Reflections on my Spirituality Year, Maryknoll, Chicago, 2017

Growing in understanding is a grace from God. My Maryknoll Spirituality Year here in Chicago, USA has availed me many opportunities for growth.  My understanding of the missionary charism of Maryknoll has also grown. I have learned about the beginnings of Maryknoll. I have also been inspired by the example of James A. Walsh and Thomas Fredrick Price. I have learned too about Mother Molly Rogers, an American woman whose zeal for mission led to the founding of the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic.A major aspect of Maryknoll’s missionary spirituality involves flexibility and adaptability. Maryknoll’s history presents men and women who are willing to live side by side with people of other cultures. I cannot help but notice how, relative to the mission lands of my home region, accessing social amenities is easier in the US. This realization is a result of living in the US during my Spirituality Year. For Maryknoll missionaries serving outside of the US, it is evident that adapting to a lack of this comfort is steeped in and informed by a deep desire to expand the Reign of God. Choosing to be a missionary disciple of Jesus demands that we examine our perceptions of comfort. My Spirituality Year has challenged me to consider the comfort of home vis-à-vis the spiritual fruits of living side by side with the marginalized of cultures foreign to my own. I have asked myself frequently: what do I want?; what do I desire?; what do I hope to achieve?; how can I serve God?; Reflecting on these questions has helped me discover many gifts from God. I have also realized how hard it is to speak definitively about who God is. I do not have a monopoly on the message of Christ.

I would do well, therefore, to tread lightly on, as Rodger Schroeder, one of my professors at the Catholic Theological Union (CTU) would say, someone else’s garden. My prayer, during this year, has been that God may purify my intentions to serve as a Maryknoll missionary.I arrived in the United States on February 15, 2017. I have no fond memories of those freezing temperatures that welcomed me to the western hemisphere of the globe.

I spent the first three months of my Spirituality year in the Maryknoll Initial Formation House here in Chicago. I was warmly welcomed by the community on my arrival. Many of my needs were anticipated by members of my community. With such a community, understanding the basics of Divine Providence is not difficult. The Intercommunity Novitiate (ICN) program helped me consider aspects of my vocation in the company of novices from other congregations and orders. I enjoyed the company of the novices. Often, I found concepts at the ICN stimulating. My studies at CTU and a tutoring ministry at San Miguel School helped orient me to the people of America. I remember admiring the efficiency that seemed to be almost everywhere: from the public transportation system to procedures at CTU.I spent some months at Maryknoll, New York as part of my formation. I found the veteran missionaries inspiring in many ways. I got to meet some missionaries I’d heard about back at home in Kenya. Meeting with Fr. Art Wille, Fr. Paul Belliveau and many other Maryknoll Missionaries who worked across the globe was both humbling and energizing. It occurred to me that I was in the presence of Maryknoll’s living history. I enjoyed conversations with Maryknollers in the dining hall. Conversing with men who have trod in the footsteps of Jesus in the missions strengthened my desire for service. My intention to serve God wherever I’m sent was confirmed.Attending a mission spirituality seminar with Fr. Larry Lewis, MM helped me to reflect on my experiences at the Knoll. God was gracious to me through the work of Fr. Larry. Events at the Knoll helped me learn about Maryknoll’s way of proceeding. I also met many people who support and contribute to Maryknoll’s mission. Indeed, together we make God’s Reign visible.Francis X. Ford, distilling many years of experience in the missions, counsels that ‘God needs us where we are’. I have witnessed God’s fidelity to me in this land far away from my native one. I have been prepared to serve the people of God in the missions. Through my ministry at the University of Chicago Hospital, I have found Jesus in the people I ministered to. As Ruth Burrows writes in The Essence of Prayer, formation here in Chicago has helped with my ‘attitude of heart and mind…[one]…that remains always on the receiving end in the divine relationship’.I took my First Oath to Maryknoll on December 10, 2017. During the homily, Fr. Raymond Finch, MM spoke of the gravity of my commitment. With my First Oath, I chose to commit myself to Maryknoll. Programs in my Spirituality Year prepared me for this level of commitment. Maryknoll’s mission has held a place in my heart for many years. Now I get to be part of this mission which is itself a gift from God. I choose to learn, to love and to serve God’s people in the Maryknoll way. My desire to be a missionary disciple is confirmed. It is this desire that, as Ita Ford, MM counsels, helps infuse meaning in my life. I do not take this for granted. I’m grateful to my family back at home in Kenya and to members of the Maryknoll Africa region.I leave for Cochabamba, Bolivia, on Wednesday, December 20th, 2017. I am confident that my friends are praying for me. I have their blessings. I have witnessed God’s fidelity through the presence of my friends during my First Oath here in Chicago. I found God in the people who have accompanied me during my Spirituality Year. These souls have been the channels of God’s grace. I felt blessed and joyful on December 10, 2017. Now, I look forward to sharing the gift of joy that God has bestowed upon me in Bolivia. Primum, Regnum Dei.

Meet Father Peter Latouf, M.M.

Father Peter Latouf admits that the appeal of the priesthood was seeded in him growing up in the Maronite Catholic Church, an Eastern-rite church in communion with the Vatican.

According to him, the Mass, the psalms, the liturgy of the hours are appealing to him because others are doing this as well and his prayer is joining in the universal Church’s prayer.

Father Peter was completing his bachelor’s degree in psychology and international studies in Wayne State University in his hometown of Detroit but he needed three semesters of a foreign language. He chose Mandarin Chinese, just because it wasn’t what everyone else was doing.

After three semesters of Mandarin, he spent the summer of 2004 in China on a school trip. He wanted to go back as soon as he left but he wanted to go back having the church element in it. Having been raised in a “very strong Catholic” family, he started asking priests in Detroit how he might do mission work in China and they directed him to Maryknoll.

Father Peter Latouf, M.M.

Father Peter Latouf with Taiwanese children

With Mandarin studies under his belt, plus a master’s in education from Wayne State as well, he was assigned to overseas training in Taiwan, where he gained pastoral experience working with the indigenous Bunun people in a Maryknoll parish in the mountains.

He was given a chance to travel to North Korea with Maryknoll Father Gerard Hammond who works with patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. He tried to prepare himself mentally for the trip, but found the experience nothing like he expected.

The two experiences—helping desperately sick people in North Korea and working with indigenous Taiwanese—sum up mission for Father Latouf. On the one hand, it’s finding reality worse than the “sanitized version” we expect to see, he says, and on the other “there’s a spirit and there’s a knowledge that people have and I think it’s very easy to underestimate that as well.”

Father Latouf celebrated his first Mass at Our Lady Queen of Apostles Chapel of the Maryknoll Society on Sunday, May 21, and then returned home to celebrated Mass in his parish of St. Sharbel Church in Sterling Heights, MI on June 17.

Meet Father Daniel Kim, M.M.

Father Daniel Siwoo Kim says his faith was first nourished by his parents and strengthened at his home parish, St. Thomas Korean Catholic Center in the Diocese of Orange, California.


After earning his bachelor’s degree in philosophy, Father Kim joined Maryknoll as a seminarian in 2009, when he said he felt like it was the right thing to do.

Father Kim was seeking concrete direction for his life while he was in college. In 2005 he took a year off and went on a pilgrimage to Europe. There, he witnessed the murder of Brother Roger Schutz who founded the Taizé ecumenical monastic community. That moment brought him to explore his vocation in a deeper way.

He stayed in Europe for a semester to study Scripture at a university in Nemi, Italy. Soon after, he met Maryknoll Father Alfonso Kim, who told him about the missionary society. He entered Maryknoll during August 2009, soon after graduation from California State University at Long Beach with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy.

Father Daniel Kim

Fathers Daniel Kim and Alfonso Kim

Father Kim was ordained a deacon on August 29, 2015 at his home parish of St. Thomas Korean Catholic Center in Anaheim, California. He earned a master’s of divinity degree from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago during 2016.

He has learned about and experienced his faith during many contemplative opportunities that have included the study of the Mandarin language in Taiwan and China during his overseas mission training program. He also is fluent in Korean.

“I cannot contain my excitement,” added Father Kim, “to return to Asia and serve the people of God there as a missionary priest.”

Father Kim celebrated his first Mass at the Chapel of the Annunciation of the Maryknoll Sisters on Sunday, May 21, and then returned home to celebrate Mass in his parish of St. Thomas Korean Catholic Center in Anaheim, CA on May 28.


We are a Catholic Society of priests and brothers based in the United States. We are dedicated to missionary work overseas in over 20 countries. Additionally, we animate Catholics in the United States to follow their own baptismal call to share God’s compassion and love with the poor, the sick, and all those in need.


L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier

(Fr. Lance P. Nadeau, Fr. James M. Lynch, Fr. Timothy O. Kilkelly, Fr. Juan Montes Zúñiga)

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers is overseen by our General Council, led by Superior General Rev. Lance P. Nadeau, M.M.

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L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier

(Our Co-Founders Father Price and Father Walsh)





(Africa) Education and Formation of African Clergy

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Africa Region will provide tuition assistance to African clergy, male and female religious at institutes of higher education or specialized training. Read More

Stories of Our Global Mission

The calling of a lifetime
The life of a Maryknoll missioner is challenging, fulfilling, and deeply rewarding. Follow your baptismal call to mission by sharing God’s compassion with the poor, the sick, and people most in need.