Maryknoll is an official order of the Catholic Church in the United States, founded in 1910 and comprised of priests, brothers, sisters and lay people who conduct missionary work throughout Asia, Latin America and Africa. I was first introduced to Maryknoll as a teenager, around the time of my Confirmation in our local parish, through my older cousin, Bob, then a seminarian preparing for the priesthood at Wadhams Hall Seminary in Ogdensburg, New York.
With a gleam in his eyes, and broad smile on his face Bob told stories late into the night to my family and I of classmates and priests he knew in Maryknoll helping to establish hospitals, schools, youth programs and church parishes in Kenya and Tanzania. I never forgot about Maryknoll, and in my late twenties, as a U.S. trade negotiator travelling regularly to South Korea, I met and became friends with one of Bob's former classmates, a Maryknoll priest who ran a soup kitchen in the Karak marketplace in Seoul, and regularly provided medical and spiritual care to a leper colony on Sorok Island.
Maryknoll is different from most religious organizations in this respect: rather than simply praying for intentions, giving retreats and teaching or preaching, its members put the Gospel message of God's love for the poor, underprivileged, and outcast of society into action in concrete, visible ways that have immediate, tangible effects on people's lives. In this regard, they are similar to the Peace Corps, which also helps people overseas through needed programs and infrastructure. Where Maryknoll differs is that rather than simply promote the secular ideal of "world peace and friendship", it conveys the important spiritual message of "God's love and mercy."
Premier Veneers has been contributing financially to the needs of Maryknoll for much of the past twenty years. We appreciate and admire their sincere, down-to-earth, heartfelt approach toward helping others, a bearing and disposition that permeates their small, monthly magazine sent to donors, which regularly features articles by and about Maryknoll missioners around the world.