I am delighted to have this opportunity to express a few words of congratulations
and appreciation on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of Vocation for Justice.
This special publication to mark the occasion is another excellent reminder of the
many aspects of the
work for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC), which is an essential
and indispensable dimension of Christian mission today. Sincere congratulations to
all who produced or contributed to this current issue of a publication whose very
title reminds us that work for justice is a faithful response to a call. The Columbans
in Britain are rightly proud of our involvement in JPIC work over the years. In meeting
people here we are pleasantly surprised how the Columban name is often associated
with commitment to JPIC issues. Our experience of mission in many parts of the world
led us to the conviction that one cannot engage in Christ’s mission today without
being in solidarity with the poor, the marginalised and the exploited earth. We have
also become very much aware of the global dimensions of many of the JPIC issues that
confront us at the local level, and as a world-wide missionary organisation we hope
to be a
link between the global and the local. But we have also learned a lot from working
with people and groups of like vision in Britain, who are passionate about the cause
of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation.
No one group can address all the JPIC issues which are interrelated. Partnership,
networking and mutual support are most necessary in facing challenges which call
for varied levels of expertise and experience and often involve confronting forces
and interests which threaten to overpower us in our commitment to human and environmental
Vocation for Justice has been one of many excellent channels for expressing and fostering
the partnership and networking needed today.
Vocation for Justice grew first out of the vision and commitment of Ed O’Connell
and Mike Kelly and then of other Columbans - Eamonn O’Brien, Tony Burke, Frank Regan
- and their associates in Britain. In looking back over the last 25 years, we acknowledge
our debt of gratitude to all of them who guided us in the ways of Justice and Peace
and whose great contribution can easily be misunderstood and not fully appreciated.
Our present JPIC team – Peter Hughes, Frank Nally and Ellen Teague – is continuing
this Columban tradition in Britain and is constantly developing our JPIC ministry
in response to ever-changing
circumstances. I congratulate them and their office staff and wish them every blessing
success as they continue to respond to the cry of the poor.
Peter Hughes, Ellen Teague, Frank Nally and Ray Collier
Fr Tom O’Reilly SSC
Director, British Regional Director