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But they remained silent, Journey of Faith

But they remained silent, Journey of Faith

“They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they remained silent.” Mark 9:33-34

The song says:  “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”  What could be simpler—or more profound?

This Tuesday, people the world over will celebrate the International Day of Peace, an initiative of the United Nations General Assembly.  In pronouncements and special events, nations of Good will be encouraged to strengthen the ideal of peace by observing 24 hours of non-violence. 

Our Holy Father Pope Francis often talks about “a culture of care” that emanates directly from our relationship with God—something he calls a privileged path to peace.  “In many parts of the world,” says the Pontiff, “there is a need for paths of peace to heal open wounds.”  Then he puts the burden on each of us:  “There is also a need for peacemakers, men and women prepared to work boldly and creatively to initiate processes of healing and renewed encounter.”

Are you up to the task?  I hope we all are.  Conflict and struggle are inevitable when one side, or one person, must prevail over another.  It took the apostles a long time to figure this out.  But once they did they became great missioners.  So if we need a guide to peacemaking, I suggest the teachings of Our Lord himself.  Jesus understood that peace can only be achieved when the weakest and most vulnerable are protected and valued.

Friend, we don’t have to transform the whole world.  Just ourselves.  When we act out of love and compassion, when we build communities that accept and care for one another, we become the peacemakers that Jesus called us to be.  And that’s when the world can’t help but become more just, more inclusive, more respectful… and more a reflection of the image of God. 

So as the song says, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me…”  That’s when we will have done our job.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Prayer for 3rd Sunday

O Risen Lord and Prince of Peace,

on the morning of Your resurrection

You showed Your wounded hands

to Your disciples and greeted them

by saying, “Peace be with You.”

Give us that truly blessed peace

the world can neither know nor give:

not the absence of war or conflict,

but Your presence, O God, in our hearts.

Be the still point in our ever spinning world,

the calm in our storm and the blessed silence

in the midst of deafening noise.

Fill my heart to overflowing with Your mercy,

love, and peace that I, in turn, might share Your blessings

with everyone I meet.

Lord, may all nations beat their swords into plowshares,

their spears into pruning hooks.

Show us the way of forgiveness and reconciliation

that leads to You and the Promised Land

spoken of by the prophets of old.

May Your peace cover the world as water

covers the seas, and let it indeed

begin here and now with me.

Amen.

Prayer by, Father Joseph Veneroso M.M.

It’s All About You, Journey of Faith

It’s All About You, Journey of Faith

“But who do you say that I am?” Mark 8:29

The question of the day may surprise you:  Who is Jesus?  Is he a prophet?  A great teacher?  A political disruptor?  Is he really the Messiah?

In today’s Gospel, Peter recognizes Jesus as the Christ, and says so reassuringly.  But when Jesus tells his disciples—for the first time—that the Son of Man must suffer and die, then rise after three days, Peter has second thoughts.  In fact, he rebukes Jesus perhaps wanting to keep his own vision for a Messiah intact—and denying a future that includes pain and suffering.

At this moment, Peter was channeling things of this world and not the divine plan of salvation that Jesus had been preaching.  So the Lord had to bring his disciple back to reality with a few admonishing words.  And doesn’t this all sound a little familiar?  Sometimes we lose our focus, too, straying away from God’s plan in favor of our own.  That’s rarely a good idea.

So the question we must ask ourselves today comes down to this:  Who is Jesus in our lives?  Like Peter we can say, “You are the Christ.”  But, just as it was ultimately for Peter, the proof will be in the ways we express our faith… how we live family life, how we raise our children, how we treat our neighbors… how we live our lives in all the big and small ways of being good missioners.

We know that Peter took a while to express his faith fully.  But even after denying Christ three times, he returned to give his deepest devotion to his Lord.  The truth is, like Peter, we will always have moments of confusion and doubt, too.  Especially if God’s plan is not our plan.  But with confidence in the promise of salvation—and the belief that God is always with us—we can be worthy of our calling to eternal life.

Friend, living our faith is not a one-and-done kind of experience.  The commitments we make to one another—and to God—must be renewed throughout our lives otherwise they weaken and fray.  Affirm who Jesus is for you—in word and deed—and you will have answered the question in today’s Gospel. 

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Prayer for 2nd Sunday

Jesus, my teacher, instruct me in Your truth.

Jesus, holy physician, heal all my wounds.

Jesus, priest and prophet, show me the way

that leads to life with You and all the saints.

Jesus, Messiah, call me to true freedom.

Jesus, Lamb of God, take away my sins.

Jesus, Son of God, awaken the divine image

in all people in every land and in every age.

Jesus, crucified, give me the strength to carry

my cross and follow You each day.

Give me the compassion to help others to carry their crosses

and to stand, when needed, at the foot of the cross of all who suffer.

Transform my pain into a fountain of grace in which I find newness of life.

Savior of the world, save me from myself.

Jesus, Messiah, rule in my heart.

Grant me the peace You promised to

those who follow Your commands.

Jesus, Chosen One, rule in my home.

Let Your anointing cover my relationships

and draw together those who have drifted apart.

May I always confess You as my Lord,

You Who live with the Father and Holy Spirit, God forever and ever.

Amen.

Prayer by, Father Joseph Veneroso M.M.

It’s All About You, Journey of Faith

It’s All About You, Journey of Faith

“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing.”

Isaiah 35:5-6

I love a saying commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin:  “Doing your best means never stop trying.”  It’s the striving that distinguishes what we do in life—and as believers, it also means the way we share our gifts with the less fortunate.

Tomorrow is Labor Day, a great American holiday that honors the workers and the strivers who labor each day on behalf of their families and their communities.  For people of faith, we know that the tasks we perform with the intention of honoring our call to mission are another way of participating in God’s creation.  The work we do each day has the potential to transform the world.  And that’s not a fanciful thought.  We each have a role to play—whether we’re bankers, homemakers, astronauts, or public servants.

The promise fulfilled in Christ is the gift we strive for:  eternal life when our work in the here and now is completed.  Our role as missioners is to make the world we live in a better place by witnessing God’s love and the gift of salvation.  That means laboring in all the ways we know how:  laboring to support our families… laboring to make our neighborhoods stronger and more livable… laboring to protect our environment… and laboring to build up our Church.  We all have jobs to do.  And every job counts.

This Labor Day I am especially grateful for our scientists and doctors… for our dedicated healthcare professionals… and for the combined forces that gave us a COVID vaccine in record time.  Thanks to them, more people are returning to work each month in good health, and many of our service businesses are rebounding.  Thank God for the labor that has made our fall season so hopeful.

Friend, this Labor Day stop and think about the work you are doing to transform the world.  And don’t forget the day-to-day tasks that tell us who you really are in God’s eyes.  Tasks like taking care of a sick family member, babysitting a grandchild, or sitting down to pray the Rosary.  When we take care of one another in the company of Our Lord, we are changing the world.  I wish you a safe and happy Labor Day.  Rest a little… then back to work!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Prayer for 1st Sunday

Accept, O Lord, the work of my hands,

all that I plan or produce, and use them

to advance Your kingdom on earth and give

You glory among the nations.

Receive, O God, my rest and relaxation,

in thanksgiving for all You have allowed me to do

with the time and talents with which You have blessed me.

Bless all people with health and strength

to find a decent job and work to earn a living

wage in safe and sanitary conditions.

Send a spirit of patience and encouragement

to all the unemployed and those seeking work.

Grant the means to retire in peace and security

to all who spent their lives in honest labor.

You Who commanded us to love our neighbor,

protect in a special way all first responders:

nurses, doctors, firefighters, and emergency workers

who risk their lives to hold the line in times of crisis and catastrophe.

For all they have done we give them thanks, and we give You praise,

O God, who call us to life, and fill us with Your love.

Amen.

Prayer by, Father Joseph Veneroso M.M.

Justice and Mercy, Journey of Faith

Justice and Mercy, Journey of Faith

“One who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.” Responsorial Psalm 15

We often talk about justice with words that “feel right” to us—words of balance and proportionality.  Tit-for-tat.  Insult for injury.  But what exactly is the right response to a human failing, including ones we ourselves commit? What will satisfy an injury, if that’s even possible?

Balancing the scales is not what God is about.  Rather God’s justice is rooted in mercy and love—in unquantifiable ways.  That’s why when we seek justice with God in mind, the strategies we learned as little children can’t work any longer.  We need another way to heal from injury and fulfill the law at the same time.

Maybe the best way to practice justice is to build bridges.  I am not saying that rules don’t matter because they do.  The law was important to the Jewish people and to Jesus as well.  But he also gave us the greatest commandment:  Love God with all your heart; and love your neighbor as yourself. 

In today’s Gospel Jesus says the evils that come from within us—malice, greed, deceit and many more—are what defile us.  What enters from above—gifts from the Father and the commandment to love one another—are what bring completeness.  We cannot fulfill the commandments while practicing insult for injury.  So the bridges to justice that I’m talking about are built with mercy and love.  In the face of injustice, always choose love. 

Sometimes justice and love are understood as opposites, one extracting harsh judgment, the other excusing a wrong without any consequence.  I don’t see it that way.  Good and right relationships are fundamentally built on justice.  Both justice and love serve the process of restitution—for the victims, the wrongdoers, and the communities where we live.  And both are in God’s nature. 

Friend, one of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s favorite bible verses is from the book of Amos 5:24:  “Let justice surge like waters, and righteousness like an unfailing stream.”  And may reflections of God’s love—the ones you witness—accompany those healing waters.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Prayer for 5th Sunday

God of justice and peace,

mercy and love,

help me keep Your commandments

that I might give You glory and honor

each and every day of my life.

Let me never answer insult or injury

with vengeance or violence

but, giving everything over to You,

may compassion and forgiveness

bring me closer to Your reign.

Lord, when I can neither forgive nor forget

grant that I may nevertheless let my grievance

go so my heart might know healing

and my soul, peace.

Send me the Holy Spirit as

Comforter and Advocate

in my daily struggles to remain

true to my calling to follow You

all the days of my life.

Walk with me, Jesus, along the way

and let me lean on You

when things go wrong.

Help me to reflect Your love

and mercy to all around me

and together with Your people

seek first Your righteousness

that we might discover Your peace.

Amen.

Prayer by, Father Joseph Veneroso M.M.

Faith Makes it Possible, Journey of Faith

Faith Makes it Possible, Journey of Faith

“We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:69

The apostles started to have doubts.  Could they accept the things Jesus was saying?  Today’s Gospel is a good starting point for our weekly meditation.  After all, we have doubts, too…  Isn’t the “formula for success” too hard at times?  Maybe even a little unreasonable?

In truth, a life of faithfulness isn’t always easy.  In fact, it can even be painful.   Forgiving someone who has hurt us is hard.  So is being generous when we feel needy ourselves.  And is it really true that the more we give, the more we get?  Is God actually listening to our prayers?

Life is a journey with its own rhythms.  Just like the apostles, we don’t always see the straight line to our goal when there are so many challenges.  But doubt does not damage faith.  What damages faith is taking the path that’s easier and less complicated.  And that’s just what some of the disciples did. 

I am reminded of the saints who had doubts and even great crises of faith.  Saint John of the Cross wrote poignantly about his “dark night of the soul.”  And in more modern times, Mother Teresa revealed a deep despair in letters to her spiritual advisor. 

But she never wavered in her dedication to serving the Gospel and the destitute poor.  Today we know her as Saint Teresa of Calcutta.

Friend, when Jesus asked the remaining twelve apostles if they, too, would leave him, it was Peter who spoke up.  He said they believed that Jesus spoke the words of eternal life.  “We have come to believe, and are convinced, that you are the Holy One of God.”  May these words sustain you on your journey.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Prayer for 4th Sunday

O Lord, grant me Your light

when darkness hides the path.

Give me Your peace

when storm clouds break.

Show me the way through

when I cannot go around.

And strengthen my faith

when doubts threaten

to break my resolve.

Let me listen for Your voice

in the cry of the poor

and hear Your word

amidst the noise of this world.

And when sadness and despair

overshadow my plans

let faith rise like the morning sun

to be my guard and guide.

O most merciful Jesus

when life’s worries weigh me down

and burdens become more

than I can bear grant me

the grace to reach out

for help and healing from those

You send me, for I believe

not all saints have halos

nor every angel, wings.

Amen.

Prayer by, Father Joseph Veneroso M.M.

Faith Makes the Difference, Journey of Faith

Faith Makes the Difference, Journey of Faith

“Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

Luke 1:45

On the Feast of the Assumption, I can’t help but think about Mary’s courage in becoming the mother of God.  Did she know that God was asking her to play a unique role in human history—one with moments of joy but also pain and sorrow?  Did she ever consider saying “no” to the angel Gabriel?

So many times we find ourselves just as alone as Mary must have felt.  Her circumstance was certainly startling:  a betrothed young woman about to have a child that would become the Savior of the world.  The challenges in our own lives can fill us with doubts, too.  But Mary said, “Thy will be done.”  Her trust in God changed the world. 

Each time we trust in God, we have the potential to change the world, too—in expected and unexpected ways.  We know that God is always with us.  There is nothing to fear.

Just as Mary was assumed into heaven, body and soul, we can have hope that God will raise us up through our daily challenges.  We have God’s promise that we are supported in our mission lives with the same hope that gave Mary her strength—and her reward.

Celebrating the feast of the Assumption is a celebration of hope… hope that we will also share in a physical resurrection one day… and that Mary is our intermediary before her Son until the day we are united with him and all the saints of heaven.

Friend, the prayer that Mary recites, praising God, is inspirational for me and I hope for you:  “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.”  Be comforted, be confident, that Mary is praying for you in the company of her Son.  That is the gift of today’s great feast day.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Reflection for 3rd Sunday

The Assumption of Mary

Rise up in splendor and glory

O most blessed Virgin Mary

Mother of our Savior and

Mother of the Church!

Living tabernacle of the Most High

and sanctuary of the Word Incarnate

Your flesh gave flesh to Jesus

as You gave Your Son to the world.

You Who now dwell in the fullness of grace

with the fullness of Your humanity

look upon our lowliness and need and

make our poverty known to Your Son.

Inspire us with Your strength and humility

to do whatever he tells us to turn our hearts

to God and our minds to truth and justice

on earth as they are in heaven.

O fairest daughter of Israel

teach us to walk in the ways of your Son

that we too might search and find him

among the wise and the righteous

and help us when our time comes

to stand at the foot of the Cross

in witness to God’s love for us

and thus make Your Yes to God our own.

Amen

Prayer by, Father Joseph Veneroso M.M.

ABOUT MARYKNOLL

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.

OUR GENERAL COUNCIL

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

(Fr. Tom O’Brien, Fr. Ray Finch, Fr. Joe Everson, Fr. Russ Feldmeier)

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers is overseen by our General Council, led by Superior General Fr. Ray Finch.

OUR FOUNDERS

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

(Our Co-Founders Father Price and Father Walsh)

PLACES WE SERVE

EVANGELIZATION, PARISHES, AND PROJECTS

USA

STORIES OF MISSION

(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.

ASSOCIATE PROGRAM

Enrich your own vocation, walk-in solidarity with people overseas, and work together with Maryknoll Missioners. We offer US priests and Brothers ordained elsewhere the opportunity to work in overseas missions.

L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier
“Go where you are needed but not wanted, and stay until you are wanted but not needed.”
– Bishop James E. Walsh, M.M.
First Maryknoll Bishop