The first formal Orientation Program began in 1975
Today, Maryknoll Lay Missioners (MKLM), joyfully welcomes its 50th Lay Missioner candidate class as they begin the 2017 Orientation Program. The class consists of a diverse group of candidates from across the country. The program, which began in 1975, is held yearly at MKLM’s operations based in Maryknoll, New York, beginning in October and running through mid-December. It provides candidates with a foundation for cross-cultural mission success when they embark on their new assignments upon completion.
As part of the selection process, MKLM candidates receive their country assignments before starting the Orientation Program. Candidates live on campus throughout the 10-week Orientation and receive instruction on a variety of topics including:
- MKLM’s history and core values
- Cross-cultural preparation
- Theology and Scripture
- Catholic Social Teaching
- Spiritual development and prayer
- Trauma awareness
- Social Analysis
- Practical training for conflict resolution and communication
- Dialogue on racism
Upon completion of the program, the new missioners depart for their respective mission sites in early 2018. Once in their assigned countries, they will participate in the next stage of their orientation to mission, including in-country language training and acculturation.
“The orientation program is designed to prepare new missioners with a foundation in Scripture and in Mission Theology, so that they will be ready to use their gifts in service to others, walk with people of another culture and accompany them on their journeys,” said Joanne Blaney, Mission Services Director for MKLM.
Maryknoll Lay Missioners consists of Catholic men, women, couples and families who are called to live and work with the very poor in Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, El Salvador, Kenya, Tanzania and South Sudan. They respond to basic needs of the people in the communities they serve and help to create a more just and compassionate world. Based in the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching, missioners serve in the fields of health, education, sustainable development, justice & peace, and pastoral care.
MKLM welcomes single people, married couples or families, who are Catholic and over the age of 21, to apply. Lay Missioners who join the program are eligible for benefits such as health insurance coverage, a 529 College Savings Program for children of missioner families as well as MKLM’s new Student Loan Repayment Program. Maryknoll Lay Missioners commit to serving 3 ½ years overseas, with many missioners serving well past their initial contract.
“Maryknoll Lay Missioners is thrilled to receive our 50th Orientation Class. This fine group of faith-filled candidates represents the broad and beautiful diversity of the US Church today,” said Sam Stanton, MKLM Executive Director. “We are happy and blessed to welcome them.”
About Maryknoll Lay Missioners
Maryknoll Lay Missioners (MKLM) is a Catholic organization inspired by the mission of Jesus to live and work with poor communities in Africa, Asia and the Americas, responding to basic needs and helping to create a more just and compassionate world. Our Lay Missioners work to assist those living in extreme poverty, victims of human trafficking, people in prison and those affected by war and urban violence. They live and work with those they serve. They also offer their compassion and skills through more than 100 ministries which encompass healthcare, education, compassionate care of children and orphans, microenterprise, faith formation and restorative justice. To date, approximately 800 lay missioners have been involved in mission work around the world.