Maryknoll Lay Missioners 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.
We are a lay Catholic community called through baptism to witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, crossing boundaries of culture, nationality and faith to join our lives with impoverished and oppressed peoples of the earth. With them, we discern the presence of God’s Spirit in all creation and in the world’s many cultures and religions, and work toward human liberation and inter religious dialogue in Africa, Asia and the Americas.
We strive together for justice, peace and fullness of life, and so our ministries are offered in response to the needs of the people with whom we live and work, and with respect for the integrity of all creation.
We are nourished by God’s revelation in the world around us, in our relationships, and in the Scriptures, as well as by our communal reflection, prayer and Eucharist. We are inspired by the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching, and we are grounded in the history and spirit of our Maryknoll mission family. Believing that all people are called to mission, we actively promote the role of laity in global mission while committing ourselves to share this journey in ecclesial teams of priests, Sisters, Brothers and laity.
We challenge unjust structures and systems, seeking transformation of the very powers that create and benefit from the marginalizing of communities, and we commit to becoming a dynamic anti-racist organization that reflects the ethnic and cultural richness of the US Catholic Church and the world in this millennium.
The life of Jesus compels us to love one another and to create a more just and compassionate world. Even amidst sin, suffering and death, we celebrate the holiness of everyday life and we proclaim the hope of resurrection.
We are grateful to the communities who send us, to the people who receive us, and to those whose support makes our work possible. We commit ourselves to accountability to each other, the people with whom we work, and our benefactors.
From a worldwide consultation of Maryknoll Lay Missioners in 1994, when MKLM became an independent organization, eight values emerged as essential to our organizational identity. These values are based in the ministries and lived spirituality of our missioners, and permeate all aspects of MKLM’s mission life.
Our mission vocation calls us to work for the reign of God as Jesus preached it and worked for it.
Option for the Poor
Jesus made a radical choice to take the part of the poor, marginalized and oppressed in His society. Maryknoll Lay Missioners choose work which puts us into direct contact with the poor, the excluded and the voiceless.
Each step of the mission journey calls us to a deeper experience of both human suffering and human resilience. And as we encounter God among the world’s poor, we are called to repentance, new hope and renewed faith.
We are committed to living positively and non-violently. Our lives are centered on prayer, community and service, and the commitment to bring the whole of our lives under the ordering influence of the Gospel.
We work in partnership with local people. While we seek placements where we believe our skills and experience will make a contribution to the local community, we also ensure that each placement provides an opportunity to interact with the local people and to enter the local culture in a profound and life-changing way.
Community calls us to live reflectively, and invites us into lives that are fully conscious. Community also enables us to discern, as a group, whether we are witnessing to the Gospel, authentically accompanying the poor and whether we are doing all we believe God is asking of us. A life-giving community helps us grow into our mission vocation.
All Catholics are called, by baptism, to participate in the mission of the universal Church. In response to this baptismal call, Maryknoll Lay Missioners was founded as a mixed association of the faithful, open to lay people, priests, sisters and brothers. Working together, we seek to nourish the vocational choice of each member, while drawing strength and richness from our diversity.
Building Bridges with the US Church
Lay Missioners go to mission as representatives of the U.S. church and are supported by U.S. Catholics. We therefore have a responsibility to communicate our mission experience back to the U.S. We show respect for our supporters through careful stewardship of the resources they pass on to us. And we bring back to them the spiritual riches we have gained through our own on-going conversion among the peoples of the world.