Maryknoll Society celebrates 100th anniversary
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Maryknoll Society, Auxiliary Bishop Shelton J. Fabre will celebrate a Mass Oct. 16 at 2 p.m. at St. Mary Magdalen Church, 6425 West Metairie Ave., Metairie.
Maryknoll Father Leo Shea, the centennial chairman, will deliver the homily. Special guests will include Maryknoll Father Gerry Kelly, director of the Maryknoll Mission Office in Houston; Mary- knoll Father Dave Kelly; Matt Rousso, mission director in New Orleans; and Bill Jones, developer. A reception will follow the Mass. The public is invited.
In 1911, Father Thomas F. Price and Father James A. Walsh of Boston co-founded the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America (now known as the Maryknoll Society) and pushed for faith sharing modeled on the life and ministry of Jesus. The Catholic Church in the United States was moving away from relying on European missionaries to work as clergy and from relying on financial support from Rome.
Maryknoll is considered to be comprised of three separate but inter-related branches: the Society (Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers), the Congregation (Mary-knoll Sisters of St. Dominic) and the Maryknoll Lay Missioners. It also includes the Mary-knoll Affiliates, who number 850 in 57 chapters in the U.S. and seven countries.
Maryknoll also has many volunteers who participate in short-term mission in foreign countries, along with many Partners in Mission who do not leave home but who support Maryknoll activities through prayer, contributions, interest and the example of their lives.
The founder of the Mary- knoll Sisters, Mother Mary Joseph Rogers, often referred to the Maryknoll spirit “as being a reflection of the love of God, nothing more nor less than that, a reflection of the love of God.”
That spirit has sent thousands of Society missioners overseas to at least 44 countries during its first 100 years. Some, such as Bishop Francis X. Ford and Archbishop Patrick Byrne, along with Sisters Agneta Chang, Maura Clark and Ita Ford, were martyred. Others, such as Father James Keller, who began the Christopher Movement, have been enthusiastic rejuvenators for faith involvement here in the U.S.
Before she was murdered in El Salvador, Sister Maura Clarke summed up this truth by writing, “If we leave the people when they suffer the cross, how credible is our world to them? The church’s role is to accompany those who suffer the most and to witness our hope in the resurrection.”