.- The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, a U.S. foreign missions group, are set to celebrate their 100th anniversary at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.
“His Holiness willingly joins the whole Maryknoll family in recalling the profound zeal for the spread of the Gospel and the growth of the Church,” the Vatican’s secretary of state Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said on behalf of Pope Benedict.
A Mass of thanksgiving will be held on Oct. 30 with more than 2,000 society members, clergy, friends and donors who will to pay tribute to the group, which was founded in 1911 and serves 28 countries.
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of the Washington archdiocese, will serve as the main celebrant of the Mass and will be joined by several Maryknoll priests.
The celebration will begin with a procession of flags, led by the U.S. and Vatican flags, from all the countries served by the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers during the society’s first 100 years.
The procession of flags will be followed by the processional cross, which contains relics of the Maryknoll Society Founders—Bishop James A. Walsh and Father Thomas F. Price—and of Mother Mary Joseph, the Foundress of the Maryknoll Sisters' Congregation.
“The vision of the founders bore fruit not only in an impressive missionary expansion in Asia, Latin America and Africa, but also in a remarkable awakening of concern for the Church's mission ad gentes among generations of Catholics in the United States,” Cardinal Bertone said of the society.
Among the special guests participating in the Mass will be representatives of the numerous countries ministered to by the missionary order. Prayers of the Faithful during the Mass will be offered by the guests in their native languages of Hakka, English, Quechua, Spanish, Swahili and Taiwanese.
The Maryknoll Society also serves parishes and schools in the U.S. and engages Catholics in mission through vocations, prayers, donations and volunteer work.