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Authentic Servant Leadership, Journey of Faith

Authentic Servant Leadership, Journey of Faith

“Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43-45

Servant leadership is our meditation of the day… the calling we each have to play a lead role in responding to God’s presence in the world by imitating Christ himself:  alleviating suffering, building up our Church, and honoring the gifts of natural and human life that surround us.  These are all ways to serve and lead as faithful followers of God’s Word… and all ways we can live our baptismal call to mission.

Think of servant leadership as an opportunity to express the fullness of our lives in Christ by using our unique gifts.  With today’s Gospel in mind, I am inspired by some of the greatest examples of servant leadership in our Church.  St. Oscar Romero, the Bishop of El Salvador, is one, a man who ultimately died for preaching the social Gospel of caring for the poor.  Not only did St. Oscar lead his flock with complete trust in God but he preached with courage as well as humility.

I also think of St. Pope John Paul II who even in personal tragedy and illness continued to practice love of neighbor and forgiveness.  And in our own Maryknoll family, I am inspired by the ministry of Servant of God Father Vincent Capodanno, M.M.  Father Vincent chose to become a military chaplain so he could serve in Vietnam.  Caring for his men under fire, this servant leader was killed.  Today he is under consideration for sainthood.

These are extraordinary examples of servant leadership.  But I am sure you know many lives that are sainted in their own way whether long- or short-lived.  What’s important to remember is that our personal calling to serve others is a unique calling from God.  How we choose to respond is up to us.  We could say like the apostles, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”  Or we can understand that following Christ will mean accepting equally all blessings—and all challenges—and that greatness in the eyes of God is measured by how generously we serve one another.

Friend, you have the potential to be a servant leader who is an inspiration to others.  Serve with compassion, lead with complete dependence on our Creator.  As St. Oscar Romero once said:  “Beautiful is the moment in which we understand that we are no more than an instrument of God.”  I know that describes you.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Lance Nadeau, M.M.

Prayer for 3rd Sunday

On the night before you died, Lord Jesus,

You washed the feet of Your disciples and commanded

us to follow Your example and wash one another’s feet

showing us the world’s greatest leaders are those

who offer humble service.

Let no task be too small or lowly

for me that I fail to perform it out of love for you.

Your life is Your greatest lesson in humility.

I am never closer to You, Lord,

then when I kneel to speak to the small,

the lowly and the meek of this world.

For in drawing closer to these little ones

I am in fact drawing closer to You, Jesus.

You Who reigned from the cross,

help me accept setbacks and failures

as Your way to purify my heart

and make room for Your love and grace

that these, in turn, might lift me up

to those heavenly heights where

You live and reign with the Father and

Holy Spirit, God forever and ever.

Amen.

Prayer by, Father Joseph Veneroso M.M.

When we care for one another in Christ’s name, Journey of Faith

When we care for one another in Christ’s name, Journey of Faith

“Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundreds times more now in this present age.”  Mark 10:29-30

Give a lot.  Receive a lot in return.  I think that is what Mark’s Gospel is trying to tell us today.  When we care for one another in Christ’s name… when our only motivation is to proclaim the gift of salvation… God showers us with countless blessings.

But, you say, we are only human!  We have good days when being generous and caring is the easy thing to do; and we have challenging days when we wonder if our efforts have any meaning at all.  That’s when I find it’s helpful to remember one important thing:  we’re in good company. 

The apostles were just like us.  They needed Jesus to reassure them.  He told his followers that their faith would be rewarded many times over, and that living out of love for others, rather than in isolation or fear, is life-giving.  The message is clear:  love is both the gift and the reward.

Witnessing love isn’t always easy or even simple.  It can involve sacrifice and placing someone else’s needs ahead of ours.  That is the nature of sacrifice.  Like Peter, we may want to rebel or find another way out.  But like Peter, we can find comfort in the words of Our Lord who only asks us to be open to the Spirit and the ultimate destination where God is taking us.  And that is eternal life with the Father.

Friend, just before the scripture line I shared with you above, Jesus tells a rich young man, seeking salvation, that it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God. “Rich” can mean financial wealth—that’s obvious… but it can also mean anything that seemingly masks our need for God. 

So decide how you will enter the Kingdom of heaven.  Then in your best moments, praise God; and in your difficult ones, be assured that God is always with you… ready to reward your faith with every blessing, as Jesus says, many times over.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Lance Nadeau, M.M.

Prayer for 2nd Sunday

Everything I have, Lord, I received

from Your bountiful love:

my possessions, my home, my health,

my family, my faith, my life.

May I use these, in turn, to help build

Your kingdom here on earth.

Receive all that I have and give me

all that I need to be a living witness

to Your truth and mercy before

all peoples everywhere.

And when I have nothing more to give

let me give Your peace and presence

that everyone I meet receives and knows

Your loving kindness.

May I walk in the footsteps of

Your beloved apostles who relied

on Your blessings alone

to bring the Gospel to others.

From my poverty of spirit may I

experience the richness of Your wisdom

to live Your Gospel in everything I do.

Day by day lead us closer to your kingdom

by drawing us closer to one another and to you.

We pray in Jesus’ name.

Amen

Prayer by, Father Joseph Veneroso M.M.

Whose Guardian Angel are you? Journey of Fatih

Whose Guardian Angel are you? Journey of Fatih

“Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” Mark 10:15

We know they have a special place in our lives.  But what is it about children that makes them so privileged in our world?

For God, it’s their innocence—something Jesus says we adults should emulate if we wish to enter the Kingdom.  For us, I think it’s their vulnerability.  Whether we are concerned because a child is ours through parenthood or family, or just because all children everywhere are reflections of God’s love, we know that protecting the youngest is what we are called to do.  How difficult that becomes when we see children suffer through no fault of their own from poverty and neglect, or from violence and natural disasters.

Yesterday was the feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, a celebration of our belief that we are strengthened in our faith by the presence of angels just as Christ was during his lifetime.  So I wonder:  Is it possible to think of ourselves as both having a Guardian Angel and being someone’s angel, too?

I believe we can. 

The role of a Guardian Angel is to enlighten and protect—to offer guidance and support when it is needed most.  Our challenge is to find ways to live our deepest Christian values in a world that doesn’t always value children.  And in doing so, to discover that by modeling the role of a Guardian Angel, we are witnessing God’s love in dynamic ways.  Here are some suggestions:

• Become childlike in prayer.  Ask God for help in welcoming the Spirit in at all times, in all situations.  And trust that it will be so.

• Allow yourself to be a little vulnerable… as a child would.  After all, being vulnerable is the basis for any real relationship—with God and certainly with one another.  Letting go of our facades helps build trust.

• Learn about the plight of children who may be suffering in your city or town… or in your own parish. Find a way to be someone’s Guardian Angel.

• Be present to a young child in your life. Someone may need a little guidance or even protection.  You can make the difference.

Friend, I thank God for all the Guardian Angels who protected us when we were children.  And I am grateful for all those who have taken on the role of Guardian Angels in their mission lives, in their families, and in their communities. 

We can take comfort from Mark’s Gospel today.  It’s reassurance that by

becoming child-like, one day we will inherit the Kingdom of God.  May your journey be a safe one, blessed by the presence of children.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Lance Nadeau, M.M.

Prayer for 1st Sunday

Angel of God Most High

be my protector, guardian and guide.

Bear me up should I stumble

and shield me with Your wings

when misfortune and harm fall

like rain all ’round about me.

You Who stand before God’s throne

lead me along the path that leads to life.

Let not the enemy confuse my steps

nor cause me to stumble

lest I forget God’s love and mercy.

Keep me safe by day

and peaceful at night

that awake or asleep I remain

ever mindful of God’s grace.

May I be a guardian angel to others

especially the young, the old, the weak

and all and everyone in need of help,

comfort or protection from the

dangers and distractions of this world

till at length we meet all angels and saints

in the kingdom of God forever.

Amen.

Prayer by, Father Joseph Veneroso M.M.

God’s Overflowing Spirit… for All, Journey of Faith

God’s Overflowing Spirit… for All, Journey of Faith

“Would that the Lord might bestow his spirit on them all!” Numbers 11:29

  Today’s scripture offers us a “Moses moment,” if you will, an insight into good leadership when it really counts.

Two of the men who had left Egypt with Moses were visited by the spirit and began to prophesy in camp.  That alarmed a young man who told Moses to intervene and have them stop.  But Moses answered by saying, “Are you jealous for my sake?  Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets!”

That’s our cue to welcome the Spirit into our lives—the presence of God that is always available to us—and, yes, to preach in word and deed the Good News of our faith.  No need to react to what other people are saying or doing.  As Moses suggests, better to focus on our own gifts and capabilities and share them in the same spirit in which they were given—freely and generously by a loving God.

A challenge worth contemplating at the beginning of a new week is just how we see God’s presence at work in the Church today.  Is it a broad vision or a narrow one?  Are we each a humble reflection of God’s eternal love, or are we more concerned with the doings of other people?

Friend , now is a good time to become the prophet that Moses talked about, and to let God’s love overflow from you in all directions.  Through baptism and the sacraments, each of us has the capacity to do great things.  Now is a good time to show the world how.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Prayer for 4th Sunday

Lord, help me answer Your call

to serve You and share my strength,

my time, and my talents with those

who never tasted Your mercy,

love and compassion.

From of old You raised up prophets

to guide and support Your people

on their journey to new life with You.

Let me never be so blinded by my sin

nor stopped by my faults and weaknesses

that I fail to trust in Your goodness and mercy

and not in my own power alone.

Standing on Your promise to remain

ever by my side, may I rely always and only

on Your word by which You heal, free, and raise us to new life.

Help me, Jesus, to read the signs of the times, and discover Your presence

even in the most unlikely people and unexpected places.

Grant me the courage to share Your word

especially with those who hunger for truth and justice

in our world, that all might acknowledge You as Savior, Lord, and God.

Amen.

Prayer by, Father Joseph Veneroso M.M.

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.

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. James M. Lynch, Fr. Lam M. Hua, Fr. Lance P. Nadeau, Fr. Timothy O. Kilkelly)

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

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.

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