This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Maryknoll Mission Society. The Catholic Times interviewed Fr. Edward M Dougherty, the superior general of the society, in presenting the first installment of Maryknoll's history of mission.
"Our society began work in Korea in 1923, said Fr. Dougherty, and this year we are celebrating our 100th anniversary. We have always been one with the Korea Church. We worked in the Pyongyang Diocese, helped in the establishing the Sisters of Perpetual Help, were together with the Korean people fighting for democracy and the rights of workers and were with them in developing health education, welfare, and in working for peaceful unification. We have been working closely with them in many areas of development for the last 88 years."
He went on to say, "The Korean Church from its foundation has seen a rapid increase of the number of Catholics, and its participation in society is a sign of the zeal of Korean Catholics. It is easy to see the spirituality and sacrifice motivating their faith life."
He did mention one problem that he saw with the Korean Church. With its history of foreign missioners coming to Korea and helping the Church grow, and now with the maturity of the Korean Church he wonders if the Korean Church is not somewhat negligent in the work of mission to other countries.
The society will also continue to dialogue with religions in the countries in which Maryknoll works. This need for dialogue between religions Maryknoll considers very important and will continue to draw up plans to implement this among the Maryknollers working in the different world cultures.
Maryknoll will continue to have events to commemorate the anniversary of the first Mission Society of the American Church. The superior general did say the small number of candidates coming into the society is a problem Maryknoll will have to face. With the changes in society there will have to be a change in the way Maryknoll approaches prospects. We will be working not only in the formation of new candidates, Fr, Dougherty said but also in improving the quality of those who are members of Maryknoll. He ends by thanking the Korean Catholics for playing such an important role in Maryknoll history.