Have your prayer intentions remembered in our daily masses and communal prayers.

Sing a New Song, Journey of Faith

Sing a New Song, Journey of Faith

“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth.” Psalm 34:2

One sure solution for dwelling on the negative is to do the exact opposite:  count your blessings and be thankful.

Last week, we talked about “the grumbling syndrome,” and how letting God into our lives is the only answer to our discontent.  Today I want to focus on a practice that gets us beyond the complaints of everyday life.  It’s called being grateful.

Regardless of the day I’m having, I know I can always ask myself:  “What are the things I’m most grateful for right now?”  Some people talk about a Top Ten list, but my list—called “Thank you, God”—is more like a Top 100!  It doesn’t take much to find reasons to be grateful, just a change of attitude.  With a different mindset, a snowflake can be dazzling, and a child’s laughter can be a dose of medicine.  The most common things of life have the ability to steady our ship and even guide us safely home—if we just see the hand of God at work.

One way to welcome God in is through prayer.  Try sitting quietly for at least ten minutes a day.  If walking is how you meditate, then ask God to join you and begin your prayer of thanksgiving.  If you’re pressed for time, another technique is to begin and end each day by identifying just one thing you’re grateful for.  When the practice of gratitude becomes routine—whatever that means for you—signs of God’s presence become routine, too.

You probably want to know what I’m grateful for.  So many things for sure, but more than anything I thank God for the people in my life:  my extended family and friends, my fellow missioners, and the families I served in Peru.  I am grateful for you and your love of mission.  In the hubbub of life, these are the blessings that can go unrecognized but are so worthy of gratitude.

Friend, one last thought:  Think of the worst thing you did today and know you are forgiven.  Think of the best thing you did today and know you are a blessing.  Count those blessings up and you will be God’s messenger of mercy, love, and forgiveness.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Prayer for 2nd Sunday

Thank you, God, for the gift of life

and for every breath I take

that reminds me of the miracle

of my being.

Thank you, God, for the mystery of time

with which to measure the wonders

of creation and the height and depth

of Your love for me.

Thank you, God, for the grace of memory

through which I cherish all that was,

and the grace of hope with which

I long for a brighter tomorrow.

Thank you, God, for the glory of a flower,

the beauty of a sunset, the majesty of a tree,

the freedom to pray and the wisdom to

thank you for all things.

Amen.

Prayer by, Father Joseph Veneroso M.M.

A Little Bit Goes a Long Way, Journey of Faith

A Little Bit Goes a Long Way, Journey of Faith

 

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” John 6:35

Easier to grumble than let God be God, right?  Easier but not very satisfying to our souls.

In today’s reading from Exodus, we hear the complaints of the Israelites who just a few days out of Egypt and slavery accuse Moses of leading them into a desert only to die of famine.  That’s when the Lord tells Moses that he will rain down bread from heaven “so that you may know that I, the Lord, am your God.”

We all need to hear those words from time to time.  Focusing on the Bread of Life doesn’t take away the shortcomings and setbacks that inevitably come our way.  But it does center us on the gift of God’s unwavering presence in our lives—through the Eucharist and through our love for one another, especially those who need us most.

At the same time, God is asking us to become the Bread of Life for one another… to share each other’s burdens and to celebrate each other’s joys.  The goal is to become the person God created us to be:  cheerful in our faith, compassionate toward those in need, and dedicated to building God’s kingdom on earth.  That is our mission calling.

And today is a perfect moment to respond:  by practicing the corporal works of mercy, making time for prayer, removing hurts, extending forgiveness… and letting God be God.

The manna from heaven in today’s reading is fulfilled in the Eucharist, the food that, as John says, does not perish but endures for all eternity.  A good message for our souls to dwell on this day.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Prayer for 1st Sunday

Nourish us, O Bread of Life,

with the very Body of Christ

that the love of Christ might fill

our hearts, minds, and lives to overflowing.

Strengthen us, O Food of Angels,

with the living Bread of heaven

that we might live no longer for ourselves

but for all those for whom Christ died.

Empower us, O Blessed Sacrament

in which the body, blood, soul, and divinity Of Christ

remain with us to fulfill the command of Christ

to love and forgive.

Sanctify us, O Bread blest, broken and shared

that You may help us help others to walk the way of holiness

that leads everyone to Your kingdom

Where You live and reign

with the Father and Holy Spirit

God forever and ever.

Amen.

Prayer by, Father Joseph Veneroso M.M.

A Little Bit Goes a Long Way , Journey of Faith

A Little Bit Goes a Long Way , Journey of Faith

 

“You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” Psalm 145:16

How many times does God open a door for us—an opportunity to grow in our faith—and we say to ourselves, “I don’t think I can handle this.  I just don’t have what it takes.”

The miracle of the loaves and fishes is a good meditation to help restore our confidence.  We’re more capable of doing good than we sometimes realize.

Today’s Gospel is asking us to take personal inventory:  What gifts do I have that I can share?  What blessings can I give that will change someone’s life and reflect the compassion of Our Lord?  Can I—just one person—help build God’s Kingdom on earth? 

The first step in working through all these questions—and experiencing a personal miracle of faith—is recognizing that we are always in God’s hands.  Everything we have is a gift from God.  With these gifts, we can be assured that we are worthy and capable of great things.

For any of us in need of a little assurance, the details of today’s Gospel provide answers.  A young boy offers five barley loaves and two fish.  The Jews knew barley as the first grain of spring—symbol of the harvest and the unleavened bread of Passover, the bread we now call the Eucharist. 

With confidence in God the Father, Jesus blessed the seven gifts from the child and began to distribute them to the 5,000 assembled before him.  The blessing was so great that later on the apostles filled 12 wicker baskets with fragments of the meal.  We can think of the 12 baskets in many ways:  as the 12 tribes of Israel, the 12 patriarchs, and also the 12 apostles—all symbolizing God’s people doing God’s work.

Rather than dwell on what’s missing in our lives, today’s Gospel teaches us to think about what’s possible, especially in the presence of faith.  Rather than focus on risk, we can accept

that we are always in God’s hands, and that nothing we do will ever be wasted.  Multiply one act of kindness with more acts of kindness and… you know the rest.

, the evangelists must have thought today’s story a very big deal.  The multiplication of loaves and fishes is the only miracle Jesus performed that appears in all four Gospels.  So rather than saying, “I’m not talented enough,” or “I don’t think I’m the best person for the job,” just know that you have all the gifts you need to work a miracle.  Why not give it a try?

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Prayer for 4th Sunday

What little we have we offer all to you,

Lord Jesus, who fed the hungry thousands

with just five loaves and two fish.

May we not let our poverty prevent us

from doing good by giving our all.

Multiply our good works to the glory

of Your name and build up

the kingdom of God in our time.

Jesus, our Master, and our Messiah,

help us feed people’s hunger

not just for bread but for every word

that comes forth from Your mouth, O God.

Feed their hunger for justice with righteousness,

for forgiveness with reconciliation, and for peace

with that joy that only comes from knowing and

accepting You as Lord.

We come before You with open hands, Lord Jesus,

holding nothing back we ask You to take all we offer

and give us all we need to live fully and joyfully

here on earth and eternally with all Your saints

in heaven where You reign with the Father and Holy Spirit,

God forever and ever.

Amen.

Prayer by, Father Joseph Veneroso M.M.

For He is our Peace, Journey of Faith

For He is our Peace, Journey of Faith

 

“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” Mark 6:31

These are comforting words… Jesus urging his hardworking disciples, just back from teaching, to rest.  We can take comfort from these words, too, because it’s safe to say we’re just as hardworking.

Today’s Gospel describes a tender moment when Jesus advises us, his modern-day disciples that we need to take good care of ourselves.  Rest well, pray well.  Then do the work of building God’s Kingdom.

Rest isn’t something we necessarily think about during the day, but even a few quiet moments between things—eyes closed—can recharge the soul.  Moments of prayer are restorative, too.  If you can’t say five decades of the Rosary, say two.   If you are unable to attend Mass in person, attend Mass online.  Or find the website of a homilist that you especially enjoy listening to.  These are all good ways to rest the soul.

We know the benefits of solitude, but we can also rest in the company of one another even in pandemic times.  Have you ever prayed with someone on the phone or done a meditation over Zoom?  Blessings via text can work, too!   

Friend, the point of resting and reflecting is to get in touch with what is happening around us.  Are we fulfilling our role as missioners dedicated to building God’s Kingdom?  A good way to find out is to pause in God’s care and rejoice in the possibilities.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Prayer for 3rd Sunday

In You, O Lord of the Sabbath,

our souls find rest,

our bodies peace

and our minds, serenity.

You, Who bid Your disciples

come away, be with us also

when we seek silence and solitude.

Trusting in Your promise and providence,

we lay our plans and work aside

confident that every good work

begun in Your name will find

fulfillment according to Your Will.

Into Your most merciful hands, O Lord,

we place all our works, our hopes,

our dreams, and our plans.

Relying only on Your grace,

may we always seek first Your

kingdom of righteousness and peace.

You, Who calmed the storm and

stilled the wind and waves,

comfort and console us when life’s problems

overwhelm us or when enemies rise against us.

With You at our side, Lord Jesus,

our Rock, our Fortress, Our Deliverer,

we will not falter when facing our foes.

And when the battles of earthly life end

welcome us into Your loving embrace

where with all the saints we will forever

enjoy lasting peace in Your presence.

Amen.

Prayer by, Father Joseph Veneroso M.M.

The Perfect is The Enemy of the Good., Journey of Faith

The Perfect is The Enemy of the Good., Journey of Faith

 

“He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick.”  Mark 6:8

Today, Jesus instructs us to travel in mission lightly, taking just the basics. A pair of sturdy shoes and the conviction of our faith is all the inspiration we need to share the Good News.

Yes, faith.  But also confidence!  During my mission years in Peru, I worked in formation with a group of seminarians who were devoted to their calling and studied for the priesthood with great fervor.  They wanted to get everything they did just right—in other words, perfect!  But “perfect” became an impediment.  They didn’t trust their own judgment.  They worried that the people would not accept them unless everything they said and did was just so.  Of course, that’s an impossibly high bar to achieve.  Only God is perfect!

It took a bit of encouragement from me, but after a while I finally got them to trust in themselves.  Thank God, many found their calling as gifted clergymen and homilists.  They became who they were called to be, not by being “perfect” but by delivering the message of Christ’s compassion with confidence.  And that’s all that God ever asks.   

Friend, none of us wants to make a mistake or appear less than who we are.  God understands.  If you have any doubt that you are a worthy and capable messenger of the Gospel, just know this:  You have been called to mission in baptism and your gifts are uniquely yours.  God’s grace will show you how to share those gifts.  Whatever path you take, you will be building God’s Kingdom on earth.  And that will be perfect enough.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Prayer for 2nd Sunday

Help me, Lord Jesus

to walk in Your ways

seek Your truth and know

Your justice that I might

enjoy Your heavenly peace

here and now.

Teach me, Lord Jesus

to know Your commands

and love as You love, and pray

as You pray to our Father in heaven

that I might look at all people

as my brothers and sisters and

overflow with forgiveness and mercy

for everyone I meet.

You Who alone are perfect and good,

grant me the grace to overcome pride

that I might never be afraid to fail or fall

but seek always to know, love, and serve

You all the days of my life.

Amen.

Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso

Oh, Beautiful for Spacious Skies, Journey of Faith

Oh, Beautiful for Spacious Skies, Journey of Faith

 

“The spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor.” Luke 4:18

“America, God shed his grace on thee!”

Today is a day for picnics and family gatherings—and a moment or two of reflection.   On Independence Day 2021 we have so much to be thankful for.  The blessings of a democratic and open society are ours to cherish and protect.  We are also blessed with remarkably diverse communities drawn from talent and aspirations the world over.  These are the strengths that endow us with greatness.

At the same time, we are a country still in formation… still finding ways to resolve social and economic inequalities, especially the poverty that prevents people from living decent, hopeful, and productive lives.  As we celebrate our 245th birthday today, may we be judged not only by our worldly accomplishments, but by how well we treat the weakest among us:  the children, the elderly, the sick, the lonely, and the recently arrived. 

Striving for success has its place, and we are truly grateful for the goal-setters. America’s achievements in science and the humanities continue to build better lives for people all over the world.  But these achievements will always be compromised unless we also care for those who can’t care for themselves.  I remind myself that true power rests in our relationship with God—and one another.  So my prayer today is that we will direct our patriotic energies toward building a society where we can be judged first on how we treat the least among us.  That is Christ’s message, too.

Friend, if you are traveling today, please arrive safely.  Enjoy the festivities that I believe are really a call to serve one another and the nation we love.  Today is a reminder that we are all caretakers of our democracy and the freedoms we cherish.  I wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy July 4. 

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Independence Day

We sing to You, O God of every nation,

who led Israel out of slavery and

purified them in the desert of Sinai.

You blessed them with Your wisdom

and protection and bestowed on them

the sweet burden of the law

that they might ever remember

the good things You did for them.

Bless our nation as we recall the good things

You have done for us, breaking the Chains of Bondage

that bound us to one another, and setting us like a glorious

city on a hill offering a Beacon of Hope to those still oppressed.

Make us ever mindful of Your many graces and mercies

though times of peace and poverty, prosperity and pandemic

that in all things and in all ways Your name be praised.

Bless all prophets and patriots who sacrificed their

futures and often their lives to keep us safe and free.

May Your gifts of life, health, equality, and opportunity

be preserved and provided to all who dwell in our land.

May we never forget our final destiny

and fulfillment are with You in Your kingdom

where You live and reign forever and ever.

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