|Fr. Leo Tibesar, MM, with Ms. Edith Otaka|
Maryknoll's commitment to standing with the stranger in our midst touches the United States in a distinct way. In the first half of the 20th Century, Maryknoll administered a parish serving Japanese and Filipino Americans in my hometown of Seattle. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, our parishioners of Japanese descent were viewed as a threat by the US Government - evicted by executive order from their homes and forced to live in internment camps. Our Maryknoll priest, sisters, and brothers followed them to the Minidoka camp in Idaho, continuing to accompany and serve them. Once released and having lost their homes, many relocated to Chicago. Their pastor, Maryknoll Fr. Leopold Tibesar (native of Quincy, IL), relocated with them.
From the moment that I joined Maryknoll's mission education team in Seattle, the story of Maryknoll's prophetic solidarity with the Japanese-American community gave me pride in being part of the Maryknoll family. As it happens, I made my own journey to Chicago a couple of years ago, and with my team am blessed to participate in Maryknoll's tradition of ministering to and in solidarity with members of immigrant communities. We work with Latino/a young adults, many of whom are DREAMers, to form them as leaders, peacemakers, and missionary disciples who participate with God to transform our world through love.
Kevin Foy is Team Leader for Church Engagement in the Central United States.