This is a photo of the Mau Escarpment, a steep natural rampart along the western rim of the Great Rift Valley in western Kenya. West and south of the city of Nakuru, it rises to more than 10,000 feet on the Equator. Its crest is covered with a vast forest. To the south the woods are more open, and the plateau falls to an open country eventually leading to the famed Serengeti plains of Tanzania. As it is on the Equator, the weather remains the same year around – so there is no winter!
Since the first time I, Fr. Mike, saw this escarpment as a young seminarian arriving in Nairobi, Kenya and traveling to Tanzania I have always been awed by the breathtaking beauty and majesty of Africa. It has spoken to me of adventure and excitement as one encounters the many cultures, languages and warm welcome of its people.
We are sending you this newsletter because you have indicated an interest in the missionary vocation as a Catholic priest or Brother. Looking to the future and contemplating what God has planned for you may cause you some hesitancy (see Getting Beyond Our Fears in this edition of the newsletter). But you should also take small steps through prayer, the Eucharist, spiritual direction, the counsel of friends and family and volunteer service to nourish the possibility of embracing such a vocation.
Missioners leave their home countries to share their lives, their talents and faith with the peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America. In his letter to the Romans St. Paul wrote these wise words: “For those who love God all things work together for good.” Maryknollers have devoted their lives as missionary disciples, messengers of God’s love and mercy for all people. We go to share this Good News and are graced so often to find it lived out daily among the people we came to serve. We witness to a miracle as we wish to give so much of ourselves for others but find that, in the process, we are rewarded by God with so much more in return from the people we have gone to serve.
As always we look forward to hearing from you: Fr. Rodrigo Ulloa-Chavarry (firstname.lastname@example.org), Fr. Mike Snyder, Fr. Joe Donovan and Mr. Greg Darr