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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

Greener Pastures, Journey of Faith

Greener Pastures, Journey of Faith

“I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me…”. John 10:14

Not many of us have ever owned sheep let alone taken care of sheep—but I have.  At one point during my mission days in Peru, I was asked to serve as director of a seminary.  As was the custom, when a seminarian arrived to begin his studies, the families would each give a sheep as a gift.  Before long, our grounds had become something more than a petting zoo!  This city boy had to learn on the fly how to care for his flock.

One day I needed to corral the sheep but they just would not respond.  The more I tried to move them together, the more they scattered in all directions.  “They’re not very smart,” I thought.  Seeing my frustration, a wonderful woman who worked in our kitchen and usually took care of the sheep, came out to rescue me.  With a deft call to attention, she brought all the sheep back in what seemed like seconds, including the ones who had jumped the wall and were in danger of getting lost.

I think our relationship with God needs to be like that—responding to the voice we know and the presence we trust.  This is what helps us move where we need to go, and to serve where we are being called.  Otherwise, sheep scatter and become lost.  Without the Gospel and the promise of the Resurrection, we lose our connection to home.

Friend, I think Jesus became the Good Shepherd because sheep need a lot of guidance and a gentle hand.  The more we read scripture, celebrate the Sacraments, and strive to witness God’s love, the stronger we become in our faith.  And the more we recognize God’s voice of encouragement.  We know without a doubt who is calling us home to the safety of greener pastures.  It’s the Good Shepherd, the gatherer of souls who says “I know mine, and mine know me…”   difficult moments.

Friend, the words of today’s Gospel are a comfort and a consolation.  Receive the gift of our Risen Christ knowing that you are never alone, never without the strength you need to love and serve the Lord… just like the disciples who found Christ on the road to Emmaus.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Good Shepherd

When I was lost and couldn’t find my way,

You came looking for me, Good Shepherd,

to gently lead me home again.

Protect the flock given You by the Father,

lead us to rest in green pastures and guide

us along the right paths.

You who are shepherd and Lamb of God,

grant that we might never follow

any voice but Yours. Call us by

name and soothe our hearts

when we panic or are confused.

Grant us blessed assurance that

we need not fear nor face dangers alone.

Lord, you told us there are other sheep

not of this fold that You must also lead.

Help us recognize our brothers and sisters

no matter what flock they may belong to

till at length there will be one flock and one shepherd,

You, Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen

Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso

On The Way To God, Journey of Faith

On The Way To God, Journey of Faith

“The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way, and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread.”  Luke 24:35

Have you ever stopped to notice where people encountered Jesus? 

It’s often in the humble, ordinary moments of life… while people are at work—maybe fishing; while they’re gathered with family and friends—remember the wedding feast of Cana? Even while they’re traveling from one town to another—as in the story of the Good Samaritan.  Then there’s the story of the Walk to Emmaus… the resurrected Christ meeting two of his disciples and changing their lives, and ours, forever.

The two men were saddened by the loss of Jesus. Where was God’s purpose in the Crucifixion?  As they walked to Emmaus, Jesus appeared in their midst.  When they arrived in Emmaus, Jesus took bread, blessed it, and gave it to the disciples.  At that moment, they recognized him as their risen Lord.  Their spirits were renewed.  They returned to Jerusalem filled with a desire to witness the Gospel and the living presence of Christ.

Emmaus is a reminder of the many pathways to God.  In the ordinary activity of everyday life, Jesus is always present if we are open to receiving him and sharing him with a world anxious for healing.  That ordinary activity of ours could be anything from shopping and running errands to waiting on line or saying the Rosary on Zoom with a parish prayer group.   

Finding Christ in the simple journeys of everyday life is especially comforting right now.  Who hasn’t experienced isolation in the past year?  It’s been so much harder to attend Mass and receive the Sacraments, harder to get together with family and friends.  But that doesn’t mean that Jesus has abandoned us.  Quite the opposite.  What the disciples experienced on the road to Emmaus was the enduring presence of our God, always at hand, especially in the most

difficult moments. 

Friend, the words of today’s Gospel are a comfort and a consolation.  Receive the gift of our Risen Christ knowing that you are never alone, never without the strength you need to love and serve the Lord… just like the disciples who found Christ on the road to Emmaus.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Third Sunday of Easter

When all hope had vanished and

all our dreams destroyed,

you came to us, Lord Jesus,

as a stranger on the road

who opened the scriptures to us.

How our hearts burned within us

as You taught us it was necessary

for the Messiah to suffer and die!

At table after giving thanks to God

you broke bread and bid us take and eat

and our eyes were opened and

our spirits soared with the Good News:

You are risen! Your presence and perfect love

cast out all fear from our hearts

as we ran to share the Good News.

Help us, Risen Lord, to seek and find

You in the ordinary places and events of life.

Come to us in our everyday activities

so we might see there is no work so small,

no task so insignificant that it cannot be dedicated

to Your kingdom when performed with love.

Amen

Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso

Blessed are the Merciful, Journey of Faith

Blessed are the Merciful, Journey of Faith

“But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.” John 20:31

We thank Saint Pope John Paul II for reminding us today of God’s love for all people—no matter their station, no matter their sins. 

This is Divine Mercy Sunday, a celebration begun by our beloved Pope in 2000.  On the Sunday after Easter that year he canonized Blessed Faustina Kowalska, a devoted religious, designating the second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday.  Mindful of St. Faustina’s gift to the Church at Easter, our Holy Father proclaimed:

“Jesus said to St. Faustina one day, ‘Humanity will never find peace until

it turns with trust to Divine Mercy.’  Divine Mercy!  This is the Easter gift

that the Church receives from the risen Christ and offers to humanity.”

What our Holy Father is saying is that personal transformation—the passage into new life that we celebrated at Easter—is only possible because of God’s mercy.  Each time we witness mercy, we transform ourselves in God’s image and offer the gift of new life to the world.  We become creators in a worldly way and in a spiritual way, too.

God’s mercy opens the door to a deeper practice of our faith, never failing to forgive and transform.  So, think of mercy as your starting point.  Know that mercy is God’s personal gift to you.  Then share the bounty.  Reach out to all of Creation, to everyone you encounter, and offer them the example of transformation that God has called you to be.  Mercy is a chance to heal divisions, overcome the hurts, set aside the misunderstandings, and start over.  With God’s blessing.

Friend, accept God’s divine mercy as the gift that that never stops giving back.  The more we practice being merciful, the more complete we become, and the stronger we are for the journey home.  Think big, practice small… an act of mercy a day.  More when you can.  I know God will bless and reward you. 

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Divine Mercy Sunday

Pour out Your mercy upon me,

O divine Savior and Lord

who from the cross blessed the world

with salvation and grace.

Wash away my sins and cleanse me

from all transgressions against

Your most Sacred Heart.

More than water covers the earth

let Your mercy cover the world

freeing the captive, healing the

broken-hearted, and lifting

up the downtrodden.

You who prayed to the Father

to forgive Your executioners

help me to let go of past grievances

and turn over to You any thoughts

of vengeance or retribution

that I might worthily walk in Your ways.

Amen

Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso

Happy Easter, Felices Pascua, Buona Pascua, Journey of Faith

Happy Easter, Felices Pascua, Buona Pascua, Journey of Faith

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.” Psalm 118:24

Truly, this is the day the Lord has made.  Rejoice with me in celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the gift of eternal life.  There is no greater love than the sacrifice of the Cross.  We are a blessed people.

As you celebrate Easter Sunday—at home or safely in the company of family and friends—remember that our calling as missioners is to share in the life of Christ and the promise of salvation.  We know the past year has been challenging.  But whatever our circumstance may be—rich in blessings or blessings tempered by hardship—be assured… We are exactly where we need to be to reach our destination in Christ. 

How we accept and learn from every life experience is how we will complete the journey home to new life and our personal Easter.  With God’s grace, we will use every moment God gives us to deepen our faith, and to find solace in scripture and the sacraments.  As Easter celebrants, we have the conviction that life always overcomes death.  We know that expressions of new life can come at any time, usually with some sacrifice, and sometimes when we least expect them.  The Resurrection we celebrate today is our assurance that what we believe is so.

On this most sacred of holy days, I will remember you at a special Easter Sunday Mass to honor all of our missioners and co-missioners, our supporters and friends, and our prayer partners all over the world.  You are among them.  I will remember as well the richness of the Easter celebrations our Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers will offer today—beginning at dawn—in English, Korean, Chinese, Spanish, Swahili, Nepalese, and more.  The universality of our faith is reflected in the diversity of our faithful, the Kingdom of God on earth.  Celebrating the Resurrection is our common language.

Friend, may the blessings of Easter provide light and life for the journey that will take you home one day into the radiant splendor of eternal life.  That’s the promise of the Resurrection.  Yes, let us rejoice and be glad.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Easter Sunday Reflection

April 4, 2021 

O blessed dawn, O radiant light

that shattered the darkness of death

and scattered the shadows of sorrow!

Rise in our hearts with that same splendor

which greeting the mourning women

that first Easter morning.

Risen Savior! Grant us Your peace

a peace the world cannot give

and breathe on us Your Holy Spirit

to proclaim Your name and empower us

to be apostles of Your gospel to the world.

Lord, let Your Easter glory permeate

and penetrate every aspect of our life,

so that the Reign of God be established

in our hearts, in our homes,

in our lives and in our world.

Amen! Alleluia!

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