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St Columba - Feast Day 9 June

Our Patron was born c. 521 in County Donegal and baptised Colm or Colum which in Gaelic means dove. Translated into Latin it is Columba. In later life he was commonly called Colmcille. St Bede, the Father of English history, considered his name was a combination of Columba et cella, referring to the many cells or religious houses he established. On both sides Columba was of royal lineage.

As soon as he was considered old enough Columba began his schooling at several monastic schools, many of his teachers becoming Saints themselves, including St Finian, St Keiran, and St Canice. He became steeped in Irish history and literature, and was considered a poet of no mean order. Having been ordained a priest, Columba spent the next fifteen years going about Ireland preaching and founding monasteries of which the chief were those of Derry, Durrow and Kells.

In 563 he left Ireland with twelve companions in a wicker boat covered with leather for Iona, an island off South-West Scotland which had been given to him for a monastery. Columba was then 42, and he remained there for the rest of his life, returning to Ireland for occasional trips. Different reasons have been given for Columba's leaving Ireland - some say he was responsible for a battle in which 3,000 men were slain, and as penance he exiled himself from his own country. His early biographers, including his successor at Iona, were more generous in saying that it was his love of Christ and his missionary zeal which took him to Scotland.

Iona is situated opposite the border between the Picts of the north and Scots of the South. It formed an ideal centre for missions to both peoples. He converted Brude, the king of the Picts, and there at Inverness he founded two churches. While his missionary work was impressive, Columba's influence has probably been exaggerated. It would be more true to say that he was the inspiration for the work carried on by his successors.

Columba retained some form of authority over the monasteries he had founded in Ireland, and these he visited from time to time. As mediator at different councils he was instrumental in defending the social position of bards, advocating the education of the laity, and even securing the exemption of women from all military service.

When not engaged on missionary or diplomatic expeditions, Columba's headquarters continued to be at Iona, where he was visited by all kinds of people, some desiring spiritual or bodily help, some attracted by his reputation for sanctity, his miracles and his prophecies. His manner of life was most austere - which he imposed on his monks - but with the passage of time his character mellowed. it was written that "he had the face of an angel; he was of an excellent nature, polished in speech, holy in deed, great in counsel. He never let a single hour pass without engaging in prayer or reading or writing or some other occupation. He endured the hardships of fasting and vigils without intermission by day and night."

Four years before his death, Columba's strength began to fail. He continued his work of transcribing books. Some of his poems still exist, as does a copy of the book of the Psalms. He died in his abbey church in this day 597, just before the office of Matins was about to begin.

Contact

St Columbkille's Catholic Parish, Corrimal in the Catholic Diocese of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
Pastor: Fr Patrick Vaughan (resident in Bulli - 02 4284 3000)

  • 99 Princes Highway [PO Box 32] Corrimal NSW 2518
  • Parking and deliveries: entry from Colm Lane (from Coxs Avenue) at rear of church.
  • Phone: 02 4284 4065 | Email:
  • Find out more: St Col's Church

Services

ColmCare is the Parish organisation that provides support for parishioners and their families. The aim of this ministry is to provide a simple way for people to get assistance when the need arises. By making one phone call to Alice (02 4285 8621) or Maureen (02 4285 9869) the help needed can be discussed and arrangements put in place to provide that care.

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CATHOLIC CEMETERY: A niche in the St Columbkille's Columbarium Memorial Wall for cremated remains may be purchased for $1,320 (including GST). This includes space for the ashes of one person. This does not include the cost of the plaque. Information and application forms may be obtained by contacting Christine Phillips on 4283 6954.

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Contact

Pastor: Fr Patrick Vaughan (02 4284 3000)
02 4284 4065
Find out more: St Col's Church