Centenary of St. Columbanus celebrated at Luxeuil
IN the little one-street French town of Luxeuil, on the edge of the forgotten Maginot Line, hundreds of pilgrims from half a dozen countries spent the latter part of last week recalling the missionary activities of the Irish St. Colurnbanus.
But they were also busy keeping their ears open for any news coming across the Continents about the war in Korea and the fate of the Columbian Fathers on either side of the fighting.
Fr. Jeremiah Dennehy, Superior General of the Maynooth Mission to China—the Columban Fathers— was in Luxeuil to represent the 500 priests of the Society. most of them Irish but also including American, Australian and New Zealand members.
Awaiting news of the 14th centenary celebrations was the Society's founder. Mgr. Edward Galvin, Bishop of Hangyang, who was born on the Feast of St. Columbanus 67 years ago and has been a missionary in China for 39 years.
Today many members of his Society are to be found in and near the war areas----45 in Seoul and other parts of Korea, in Shanghai. Pekin and Tokio.
Before the celebrations began it was hoped that when the Papal
Nuncio, Archbishop Roncalli, arrived in Luxeuil, he would he able to announce that the Holy Father had decided to include the name of St. Columbanus in the Church Universal Calendar of Saints.
Later, however. it was stated that the petition presented to the Holy See by the Archbishop of Besancon, Mgr. Dubourg—who presided at the celebrations has yet to be considered by an assembly of Cardinals.
The petition is being supported by Cardinal Tien, Archbishop of Pekin. native Bishops in China, Japan and the Philippines and many European prelates.
Pilgrims came from Italy, Switzerland, Germanyeand Luxembourg to join the French in the four-day congress.
A big • delegation of Bishops, headed by Mgr. McQuaid. Archbishop of Dublin. Abbots and priests went from Ireland.
The Irish President. Mr. Costello, was there with Mr, Sean McBride, Minister of External Affairs. and Mr. de Valera, with his two sons.
Mr. de Valera occupied St. Etabilein's cell in the seminary for the four days' living according to the rule of the Society, M. Schuman, French Foreign Minister, took part in the celebrations, with diplomatic representatives of the U.S.A. arid Italy.
The relics of St. Columbanus were brought from Flobetio, where he died. and those of his disciple and missionary companion, St. Gall, from Switzerland, and were carried in procession through the town in heavy rain.
Two members of the Swiss band accompanying the relics from Switzerland were stopped at the frontier because they were German, but, on being classed as pilgrims, were at once given temporary visas.
On Sunday a great statue of St. Columbanus was formally unveiled. It had already been on its pedestal for three years awaiting the ceremony. hut like _the celebrations —which were to have taken place 10 years ago—had to wait for the return of peace.