Maryknoll Lay Missioners - August 2020 mklm news
45 years of saying YES to God's mission
Maryknoll Sister Mary Anne O’Donnell, Maryknoll Father Jack Sullivan and Chuck Lathrop collaborated as an ecclesial team in the leadership of Maryknoll Lay Missioners during its early years. Here they are celebrating the 15th anniversary at a Mass in 1990.
Maryknoll Lay Missioners turns 45
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the formal establishment of the Maryknoll lay missioner program. 

And it was another 45 years earlier 90 years ago this month that the very first Maryknoll lay missioner began his overseas service. In August 1930, Dr. Harry Blaber, a young physician from Brooklyn, sailed with a group of Maryknoll priests to China. “He became a lay missioner at a time when the term was unknown,” as the October 1961 Maryknoll magazine put it.
We invite you to learn more about the history of the U.S. Catholic Church’s leading global lay missioner program and about Maryknoll's inspiring earlier lay mission pioneers.

READ here:

As we continue to read the signs of the times, strive to meet the challenges of today and plan for those of tomorrow, we invite you to walk with us and respond together with us to God's call to mission.

Please also consider supporting our mission with a donation of

$45 for 45 years

$90 for 90 years or

$935 for the 935* people
we have sent into mission over the past 45 years.

(* number includes the children of our missioner families)
Ted's Talk

Forty-five years ago, the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers and the Maryknoll Sisters said “YES!” to inviting laypeople into an official Maryknoll lay missioner program.

Much has changed for Maryknoll Lay Missioners — from our humble beginnings in the 1970s to this tumultuous global time in which we celebrate our 45th anniversary. Amidst the changes, however, Maryknoll lay missioners have always responded to a vocation of mission, flowing from their baptismal call, to respond to the world’s challenges and conflicts in faith, justice and peace. More than 700 individuals, couples and families have been sent in joy to Africa, Asia and the Americas.

Looking back through these past 45 years, it is easy to note an active faith connected to loving this world that God so loves. There is a searching for the sacred in the communities and lands around us, an affirmation of the holiness of life. These themes — present in the commitment and work of our first lay missioners — are still evident in the accompaniment and ministries provided by lay missioners today.

As we commemorate the feast of the Assumption this coming Saturday — a date we hold as our Founder’s Day — we recall Mary’s wholehearted “YES” to God’s mission. We give thanks for God’s ongoing invitation to mission and the Spirit’s urging forth our own “YES.” We hold in prayer the individuals and communities who shared life with us, opening our hearts to our connection to the greater whole. We humbly express our deep gratitude to all of you whose generosity and support throughout these years make this ongoing pilgrimage possible.

These unique times require a wholehearted recommitment, a new “YES,” in which we embrace God’s invitation to step out in faith with courage and a zeal for justice. May we do so together, discovering that we are part of something greater than ourselves — a community of believers, the very family of God.

Yours in mission, 
Ted Miles
Executive Director
Global lay mission then, now and in the future

A panel celebrating 45 years of Maryknoll Lay Missioners

Monday, Aug. 24, 11 am EDT

Please join us for this virtual celebration of our 45th anniversary. This one-hour panel discussion will feature one lay missioner from each of the five decades of our existence:
  • 1970’s: Liz Mach (Class of 1976)
  • 1980’s: Fred Goddard (1985) 
  • 1990’s: Wynnie-Fred Victor Hinds (1994)
  • 2000’s: Flavio Rocha (2003)
  • 2010’s: Juan Gomez (2014)
  • Moderator: Karen Bortvedt Estrada (2013)
Please visit our "Virtual Chapel" on our website to pray with us for healing, racial justice and peace.
Three ways to explore God's call for your life
1) Join Our Virtual Discernment Retreat

Are you unsure if you are being called to global mission engagement? Join us Oct. 2-4 for a reflective, virtual discernment weekend to intentionally create space in your busy life to listen to God’s call for you. For more information, email

2) Join Our Discernment Community

From Oct. 2 to Nov. 25, during an 8-week, small community discernment process, we will meet every other week for prayer, learning, and reflection in small groups. Each participant will be paired with a spiritual director/mentor to accompany them on their discernment journey with calls and support. Email

3) Come to Our Webinar

Are you or someone you know considering how you can take your work for social justice global? Come to our next information webinar, Aug. 17 at 2 pm EDT, bring a friend, and see if Maryknoll Lay Missioners is a good fit for you. On Aug. 17, click
Meet a Missioner Monday
Facebook Live and YouTube Live
Mondays at 11 am EDT
We are continuing to host "Meet a Missioner Monday." During these livestream interviews on both Facebook and YouTube, you can meet our missioners from around the world. You can ask them questions and learn more about their work and how their communities are persevering. 

In the next couple of weeks, we will have "Check-ins" with several of our previous interviewees, giving us an opportunity to find out how they have been faring in their communities and ministries during the continuing pandemic:

  • Aug. 17, 2020, 11 am EDT – Heidi Cerneka from the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas

  • Aug. 24, 2020, 11 am EDT – Special 45th anniversary panel. See above more info.

  • Aug. 31, 2020, 11 am EDT – Abby Belt from Gros Morne, Haiti

  • Sept. 7, 2020, 11 am EDT – Melissa & Evey Altman from San Salvador, El Salvador

Check out all of our previous "Meet a Missioner Monday" interviews from the past 16 Mondays. We've talked with lay missioners from Tanzania, Kenya, Bolivia, Brazil, El Salvador. Haiti, Cambodia and the U.S.-Mexico border.