Maryknoll Vocation Ministries is a service to the Maryknoll Society.
This blog aims to keep Maryknoll Formation Candidates and
Vocation Prospects abreast of discernment and Church issues.

December 19, 2011

Bishop Patrick J. Byrne, M.M. - Modern martyr of Korea

Bishop Patrick J. Byrne, M.M. was the first Maryknoll priest. Orginally ordained for the archdiocese of Washington, D.C., he was given permission by Cardinal Gibbons to join Maryknoll a week after his ordination.  As a young priest, Father Byrnes supervised the building of Maryknoll and was assigned to Korea in 1923.  In 1929 he returned to Maryknoll and was elected Vicar General during the first Society chapter.  In 1935 he opened a new mission in Kyoto, Japan, and was placed under house arrest during World War II.  When the war ended, he helped General Douglas McArthur calm the people during the beginning of the American occupation. In 1947 he was appointed by Rome as Apostolic visitor to Korea, and in 1949 the first Apostolic Delegate to Korea. On July 2, 1950 Bishop Byrne was seized by the Communists and put on trial. Refusing to give in, he was forced to march to the Yalu river along with remnants of the US Army 24th Infantry Division. He died on November 25, 1950 and was buried in an unmarked grave in Hanjang-ni, North Korea.  View Video

December 7, 2011

A Christmas poem: No Mistake

So how was your Christmas?

If this is the stable
there must be some mistake
but Bethlehem was no mistake
Jesus is born, the promise of God fulfilled
   in a poor village
   a poor family
   poor folks all around
in a cold and strange place
   hungry, crying
   lots of problems
   escaped massacre

Not all that different from our stable
   poor part of the world
   poor families
   cold especially in the early morning hours
   hungry, kids crying
   all sorts of problems
   living in a relocation camp
   escaped massacres
   (six hundred and seventy-six areas massacred)
   they survived

So we did have a pretty good Christmas
   found the stable
   but it was just that
   lots of problems
   lots of rain, mud
   very cold

But through it all
through the tears we saw the kids
and recognized the place
no mistake, it was Christmas!

by Brother Marty Shea, M.M.

November 29, 2011

Fr. Vincent Capodanno, M.M.

Father Vincent Capadonno, M.M.
"The Grunt Priest"
Killed in Action 9-4-1967
Fr. Vincent Capadonno, M.M. was a US Navy chaplain who served the 5th Marines in Vietnman.  He was killed in action on September 4, 1967 and awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on January 7, 1969.  The cause for Fr. Vincent Capadonno, M.M. has been presented to Rome by the US Military Ordinariate.  He has been  declared a "Servant of God".  Before becoming a chaplain, Fr. Capadonno served in Taiwan and Hong Kong as a Maryknoll missionary.  Click and view the following video which describes his life and mission ministries.

November 18, 2011

35th anniversary of Maryknoll Martyr Father Bill Woods, M.M., Mayalán, Ixcán Guatemala, November 20, 1976

Father Bill Woods, M.M.
On November 20, 2011 the indigenous Mayan community in Guatemala celebrates the 35th anniversary of the death of Father Bill Woods,M.M. They will remember his life, his mission and the legacy that he left for poor Indian farmers in the Ixcán, Guatemala.  Members of the Maryknoll family of Guatemala will travel to Mayalán, Ixcán to commemorate this special event.  Indian colonizers will dedicate two days to oral history, music, poetry and religious celebrations as they remember their valient struggle for land rights and Father Bill Wood's missionary ministry on their behalf.

According to the Indian colonizers that participated in the cooperatives that Father Bill organized, Father Bill's aircraft was shot down by the Guatemalan military on a bright cloudless day in November, 1976.   He, along with Dr. Michael Okado, lay missioner John Gauker, an American journalist, and another passenger were killed in the crash.

Father Bill Woods and lay missioner John Gauker were buried with honors in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Thousands of Indians attended their funeral. Cesar Montes recalls the sad event well and said: “We feel like orphans without the Father”.

In May 2000, the people of the Ixcan requested that Father Bill’s body be brought to Mayalan, Ixcán to rest among the Indian people he so much loved and served. Click on this link to view a video of Fr. Bill's service to the Mayan Indians of the Ixcán.

November 11, 2011

A Seminarian visits Hong Kong and China: renewing old friendships

Sem. Peter Latouf, M.M.
My love of all things Chinese is what initially led me to seek out my vocation as a Maryknoll Missioner several years ago. This attraction to the Chinese culture was spurred on by several different experiences, experiences which were capped by my time as an English teacher during the summer of 2004. At that time, the university I was attending (Wayne State University in Detroit, MI) was looking for students to go abroad as part of a pilot program the University was attempting to initiate. I was fortunate enough to be chosen and spent several weeks travelling throughout Northern China, teaching English in various schools and interacting with people all along the way. After leaving China I had this uncontrollable urge to go back; I missed the landscape, the food, the culture, and especially the people. The only thing that prevented me, however, was the fact that I felt like something was missing – I needed to go back again, but this time, with God as my primary focus. I wanted to go back not as a lay English teacher but as a steward of the Church; in short, I discovered I wanted to be a missioner. And thus my journey with Maryknoll was begun.

November 1, 2011

Maryknoll's yearlong centennial celebration ends

Fr. Edward Dougherty, M.M.
NEW YORK -- Maryknoll is the gift of mission that the church in America gave to the universal church, and will continue to give, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick told more than 1,800 participants at a festive Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral Oct. 30.
The Mass celebrated the centennial of the group formally known as the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America.  read more>>

October 23, 2011

Maryknoll Mission Symposium: Chicago Theological Union, October 6-8, 2011

Maryknoll, or The Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, is celebrating 100 years of proclaiming the gospel around the globe.  In continuation of our centennial celebration, Maryknoll held a three-day symposium this past October 6-8 at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, where many priests, religious, educators, lay people and seminarians gathered to talk about mission.  CTU became a hotbed of people on fire for mission, with around 200 coming together to learn more through the theme “The Gift of Mission.” 

October 7, 2011

Post-Christendom Mission

Alan Hirsch
The church as we know it is changing. We live in a post-modern, post-Christian and post-American world, where the church is no longer placed at the center of society. Our influence is waning and our basis for ecclesiology will drive the way we interact in this new reality. It begs the question, what should the church look like and how does the mission of the church adapt within this context? In his book, The Shaping of Things to Come, Alan Hirsch paints a picture of what the new church should look like. Hirsch asserts that "the church can be reborn through incarnational mission, messianic spirituality and apostolic structure."  Click to check out video

October 4, 2011

Pope John Paul II: Characteristics of the New Evangelization

In Pope John Paul II's encyclicals, speeches and other writings he uses the term new evangelization. Catholics as well as other Christians have been intriqued and interested in his frequent use of this term. What is he referring to and what are characteristics of this new evangelization'?
According to the pope, "The expression New Evangelization was popularized in the encylical of Pope Paul VI Evangelization in the Modern World, as a response to the new challenges-that the contemporary world creates for the mission of the Church."1 Pope John Paul II sees the need for a "great relaunching" of evangelization in the present life of the Church in a variety of ways.  In Mission of The Redeemer (Redemptoris Missio ), John Paul II presents a new synthesis of the Church's teaching about evangelization in modern times.
read more>>

September 28, 2011

Maryknollers: The Church's Marines

Fr. John Lange, M.M.
COCHABAMBA, Bolivia (CNS) -- Their numbers are down, their average age is up, and their last names are as likely to be Vu or Gonzalez as Kelly or O'Brien, but one thing that has not changed about Maryknoll priests and brothers in the past century is their commitment to live and work among the poor in distant lands and unfamiliar cultures.

One of Maryknoll's greatest contributions to Catholic mission has been "seeing and affirming the value and individual worth of all people and cultures," Father Raymond Finch, Maryknoll superior general from 1996 to 2002, told Catholic News ServiceRead More>>

September 27, 2011

My summer in East Africa

Sem. Daniel Kim, M.M.
There’s an African Proverb that says, “There is no better guidance than lessons learned from experience”.  Having visited East Africa this past summer, my experiences there have definitely guided me to a deeper appreciation for the African people as well as my missionary vocation with Maryknoll.

Every summer, Maryknoll seminarians and brother candidates who have completed at least a year of theological studies have an opportunity to go on an immersion trip to East Africa.  The trip consists of visiting the various countries in East Africa where Maryknoll is present.  During my trip, I had the chance to visit three countries: Tanzania, Kenya, and South Sudan.  With each visit to the different places, I had the privilege to see and experience the wide varieties of ministries Maryknoll undertakes; ranging from parish ministry, chaplaincy for medical students, AIDS work, directing varies institutes and programs.  The list goes on and on. 

September 12, 2011

I feel a Passion for Mission

Sem. Angel Oswaldo Garcia, M.M.
My name is Angel Oswaldo Garcia, I am originally from El Salvador, Central America but I have been living in California where I have relatives. I came to the United States nine years ago. After a few years in California, I moved to Chicago. By the way, Chicago is a great city which has offered me great experiences, especially the beautiful scenes of Lake Michigan, the art institute of Chicago, and Calvert House which is a Catholic ministry at the University of Chicago.

September 6, 2011

The Habit does not make the man; the man makes the habit

Sem. Pablo Talavera, M.M.
People who are contemplating a religious life are simultaneously seeking to answer a call of identity. To be able to see yourself and have a clear image of who you are or what you want to be is essential regarding vocation. Many people approach their vocation by the image that they have of a certain profession. For instance, the image that a fire-fighter, policeman, doctor or lawyer has usually represents the work each profession does. In the same manner, for a long time the image of the religious person involved a habit, which for the most part included the major orders (Franciscan, Dominican, Benedictine, and Augustinian). This image has been slowly disappearing among religious communites as lay people have been empowered and religious members have sought to  blend into secular society. For the most part, the traditional orders have maintained their habits as a sign of identity.  However, for many other religious communities the emphasis on the habit has decreased.

Happiness...Where are you?

When people hear that I am a seminarian, I often get the same response from them: why?  Why would I throw my life away by forcing myself into unnatural celibacy?  Why would I give up a life with a good career and give myself to the Church, all while living a life of poverty?  I have such good potential.  What could possibly possess me to do such a thing?

It seems that many people associate worldly success with personal success.  Happiness for many seems to be associated with being able to support oneself comfortably all while winning the accolades of one’s neighbors.  However, this happiness that many people seem to think they know how to find is always just beyond the horizon, found in a few dollars more, or a few possessions more.  They think, “If only I can get to retirement, I will be happy.”  Yet, sadly, happiness never comes, or if it does, it is fleeting and hard to capture long term.  So where is it?  Let me tell you a story.

September 3, 2011

9/11 10 Years Later: God’s Presence in the Face of Evil – Priest/First Responder/Survivor

Fr. Ray Nobelitti, M.M.
This is a story about the presence of God made so real for me, thousands of other New Yorkers, and for most of the known world on one very memorable day.

That morning, a perfect fall day, cloudless and filled with bright sunshine, I celebrated the eight o'clock Mass in Transfiguration Church in Chinatown, New York City. Our elementary school children were in their second day of the new semester. I planned to cast my vote in the mayoral primary election and enjoy the rest of Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

September 2, 2011

A Community of Prayer

As our first full week back in Chicago came to a close, we in the Formation Community started a new tradition for this year: Taizé prayer.  This was certainly a new experience for me, and one that I was looking forward to participating in.  I had heard about Taizé for the first time when I was at World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany in 2005.  That was the fateful year that the founder of Taizé, Br. Roger Schutz, was stabbed to death while conducting an evening prayer service.  Coincidentally, another current Maryknoll seminarian was in France and witnessed the event as it unfolded.  Since then, however, the aura of Taizé continued to glow in the back of my mind, but the glow was beginning to fade, until it was lit anew by this evening’s service.

10 Maryknoll Candidates begin 2011 Formation year

2011 Formation Class
Maryknoll is proud to announce that there are 10 Candidates in the 2011 Formation Program.  Candidates come from California, Texas, Indiana, Florida, New York and Canada.  Of the 10 Candidates, 6 are working on their undergraduate degree.  One candidate, Dae Kim has just returned from his Overseas Training assignment in Cochabamba, Bolivia.  There are 12 Maryknoll Vocation Candidates in all.  Two are in the Overseas Training Program: Lam Hua in Africa, and Shaun Crumb in Bolivia.  According to their Formators, these men are studious, responsible, pastorally involved, and ON FIRE FOR MISSION.

September 1, 2011

A Time for Celebration!

Sem. Tony Lopez's Birthday party
Here in the Chicago Formation Community, time flies pretty quickly. Once we return from our summer breaks, we have just a few short days usually before we begin classes in our various colleges again. And variety is certainly the word, since we attend four different locations throughout the city. Some go to CTU (Catholic Theological Union) for their graduate degrees, while others attend undergrad schools like Loyola, St. Xavier and Harold Washington. On top of these requirements, we also have various ministries that we attend to throughout the city. Some work in hospitals, some in churches, while others also help mentor and tutor young children in their homework.

August 31, 2011

Who, Exactly, Is Called to Mission?

Sem. Jonathan Hill, M.M.
Growing up as a Southern Baptist in the Deep South, every so often a missionary would stop in at our little country church and share with us his story, the story of his work “out there” in the mission fields.  To us kids who had never been far from home, the mission was this glorious place with palm trees and jungles, where savage natives in minimal attire would dance around campfires whooping and hollering, imploring their gods for this or that.  The missioner would then swoop in, tell them about Jesus, and convert them all over time.  He was a man of extraordinary ability, who learned foreign languages and lived in foreign cultures, usually in conditions that we would consider quite extreme.  He had great ability way beyond our own, and had us in awe.  He was our superhero.

August 27, 2011

Evangelical Catholicism - The future leadership of the Church

Pope Benedict XVI at WYD in Madrid
John Allen, NCR contributor, published an excellent article regarding the committed youth at the beginning of the 21 century. In his article he states: "We’re not talking about the broad mass of twenty- and thirty-something Catholics, who are all over the map in terms of beliefs and values. Instead, we’re talking about that inner core of actively practicing young Catholics who are most likely to discern a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, most likely to enroll in graduate programs of theology, and most likely to pursue a career in the church as a lay person -- youth ministers, parish life coordinators, liturgical ministers, diocesan officials, and so on. In that sub-segment of today’s younger Catholic population, there’s an Evangelical energy so thick you can cut it with a knife." Read the complete article:

August 24, 2011

Admit faith is weak, New York archbishop tells young people in Madrid

MADRID (CNS) -- World Youth Day pilgrims got down to business in Madrid Aug. 17 as the first catechesis classes taught by archbishops and bishops were held in locations throughout the city.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan at WYD
Sessions were divided by languages, and pilgrims were encouraged to go to the session closest to their accommodations.

At San Ricardo Church, northwest of the city center, cheers and cries of welcome greeted New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan as a group of approximately 350 young people -- mainly from Australia, the United States and Barbados -- caught a first glimpse of their teacher for the day. A clear lover of people, Archbishop Dolan posed for every photo-op, embraced many familiar -- and unfamiliar -- people, and ended up at the front of the church with an Australian baby propped in his arms.

With his catechesis theme gleaned from that of World Youth Day, Archbishop Dolan spoke about faith as a logical gift from God and about what it means to keep that faith firm.

August 23, 2011

L'Osservatore Director's Reflection on World Youth Day

WYD in Madrid
In the middle of the second day of the papal visit – in a Madrid peacefully invaded by an impressive number of boys and girls from every part of the world – Benedict XVI cited Plato in the Basilica of the Escorial, "Seek truth while you are young, for if you do not, it will later escape your grasp" (Parmenides, 135d). The invitation of the philosopher who lived before Christ, in antiquity evoked by Hebrews and Christians to support biblical revelation, sums up well the sense of the presence of the successor of Peter at World Youth Day. 

August 22, 2011

Pope to WYD Seminarians: "We Have to be Saints"



Your Eminence the Archbishop of Madrid, Dear Brother Bishops, Dear Priests and Religious, Dear Rectors and Formators, Dear Seminarians,

Dear Friends,

Seminarians at WYD
I am very pleased to celebrate Holy Mass with you who aspire to be Christ’s priests for the service of the Church and of man, and I thank you for the kind words with which you welcomed me. Today, this holy cathedral church of Santa María La Real de la Almudena is like a great Upper Room, where the Lord greatly desires to celebrate the Passover with you who wish one day to preside in his name at the mysteries of salvation. Looking at you, I again see proof of how Christ continues to call young disciples and to make them his apostles, thus keeping alive the mission of the Church and the offer of the Gospel to the world. As seminarians you are on the path towards a sacred goal: to continue the mission which Christ received from the Father. Called by him, you have followed his voice and, attracted by his loving gaze, you now advance towards the sacred ministry. Fix your eyes upon him who through his incarnation is the supreme revelation of God to the world and who through his resurrection faithfully fulfills his promise. Give thanks to him for this sign of favour in which he holds each one of you.

August 20, 2011


The Vocation Ministries team has just published a video on the process of discernment. Check it out:

                       The meaning of Vocation


We encourage all Maryknollers to view the new Maryknoll Vocation Video at: This video is uploaded to the Vimeo social networking site so that Maryknollers can view it in NY.

Please feel free to publish comments on the new Maryknoll Vocations Blog.


Ten Maryknoll Candidates finished their opening retreat. The retreat was held in Conneticut. After the retreat they were presented to the Maryknoll community at Maryknoll, NY. They will be starting studies and Formation in Chicago beginning on August 22, 2011