Reflections of a pilgrim following in St Columban’s footsteps.
By Fr Ray Scanlon
Until I did the pilgrimage I did not know much about St Columban. To me he
was a mythical figure of ages long ago, one who was not so human and who had
extraordinary powers, superhuman ideals and expectations.
As we travelled in St Columban’s footsteps we heard a number of accounts
about his life. I began to understand and admire him. He became alive and real
rather than a distant historical figure.
At the beginning of the pilgrimage our leader, Fr Derry Healy, said, ‘We are
a group of lay people, sisters and priests hoping to be touched by the people,
places and cultures where St Columban traveled, setting up schools and monastic
communities at the end of the sixth and the beginning of the seventh centuries’.
The highlight of the pilgrimage was offering Mass with my classmate, Fr Brian
Gore, on the occasion of our 40th anniversary of ordination. We celebrated
beside St Columban’s tomb in the crypt of the basilica in Bobbio, Italy. I felt
feelings of gratitude to God, to my family, Columbans, the people of Korea, the
benefactors of our mission Society and to St Columban himself.
Through the pilgrimage I have come to know St Columban as someone I could
pray to in a personal way.
Basilica of St Columban, Bobbio, Italy. The basilica was built between 1462 and 1522.