A Summer Message to our Glenmary Partners

For Glenmarians, the summer months are rarely a vacation. In the missions, priests, brothers and co-workers prepare for Vacation Bible School or for guests who will provide Bible stories, arts and crafts classes and music for the children in Mission Land, USA. The vocation office plans a “Come & See” mission trip for men discerning a call to a religious service, and the Glenmary Volunteer Program hosts dozens of summer volunteers at Toppa Joppa in East Tennessee.

But my favorite “sign of the season” is the arrival of a new novitiate class. These men embark on a year of study with Fathers Dan Dorsey and Tom Kirkendoll, co-directors of the novitiate, during the summer months. This year, the co-directors will shepherd three men through the study of Glenmary’s history, Constitution and way of life, which will prepare the men for one of the most crucial stages of formation – service in the missions.

Formation is a crucial process assuring that Glenmary’s mission and ministry will continue to bring vitality to areas of the United States where the Catholic Church has little to no presence. We have you to thank for making Glenmary’s formation so informative and comprehensive. Your ongoing support of Glenmary provides our students a foundation for their calling and rich experiences that will shape their ministry. I ask that you prayerfully consider a gift that will provide Glenmary missioners and novices with the resources needed to continue bringing the Good News to rural America.

Many of our novices have never lived or visited rural America before they are dispatched on their first mission. It can be quite eye-opening, but it also can affirm their call to mission life. Although there are differences between Glenmary missions, they share many similarities — they are all poor, isolated and underserved. They are places where novices can see the hand of God in their work and discernment. The novices could see the impact of their ministry in the communities they served and in the lives of the people they helped.

Thanks to generous donors like you, novices José Carlos Miguel López, Samuel Mungai and Kenneth Wandera took their first oaths in June. Their work in the missions this year challenged them, educated them about different cultures, exposed them to new ministries and excited them about a future as a home missioner. With 12 students presently in formation, Glenmary is grateful to be a growing society.

This hands-on experience is possible because of you. Your support allows our missioners and novices to serve their communities’ spiritual and material needs as well as respond in emergencies. Your gift will help Glenmary Home Missioners expand its reach, helping more people in need as well as giving men in formation a chance to explore their calling.

The end of the summer brings one of my favorite Glenmary traditions. On a morning in September, Glenmary priests, brothers and co-workers will gather in the parking lot in Cincinnati as we prepare to send the novices to their new assignments — five months of service in a Glenmary mission. 

Glenmary president Father Chet Artysewicz will bless the novices and the cars they will drive. He will lead us in prayer for their safe travels and arrival at the mission where they will work. He will pray for the people to whom they will minister and that the men continue to successfully discern their call to life as Glenmary missioners.

As the men depart, a bell will chime, a bell that has sounded the departure of missioners traveling to Mission Land, USA, for more than 75 years.  For most of our novices, living in rural America is a new experience. As Father Dan says, immersion into mission life gives novices the opportunity to ask themselves, “Can I be happy here? Can I initiate ministry?”    

It’s difficult to identify one stage of formation as the most important, but living and working in Glenmary missions give novices an insight into the life of a missioner and whether it is the life God intends for them. I agree with Father Dan and Father Tom who say that if God is calling, it’s like a pair of shoes that fit perfectly.

As our novices spend their summer preparing to walk in the shoes of a Glenmary missioner, I hope that you will remember them in your prayers. And please know that you and your loved ones are remembered in my daily prayers and Masses. When the bell tolls as these young men drive to their new assignments, it will be in part because of you. I appreciate the important role you play in the Glenmary family!

Your brother in mission,
Father Don Tranel
Director of Development