I have given them the glory that you gave me,
that they may be one as we are one. — John 17:22
Long before I became Director of Mission, and now Executive Director, of Maryknoll Lay Missioners, I served as a Maryknoll Sister for more than a decade — mostly in Tanzania.
I worked there with children and teens with whom I did not share a direct cultural or language background. Yet I found moments every single day that reminded me of the connectedness we shared.
We found it in smiles, in laughter, in tears. We found it in our experiences and dreams as we worked side by side on community goals at a school and in villages. And we found it in the needs we share, that all people share — to be safe, to be fed, to be loved.
I am thinking of these connections because in this season of Easter leading up to Pentecost — we can boldly proclaim we really are one.
We are of one accord with creation. We are one with children. We are one with the Earth. We are one in God’s spirit.
Thank you for the way your spirit strengthens this unity through your generous support. You are connected to all the work we do together!
With your help, our lay missioners are sowing seeds of nonviolence. We are caring for God’s creation by helping heal lands that have been scarred by war, and helping people feed themselves and their children in sustainable ways.
In partnership with the communities we serve, we are helping children to grow up safer, eat better and see a future in which they and their communities will not be torn apart by conflict, but can instead be united in oneness and a common good.
I have experienced the impact of your generosity, and I am very grateful to you. I ask that, in this season in which we celebrate the love that connects all creation and our oneness in the Spirit, you consider a gift to help support our lay missioners in all the places they serve.
As lay missioners, we may serve for years or decades in a different country. Working closely with our local partners, we trust that, when we leave or retire, our work will go on.
Not long ago, Ann Greig, who has been a Maryknoll lay missioner for 40 years, announced that she is retiring. Love to you, Ann! She will be staying in El Salvador, but leaving the work she has begun in the hands of other lay missioners and the community with whom she has been serving. When I asked Ann to share some thoughts and reflections with you, she said:
I am so thankful for the generous donors who have supported the ministry, so I have always had the resources to administer the program here. You have been a Godsend.
When I sit down with families on dinners of beans and rice we have brought to Good Shepherd Parish in San Ramón, or when I see children happily drinking the soymilk that we have brought them, I feel hope that something good and lasting is growing here.
I think of 6-year-old Erika. Her mother works sporadically and often seems troubled, and there are times when Erika seems to have more weighing on her spirit than any child her age should have. But she always runs and gets the food. Some days, she is joyful. And I know she is getting one balanced hot meal each day, along with soymilk.
We have not solved every problem, nor can we. Faith does not take away life’s challenges. But faith allows people to face them with love and support. I have felt your love and support, and so have the people with whom I have served. Together, we have changed lives!
We have changed lives. And yet, we know that as each day begins anew, new lives are born, and new challenges begin.
You may never meet Erika. She is not your daughter or mine. But her story reminds us that we are one. When one child is hungry, we are hungry. When one child is hurting, we are hurting. When one child feels hope and joy, because of the work we are doing, our spirits are lifted!
I feel joyful knowing all the good we are achieving together. And I feel very grateful to you. Please consider a gift of any amount today. Please keep our Lay Missioners in your prayers, just as you are in mine.
In hope and shared purpose,
P.S. What makes us one is not a common faith or language we share. What makes us one is God’s love for us, and God’s call to us to serve all God’s children. Thank you so much for being a part of this mission in the world.