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The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ , Journey of Faith

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ , Journey of Faith

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord.” John 6:51

The gift the Church celebrates today on the feast also known as Corpus Christi is an invitation from Our Lord to be living witnesses of his love and compassion. 

When Jesus consecrated bread and wine at the Last Supper, he said these gifts, His Body and Blood, would be given up for us—as they were on Good Friday—and that our Eucharistic celebration was to continue in his memory. The gift of faith we received is now ours to give.  In word and deed we are called to give our lives, becoming the Living Bread that we consume, that heals our world and welcomes all to salvation in Christ.

When I celebrate Mass and the Eucharist today, I will remember a woman who was an extraordinary example of the Living Bread—someone I will never forget.  Her name was Maria Elena Moyano, a devout member of a Christian community in Lima, Peru who died in 1992.  When armed guerrillas of the far-left threatened to kill people, Maria Elena organized a brave cadre of women to protect themselves.  They started common kitchens and neighborhood cafes so people, especially the children, would not go hungry.  They believed in non-violence and led demonstrations in support of social justice and self-government.

The guerillas regarded Maria Elena as a threat.  Even with protection, Maria Elena was murdered by guerrillas in front of her family.  Her death sparked so much outrage in the community that support for the guerillas began to wane and her resistance movement actually gained strength.  Her legacy in Peru is honored to this day.  She is an inspiration for Christian communities throughout Latin America, especially those struggling against social injustice and conditions of extreme poverty.

Very few of us are called to live our faith the way Maria Elena did.  But each of us is called to become Living Bread with the gifts we do have… kindness, understanding, humility, courage, understanding, and reverence for all life.  These are gifts that can transform the world.

Friend, the giving that Christ spoke of at the Last Supper began with the transformation of bread and wine into His Body and Blood.  May the giving continue each time we witness our faith and become the Bread of Life for all to see. 

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Prayer for 1st Sunday

O blessed Bread, broken, and shared

that we might have communion with You,

Lord Jesus Christ. Give us Your strength

and courage to live Your gospel in our lives

and in our world.

O sacred Wine, blessed, and consumed

that we might experience the peace of heaven

here on earth. Fill our souls with the joy of

receiving the Body and Blood of Christ

into our hearts that long for Your love.

May the Blessed Sacraments be forever praised

in all the tabernacles of the world and may

our good words and actions act as a vigil light

to Your abiding presence in all peoples

who claim You as Lord.

Amen

Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Journey of Faith

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Journey of Faith

“And behold I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:20

Jesus had one mission in mind for his apostles—and for us:  Transform the world as you have been transformed.

This is what we celebrate today on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity:  our calling to go out into the world in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Just as the Father sent his Son to redeem the world, Jesus sent the Spirit to fortify us in proclaiming the Good News of salvation.  With the gift of the Spirit—our personal Pentecost—we have all the tools we need to witness Christ’s compassion and God’s eternal love.

At the same time, Jesus understood that the apostles would have moments of doubt.  That’s why he reassured them—and now us—with words of comfort.  He said he will be in our presence always, an endless reservoir of strength and good will.

Matthew’s gospel reminds us that living our faith happens in relationships…  how well we care for one another… how well we live our baptismal call to serve… and how well we teach others by modeling the Gospel.  Acts of compassion beget more acts of compassion.  That is the nature of the divine impulse:  to transform the world by reaching out, over and again, through prayer and good works.  Being called… being sent… gifting the Spirit to everyone we know.  This is the “trinity of our faith” that we can have only in community with God and one another.  We live our lives in relationships, and we live the most rewarding ones in the presence of God.

Friend, as you celebrate today’s feast day and the infinite gift of the Holy Trinity, let your love spill over the way God’s gifts do—reshaping the world and transforming the soul within you.

       

Prayer for Trinity Sunday

All praise, honor and glory to You, Lord God,

most blessed and Holy Trinity

source of life, love, wisdom and truth

Creator, Sanctifier and Sustainer

of all that is, was, or ever will be.

You created humans in Your divine image

and breathed into us Your life-giving Spirit

and in the fullness of time You became one

with us in our humanity that we might

become one with You in Your divinity.

O Trinity of holy relationships help us empty

ourselves in loving service to one another

and to the world. Be our dynamic force of faith

to overcome mountains of hope to conquer

obstacles and of love to transform our world

into a living tabernacle of Your abiding presence.

Amen.

Prayer by Father Joe Veneroso, M.M.

I hope today’s reflection has special meaning for you.  This is Father Ray Finch, sending you a blessing for the week, and an invitation to listen in again next Sunday.   

Be Not Afraid, Journey of Faith

Be Not Afraid, Journey of Faith

“Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” John 20:19

We think of the apostles as great men—and they were.  But like us they had their fears, which is one of the reasons they were behind locked doors on that first Pentecost Sunday. 

As it happened, the Holy Spirit had other plans for these men of faith, and ultimately for us as well.  Today, on Pentecost Sunday, we celebrate the courage the apostles showed by accepting their call to mission, and in the process, enriching our lives.  We are the inheritors of their courage—their passionate desire—to proclaim salvation in Christ.  All of which begs the question:  How fearless are we in witnessing our own gift of faith?

With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can be the missioners who build God’s kingdom on earth with as steady a hand as the apostles did.  Our Church is born anew each day that we release our fears and give ourselves over to living the Gospel.  Our mission is not to focus on our own happiness or personal concerns, but in spreading the Word of God beginning with the here and now.

On that first Pentecost, you could say the apostles were baptized with the fire of the Holy Spirit, a gift they shared with the disciples we have come to know as Paul, Timothy, Titus and all those who followed.  Imbued with the Holy Spirit, these early missioners overcame their fears.  They moved beyond their culture and comfort zone to proclaim the Good News of our faith. 

Friend, you may not think of yourself as a Peter or Thomas, much less a Paul or Timothy.  But you are.  You have all the gifts you need to witness Christ’s compassion and God’s love.  Your calling comes directly from the Holy Spirit and Pentecost itself, the birthday of our Church.  So, on Pentecost Sunday, be brave and proclaim the Good News with the greatest joy… in ways that only you can.   

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Pentecost Sunday

Come, Holy Spirit, and unlock the door

of my heart which fear and hurt

have sealed shut and held tightly closed.

Open my soul to the peace of Christ

and empower me to forgive and ask forgiveness.

Transform my physical and emotional wounds

into a wellspring of health and healing.

Cast from my heart all hurtful thoughts

that my mind and soul may become

a fitting tabernacle of Your presence.

Fill me with the spiritual gifts of

wisdom, understanding, counsel,

fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

Above all grant me the light of Christ

to lead me through the heat of day

and the silence of night with the

blessed assurance You are ever

by my side.

Amen.

Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso

He’s Always With Us, Journey of Faith

He’s Always With Us, Journey of Faith

 

“Why are you standing there, looking at the sky?”  Acts 1:11

The apostles needed to know more.  Would their Risen Lord restore the kingdom to Israel?  Would they finally be in control?  Obviously, that was their idea of heaven—being in charge of their own fate at long last.  That’s when Jesus told them they would receive another kind of power—from the Holy Spirit—“And you will be my witnesses… to the ends of the earth.”  And with that Jesus was lifted up and a cloud took him from their sight.

On the Solemnity of the Ascension, we are reminded that while it’s tempting to look up at the sky in awe, it’s far better to fix our gaze back down on earth… where the path to salvation is ours for the taking.  And as Our Lord tells us today, we will have all the support we need, a promise to be fulfilled soon enough on Pentecost Sunday with the gift of the Holy Spirit.

This past week we celebrated the Ascension of Our Lord into heaven—a sign that our ultimate destination is union with God our Father after we complete our work on earth.  So better to remember the tasks that will help us reach our goal—witnessing the compassion of Our Lord in all we do, and granting forgiveness as well as seeking it.  Are there things we can do better now to prepare ourselves later for eternal life?  That’s worth a moment of prayer time today.

Living out our call to mission can be challenging at times.  In difficult moments, we may look for ways to skip over the hard work ahead of us, assuming that we will just “qualify” for a seat at the table.  The only way that will happen is by raising our thoughts to heaven, yes… but keeping our gaze on those who need us right here on earth.

Friend, finding the risen Christ is easy.  He’s with us among the poor, the marginalized, the lonely, and the forgotten.  Maybe he’s living right next door to you.  Wherever you fix your gaze, serving Christ by serving others is how we prepare for our own ascension into heaven—one glorious day.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Ascension of the Lord

We lift up our eyes to heaven

as we await Your return, O Lord,

yet You instructed us to seek and find

You here below among the oppressed

and poor of the earth.

Grant us, therefore O Lord, patience

to know the best time to speak and act,

perseverance to continue the task at hand

and the power to do Your Will on earth

even as You do it in heaven.

Send us, O risen and ascended Lord,

Your spirit of courage, kindness and mercy

to follow Your commands and lead others

to seek and find You here below the better

to be with You in heaven forever.

Amen.

Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso

Happy Mother’s Day, Journey of Faith

Happy Mother’s Day, Journey of Faith

 

“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you…” John 15:16

Remembering and celebrating her on Mother’s Day…  That’s how I will honor my mother today—remembering how kind she was and celebrating her many gifts, especially the faith she gave me.

Some of us are fortunate to have our Moms with us today.  Some of us have entrusted her to God and the saints.  However you remember your mother today, I will pray for you both at Mass, asking our Blessed Mother in particular to hold you close.

We all have special memories of Mother’s Day growing up and I certainly have mine.  My mother is the one who first modeled prayer and the Sacraments.  She taught me the virtues of respect and compassion, and also forgiveness.

Later as an adult and young missioner in Bolivia, I learned new lessons about motherhood.  When Bolivians observe Mother’s Day, the world might as well come to a complete stop.  You just spend time with your mother—no excuses!  Watching their joyous family celebrations, I learned something new.  Central to the Bolivians’ understanding of a mother’s love is the connection to their other provider, the earth—a spirit they call Pachamama or Mother Earth.  How extraordinary… The homage they give to the woman who gave them life is a reflection of the homage they give to the earth itself.

Friend, when you were a child, you probably bought your mother flowers or made her breakfast on Mother’s Day.  Now we can still do special things to honor our mother—and all the women we know who are generous life-givers and nurturers.  Model their devotion to the Gospel… share their compassion with someone in need… find a new way to care for Creation itself.  These are all great ways to say, “Thank you, Mom.”

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Mother’s Day

Lord Jesus, from the cross

You entrusted Your Mother

into the care of Your Beloved Disciple,

in whose place we now stand today.

May Your Mother stand in for mine

in teaching me about prayer, faith and life.

Encircle my mother with Your loving embrace,

most blessed and glorious Virgin Mary.

May she know her efforts and tears

found favor in Your immaculate heart.

Lord Jesus,

into Your hands I commend all the women

who brought me closer to You

through their examples of prayer,

compassion, and loving service.

May they enjoy Your blessings forever.

Amen

Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso

On The Way To God, Journey of Faith

On The Way To God, Journey of Faith

 

“Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.”  1 John 3:18

The journey is as important as the destination—an adage that rings ever more true after our past year of enormous sacrifice.  So many heroes, caregivers, and prayer—givers dedicated themselves to the healing.  Their work has been a special calling, and we are grateful for all they do.  They exemplify for me the value and dignity of all work—by the sung and unsung, the known and the unknown.     

Yesterday was the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker, our steadfast model of the man who understood the dignity of work.  He underscores by example the contribution we can each make to the well-being of our communities when we use our God-given skills for the greater good. 

Some call Joseph the Silent Saint.  But through his work he was more than eloquent.  Joseph provided for his family with the skills of a carpenter and the devotion of a husband and father who understood he had a noble role to fulfill.  In recognition of Joseph’s special calling, the Church celebrates the dignity of all work on May 1. 

Joseph taught us that work is the way we participate in the creative life of God our Father. Through our work-offering, whatever and wherever that might be… in an office, in our homes, caring for a loved one, tutoring a child… we are cooperating with God in bringing about the fullness of creation.

Friend, work-offerings in union with the Gospel are the way we build God’s kingdom on earth—the very deeds that St. Paul talks about.  Whether you are an active worker or retiree, the dignity of your mission work is the real centerpiece of your life:  witnessing the Gospel in all you do—in words and deeds—to strengthen the vine and branches of our faith.  On the feast day of the Silent Saint, may St. Joseph the Worker bless your journey. 

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Almighty God, you chose St. Joseph

as the foster father to Your Son Jesus

and the loving spouse of the Virgin Mary.

With silent strength he supported

the Holy Family and bravely led them

through dangers and trials.

Through his intercession bless all families

especially those undergoing difficulties,

hardships, and misunderstandings.

Like Him, may we seek to do Your will

even when the road is long and the way

is difficult or dangerous.

Above all, may St. Joseph cover our homes

with his mantle of love and instill in our hearts

with his love for God’s Word and commands

that we, too, might always seek Your holy

presence in our lives.

Amen

Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso

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