Society of St. Columban © St. Columban’s Widney Manor Rd, Knowle, Solihull. West Midlands B93 9AB

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(Mark 6:30-44)


by Nathalie Marytsch


This was the title given  to this years' interdenominational Women's world day of prayer on 4th March 2011,which was dedicated to Chile this year . Nathalie, Bernardita (from Chile)  and Rose (from the Philippines) were invited to a Service in a  Methodist church in Selly Park, Birmingham. Nathalie spoke of her country with great pride. She writes:


As I was preparing  my talk I started wondering; what am I going to say in those few minutes? People could google it today if they were interested in Chile, or even get information from a book. It was a chance to tell people about where I come from, where it is in the map or to simply clarify that although Chile by its name might give the impression that it is a cold country, it isn't. At least we know 'for certain' that in Chile there are a few months of summer and can therefore  rely on some nice temperatures to enjoy the beach or the countryside. I could  speak about the beauty of our nature, the snow-covered Andes mountain or the Atacama dessert (the driest in the world),  how natural disasters have struck the lives of our people or even concentrate on an update on  the lives of the 33 miners that were trapped in the San Jose mine for 69 days until they were successfully rescued.  After  a lot of thought I decided to share with the congregation what it means to me to be a Chilean.


I am proud of being Chilean because I believe we are welcoming people, we show hospitality, even in the poorest homes, by sharing whatever little people may have. If a friend comes around the house unannounced and there isn't much to share at the table, we will divide whatever there is or sometimes maybe  it means adding some more water to the soup!  


We have developed a strong sense of community and solidarity.  Maybe this is due to our history, our trials to overcome poverty  or our daily struggles to live in a just and peaceful society. Whenever there has been  an earthquake, landslide, floods or any other natural disaster communities/neighbours will stand by each other, gather  what they have  to share. Some may even offer an space to sleep, cook together, fight for protection. Young and not so young  volunteers will be gathered by different organisation to go with the first aid to assist in re-establishing basic supplies (food, clothes, shelter). Others may straight away start organising fund raising events  in order to  get the relief needed.


I believe that for us family is very important and continues to be at the centre of our society. Unlike the small nuclear family,  extended-family occupy an important role, the ties remain close even after a couple has set up its own home. Kids meet their cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents regularly. Nowadays, however, with women having to go out to work the family dynamic has changed. Families tend to gather  around to celebrate any special occasion; baptisms, birthdays, weddings, saint day. People will find any reason to spend time together!


How many loaves have you?  I think that we Chileans have got loads but need to be  constantly reminded to share what we have not only at times of greater need.  Sharing not only our earthly possessions but our values, our time  and our love. I am a Chilean and I am proud of that. I am sure you are also proud of where you come from or belong to , whether it is a country a community or a family. Let's be reminded to share our loaves with our neighbours, friends and loved ones always.

Nathalie Marytch speaking ainterdenominational Women's world day of prayer on 4th March 2011

LM Team Mass

National Youth Event











 27th June 2011

Columbans at 'Justice at Work' Conference


- by Ellen Teague

2010 National Justice and Peace Network Conference


Fr Peter Hughes and Ellen Teague of the Columban Justice and Peace (JPIC) team will be running a conference and stall at the 15-17 July Conference in Derbyshire ‘Justice at Work – A place of safety, fulfilment and growth?’


This year’s conference has an exciting range of speakers and workshops. It gives the opportunity to explore work in today’s society, in the light of the Gospel and Catholic Social Teaching, leading to commitments to immediate and long term action. It is also a great occasion for activists to network, have fun together and participate in inspiring liturgies. And you can bring the kids too, with programmes for children and young people and a crèche for the little ones. So if you haven’t booked yet, there is still time to get your booking in! Booking forms can be downloaded from website, or contact the Administrator at, Tel:020 7901 4864



   David McLoughlin: Jesus, Work and the Reign of God: a challenge to Church and Society

   Jon Cruddas MP: The Dignity of Work

   Frances O’Grady: Trade Unions: Delivering Justice at Work and in Society

   Sheila Kambobe: The Plight of Zambian Workers and Small Businesses in a Free Market

   John Battle will give reflections from Catholic Social Teaching and lead an Action Planning session on Sunday morning.




There will be personal testimonies on the experiences of: bullying in church employment, young people, discrimination as a Muslim woman, and of good practice in the workplace.



Topics covered include: Vulnerable workers – seafarers, migrant domestic workers, rural workers, garment workers, those in informal and unregulated work, as well as women involved in prostitution; an overseas perspective of empowering workers from CAFOD and Progressio; challenges of working in the not-for-profit sector; dealing with bullying in Church employment; prospects for the ‘green economy’; alternatives to the arms trade; conflict resolution; finding a work/life balance; understanding work in the context of Creation theology; exploring the issues through art; and a worship preparation workshop – musicians welcome.



Put your own questions to a panel which includes theologian David McLoughlin and Unite’s National Officer Rachael Maskell and chaired by Bishop William Kenney, a long-time supporter of the justice and peace movement in the Church.