OSSINING, NY – While the rest of the world is celebrating the feast of the Immaculate Conception, 13 people will be marking a milestone in their life: being “called forth” as a missioner.


Meet the missioners

  • Bolivia — José Aguilar and Verónica Arriagada from Chicago; Cortney Freshwater from Ashland, Ohio; Joe Miller from Evanston, Illinois
  • China — Sr. Armeline Sidoine, MM, from Congo Brazzaville
  • El Salvador — Jayne Prior from Overland Park, Kansas
  • Haiti — Abby Belt from Wichita, Kansas, going to Haiti
  • Kenya — Rich Tarro from Narragansett, Rhode Island
  • Tanzania — Sam Janson from Amherst, New Hampshire; Kevin and Marilyn McDonough from Santa Clara, California; Loyce Veryser from Bukoba, Tanzania and Stephen Veryser, originally from Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, (with their children, Claire, Justin and Abigail)

Full bios

Twelve of them are Maryknoll lay missioners and one is a Maryknoll sister. They’re being sent to one of six different countries for a three-year mission. The joint Sending Ceremony is at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time Dec. 8 at the Annunciation Chapel of the Maryknoll Sisters in Ossining, New York — livestream may be available — and marks the end of a 10-week orientation program.

This is the first time in seven years that the Sending Ceremony will be combined. The heads of the branches of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers and the Maryknoll Affiliates will also participate in the ceremony.

During the Sending, the new missioners will receive mission crosses and express their commitment “to witness the Good News of Jesus Christ, in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are marginalized and oppressed.” They commit themselves “to care for the earth, our common home, and to respond in service to help create a more just and compassionate world.”

The new lay missioners range in age from 23 to 69 and include individuals, couples, and a family of five. They will depart in January 2019 for their respective mission sites, where they will receive extensive in-country language training and acculturation before they begin their ministry assignments.

Ted Miles, the executive director of Maryknoll Lay Missioners, said that the past 10 weeks of orientation have been a profound time of spiritual, theological and practical preparation for the 13 missioners. “We are delighted with and proud of this group of dedicated new missioners,” he said.

“Pope Francis has called all Christians to be missional,” Miles added. “He continues to remind us so beautifully that the church’s mission is enlivened by a ‘spirituality of constant exodus,’ and he challenges us to go forth from our own comfort zones into the world’s ‘peripheries.’ We celebrate these 13 individuals who have listened carefully and responded to God’s call in their lives. They are committing themselves to this exodus in a most unique and radical way to share the ‘joy of the Gospel’.”

Maryknoll Lay Missioners work in Africa, Asia and the Americas in a wide range of ministries that include health care, education, restorative justice, pastoral care, human rights, sustainable development, and ministries with refugees and people with disabilities.

Earlier this year the whole Maryknoll family, celebrated the 100th anniversary of the very first Maryknoll Sending of four missionary priests to China. Brief history