there was a Catholic church in that town...
We pray everyone follows a path to justice and self-determination. Lord, help us to treasure and share the gifts of freedom you have given us. May justice and love, not fear and greed, guide our decisions for family, neighbor, country and world.
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Next year marks the 1400 anniversary of the death of St. Columban. As part of a series of initiatives to mark this anniversary the Columbans commisioned Liam Lawton to write and record a new hymn that calls to mind the contemporary Columban concerns...
Lord, bless us in our searching and questions:
The way to wisdom, enlightenment
and peace, the way to our hearts.
May the Lord bless us in our gifts:
These are God’s providence to the world