COLUMBAN HISTORY IN TAIWAN

The first team of five Columbans arrived in Taiwan in 1978. Fr. lvar McGrath had been in Taiwan working in the international English speaking parish for many years prior to this. Taiwan forms a Mission Unit rather than a Region because of the small number of priests and lay missionaries involved there. At present there are 7 priests and 4 lay missionaries attached to the mission unit.

Changing Pattern of Missionary Outreach
From the beginning, the Columbans were involved in parish and workers' apostolates. Lay missionaries were also involved in this work. As numbers increased new forms of ministry were undertaken.

Disadvantaged Youth
Day schools for mentally impaired children (a marginalized group in an industrialized society) were established in two parishes. A lay missionary works at one of the centers. Substance abuse and crime among the young is rapidly increasing. One Columban and a lay missionary work in youth prison ministry. Another Columban works with homeless children.

Workers Apostolate
Taiwan is a highly industrialized country. There are about 130,000 foreign laborers in Taiwan from South East Asian countries (Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia). Working conditions are poor and two Columbans, with the help of local Taiwanese, minister in this area. They formed two Workers' Centers. The main emphasis of this apostolate is Union formation, labor education and analysis of working conditions. A Columban was expelled by the Taiwanese Government for this work in March 1989. Columbans work with local and migrant workers in the Hsin Chu diocese and staff a migrant center at the International English-speaking parish in Taipei since 1992. We work with Thai Buddhist monks to help Thai workers.

Apostolate among the Indigenous Peoples
The nine tribes of Indigenous Peoples are the most disadvantaged group in Taiwan. They fear the destruction of their culture in the face of Taiwan's emphasis on industrial development. Columban priests and lay missionaries work among the Atayal Tribe in the mountain district and with the Indigenous Peoples from several different tribes who have moved to the lowland.

12 Step Spirituality
One Columban works in this apostolate, which seeks both to directly alleviate the social ills arising from drug addiction and to indicate the root causes of the addiction.

 

 

 

 

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