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On a mission from God

On a mission from God

(article from Faith Magazine Jan/Feb 2011)

by Patricia Marshall

The young faces gazing out from the old black and white photos were calm but expectant. It was hard for me to imagine what they must have been feeling as they embarked on a difficult and potentially dangerous trip. They would probably never see their family and friends again.

These were not the faces of soldiers, but rather of early Maryknoll missionaries, waiting to board a ship that would take them to their new life of service in a foreign land. Their pictures hang in a display on the history of Maryknoll missions in the group’s headquarters in Ossining, N.Y.

This year the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, officially named The Catholic Foreign Mission Society of the United States, are celebrating their 100th anniversary. Among those celebrating are Diocese of Erie natives Father Paul Masson from Rouseville, Father Ed Shellito from Erie and Father Tom Egan from Oil City.

Much has changed about mission life over the past century. Travel to places such as Asia or South America took weeks in the early 20th century. Letters written home could take months to arrive, if they made it at all. Today’s flights enable travelers to reach the most distant destinations quickly, and to make visits home. The Internet can provide daily communication with friends and loved ones.

Early missioners were mostly priests and religious. Today there is a growing trend of lay involvement. Individuals or even families serve in missions through lay organizations such as the Maryknoll Mission Association of the Faithful. Retirees are joining the ranks of missionaries. Volunteers can choose short-term or long-term service.

Of course the basics of mission remain the same. Even though today’s missioners have options that would have seemed like unimaginable luxuries to early missionaries, mission life still requires much dedication, hard work and courage. Mission assignments in areas of political unrest or high criminal activity can be extremely dangerous. The rewards of being the bearer of the “Good News” cannot be measured in monetary terms, but still bring a joy that continues to call the faithful to a life of service.

Maryknoll has served people not only abroad, but also here in the United States by educating us about the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world. My own earliest memories of learning about missionaries include the Maryknoll magazines our catechism teachers gave us. These publications still teach students and adults about mission today.

Congratulations to the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers on 100 years of amazing service. Along with that go my own personal thanks for introducing me to the work that has become so central in my life.

Patricia Marshall directs the Office of Diocesan and International Missions for the Diocese of Erie

Article from page 23 of Faith Magazine – Jan/Feb 2011 www.FAITHerie.com

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