The Mission Hub

The Pontifical Mission Societies include the Society for the
Propagation of the Faith, the Missionary Childhood Association, the Society of St.Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. These Societies promote a prayerfulmissionary spirit among baptized Catholics and to gather a fund of support for the evangelizing and pastoral programs of more than 1,150 local churches of the Developing World.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Significant and Great Milestone

Congratulations to the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, known to most folks as Maryknoll, as they celebrate their centennial year in 2011.

The two co-founders of the Society were Father (later Bishop) James Anthony Walsh, a Boston priest and former Archdiocesan Director of The Society for the Propagation of the Faith and Father Thomas Frederick Price from Wilmington, North Carolina. Their fortuitous meeting at the Montreal Eucharistic Congress in 1910 led to the sharing of a common dream; that of establishing a seminary in the United States to train priests who would be sent exclusively to the foreign missions. The idea was approved by Pope (Saint) Pius X and took shape in 1911. Then followed the foundation of a community of religious women under the leadership of Mary Josephine Rogers, another Bostonian, one year later. More recently, they have also been joined by dedicated lay missionaries.

The seminary was established in upstate New York. From there missionaries have been sent to China, Japan, Korea and the Philippines. From the beginning, the priests, brothers and sisters of Maryknoll have worked tirelessly, not only to preach the Gospel to those who would otherwise never hear it, but also to bring Gospel values to bear on the social structures within which they minister. They spend their lives and their energies among the poorest of God’s poor.

My first introduction to Maryknoll was while I was a grammar school student at Saint John the Baptist Parish in Peabody. One of the “native sons” of the parish was a Maryknoller named Father Thomas Ray. I looked forward to his visits and to the stories he told. He was a talented fundraiser for the missions, due in great part to his extraordinary talent for preaching. I well remember his tag line “My name is Ray and I come after dough!”

Thank God for the witness and devotion of the priests, brothers, and sisters of Maryknoll. They are an inspiration to all who are committed to furthering the message of Christ and, in the words of Bishop Walsh’s episcopal motto: to Seek first the Kingdom of God.
- Fr. Rodney J. Copp, J.C.L.

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