Communities of missionary disciples going forth in joy to share the Good News of God's love. We're on a mission to discover God's love and share it with others. The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers were founded almost 100 years ago to animate and support the Catholic Church in the U.S. to live up to its baptismal call to participate in the Christ's mission to bring the Good News of God's love to the world.
Mission Here or There: Where is God Calling You to Serve?
In speaking to a group of undergrads at a Catholic university recently about mission and Maryknoll, I mentioned my background teaching in low-income areas of the US, and then working at a non-profit serving families in the Seattle area. I noted that it was a transition for me to begin working for Maryknoll, which works to promote the love, peace, and justice of God beyond our borders in some of the poorest nations in the world. Having seen so much struggle within our national borders, I at first wondered what had called me to this new ministry.
Students I taught in Birmingham, AL (2006)
I mentioned this only briefly, going on to explain how my faith has been enlivened by a sense of global awareness and by visiting with people in places like Guatemala and Haiti, as well as learning of the ways that Maryknollers and others live the Gospel throughout the world. Later, though, one of the students asked me to talk more about the tension between addressing the needs of those in our own communities, regions, countries, etc., and addressing the needs of people around the world. (And this is most definitely a tension: I have encountered countless stories of parishes wanting to enter into a global ministry, only to meet resistance from some parishioners that see as more important the needs of the poor in their own backyards. In the case of this student, she was considering her next steps after graduating, specifically whether and how to volunteer or serve.)
The answer that came to me was simple, but not easy (and I said as much!). I said that we all need to ask ourselves where God is calling us to serve. In Catholic circles, especially lay circles, we often do not discuss service through the lens of prayer. We think about what we are good at, what our values are, and what we would like to do. All of these ought to be considered in discernment, but we also often close ourselves to discerning God's path for us, and limit the scope of what we think is possible or necessary.
Children I met in Port-au-Prince, Haiti (2012)
In the case of the question raised by this student, the Scripture model is one of breaking down borders. The disciples often have clear ideas about where they ought to spend their time and who with - who they should eat with, should heal, can learn from - and God consistently challenges those notions. Jesus brings them into Samaria. Jesus challenges them to not only greet their "brothers" and those that love them. In the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Spirit directs the faithful to share the Gospel with the Gentiles.
When pray for the guidance to break down those borders, we can let God direct us without placing preconceived limitations. I told the student that the needs of the poor and vulnerable, no matter where they live, are great. Our challenge is to enter into relationship with them and, through dialogue and prayer, discern how we are called to help. We may be called to the mountains of Bolivia, the rice fields of Cambodia, the inner-cities of the United States, or the hard-to-define boundaries of the Texas-Mexico border. In any case, we need to discern our mission call. And no matter where we are called, we are called to love all people near and far, especially those most in need.
by Matt Gray,originally published in the Catholic Community of Pleasantonbulletin
A couple of weeks ago, I went with two others on a missionary immersion trip affiliated with the Maryknoll order of priests and nuns. We traveled to Haiti and spent one week in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. We didn’t go to “do” anything or to try to build or “fix” anything. The model that we used was one of encounter. The metaphor is to walk with care through someone else’s garden. This posture is central to what it is to do “mission” work today.
There was a strong spiritual dimension to our time in Haiti. On three mornings we celebrated Mass at the convent of the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order founded by Mother Teresa. We also joined the Sisters at their clinic. Inside the clinic is a room that contains 44 cribs and in each crib is a malnourished infant. The infants’ mothers bring their babies to the clinic because they have no food for them and their tiny bodies show sign…
Position Announcement Mission Education Specialist - Promoter New York (Ossining)
Join the Maryknoll Society’s Mission Education Team to help U.S. Catholics share God’s love as communities of missionary disciples. Motivated by love and challenged by the Gospel, Maryknoll’s global mission ministry aims to build bridges of solidarity and compassion with marginalized people throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America. We are seeking a Mission Education Specialist - Promoter to engage in outreach to Catholic educators and students as part of our U.S. ministry to foster a culture of mission through mission education and engagement programs. This position specializes in developing global mission education resources for middle school students in line with the Maryknoll Society’s mission vision and Pope Francis’ vision for a missionary Church. Based out of our headquarters in Ossining, New York.
Responsibilities: Cultivate and maintain relationships with strategic partners to promote mission and…
Isis (pictured), became involved in the Catholic Worker community and educational program founded by Maryknoll Father Tom Goekler in Honduras, after Fr. Tom helped her mother secure a home for the family. Now, Isis and her brother, Carlos, run the program in Guatemala City with a community of other young adults and local mothers. They live and serve in one of the most marginalized and dangerous neighborhoods in the world. Their community is a sign of hope and peace, a place of warmth, welcome, community, and love.
Today is the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, who wakes to the empty tomb and weeps, yet recognizes the Risen Christ in the midst of her despair and announces new hope to the world. Christian people are challenged by the witness of Mary Magdalene, by women and men like Isis and Carlos, and by our belief in the Gospel of Jesus to announce the Good News, especially at times when God's love seems most distant.
We cannot ignore the crises in our midst, but must address them with…