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Chile learning experience


Columban priest Fr Dan Harding, known to many from his time in the Adelaide Archdiocese, recently connected with students of the Ministry Formation Program to help deepen their understanding of what it means to be a ‘missionary Church’.

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From the Columban Mission Centre in Santiago, Chile, Fr Harding and members from the parish community spoke via Zoom about his ministry to 32 participants from Adelaide, Kangaroo Island and Murray Bridge.

He explained that since its return to democracy Chile has emerged as a major migrant destination within South America, particularly for displaced people from Haiti and Venezuela.

While the large-scale migrant arrivals has sparked political tensions and anti-immigrant protests, in his San Columban parish Fr Dan and his team are focused on supporting these migrants and advocating for their rights.

The Columban Migrant Ministry in Chile administers two migrant houses, one for homeless men and the other for homeless women and their children who are victims of domestic violence.  The Ministry also provides education programs, meals for families in need and language lessons.

MFP director Annette Heinemann said that students were clearly impacted by the presentations from Fr Harding and parishioners at the Mission Centre.

They were able to translate to the local context issues relating to integral ecology and the effect of multinational companies on the political landscape in South America, which has a human and environmental impact as well.

“Students were mindful of what has happened to refugees and migrants settling in our own community,” she said.


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