Dear Parishioners: We welcome Mr. Erik Cambrier to Our Lady of Mercy this weekend. Erik is here as part of the Annual Mission Co-op Program in the Diocese of Providence. The Mission Co-op Program is a time dedicated each year at every parish to learn more about the Church’s Missionary work. Each year a missionary is assigned to a parish to speak about the good works of the Church in distant missionary lands. Also, a collection is taken at all the Masses to support these important works. Erik is at OLM representing the work of Maryknoll Lay Missionaries. You may or may not be familiar with the missionary work of Maryknoll. It was officially established on June 29, 1911 as the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, now better known as the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. Founded by two priests, Father James A. Walsh of Boston and Father Thomas Price of North Carolina. They saw a need for a seminary to train American priests for missionary work and so Maryknoll began in New York. Father Price made an around-the-country tour of America to gain support for the new endeavor. Before it had its first seminarian, one young man applied who felt called to mission but not priesthood. Thomas McCann became the first Maryknoll Brother in 1912. By 1918, three young priests – Frs. James E. Walsh (not related to Fr. James A.Walsh), Francis X. Ford, and Bernard F. Meyer) were ready for the foreign missions in China, just after the first world war. Price went with them as superior to the new missions, but died the following year. The first Maryknoll missioners went to China in 1918. The mission soon expanded to include northern China and Korea. As war or unrest made mission impossible in one area, Maryknoll went to other regions: Latin America in 1942 and Africa in 1946, just as these continents entered eras of military conflict and social upheaval. Today there are over 475 Maryknoll Priests and Brothers serving in countries around the world, principally in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Over 10 decades, more than 2,000 men have been ordained to the missionary priesthood, and several hundred have taken oaths as Brothers. The areas in which Maryknollers serve have been affected by World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and other conflicts around the globe. Maryknollers have been imprisoned, tortured and killed. But the enthusiastic and joyful dedication of Maryknollers to their apostolic calling has never diminished as they carry the Gospel to Africa, Asia and Latin America. Like Maryknoll Priests and Brothers, Maryknoll Sisters have also served the missions for over 100 years. Founded by Mother Mary Josephine Rodgers in 1912 they now number over 500 Sisters, and serve in nearly thirty nations across the globe. The Maryknoll Lay Missioners date back to the 1930s when Dr. Harry Blaber of Brooklyn began his service in China. But they began to grow rapidly following the Second Vatican Council and the establishment of Official Lay Missioner Program at Maryknoll in 1969. Erik is part of this group and speaks to us about his experiences in the Missions. Each year we dedicate one weekend to listening to missionaries who do such good works in the name of our Church. Your prayers are needed for all missionaries who proclaim the Good News to the four corners of the earth. But also your financial support is needed as well. .These good works need financial support to be effective and so I ask you to please be generous. Any contribution you make should be made payable to OLM and sent to the Diocese to be disbursed directly to the Maryknoll Lay Missions. Again, we offer a warm welcome to Erik and also offer him our thanks for his good work as a missionary. May the good works of Maryknoll, begun over one hundred years ago, continue on in the priests, brothers, sisters and lay missioners who today continue to serve the poor, the needy and the suffering across the globe. Thank you for your support of the Missionary Co-op Collection. God Bless.