MARYKNOLL, New York, JULY 5, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The first U.S. missionary organization is marking its 100th anniversary, with celebrations particularly in China, its first mission territory.
The Society for Foreign Missions of the United States of America was established June 29, 1911. Members are known as the Maryknoll Missionaries.
The Fides agency reported that a series of events in China are organized to celebrate the centennial.
The Maryknoll society was founded by Father James Anthony Walsh and Father Thomas Frederick Price in 1911 in New York and approved by Propaganda Fide, on June 29 of that year.
Some six years later, Father Walsh left for China to explore the possibilities of establishing the missionary group there. In 1918, the first four Maryknoll missionaries left for the mission in China, settling in the district of Jiang Yang, in the Guang Dong province.
In the following years, the Holy See entrusted the Maryknoll missionaries with five dioceses.
With the Communist takeover, the missionaries who were not imprisoned were expelled from China and moved from the mainland to Taiwan.
The Maryknoll Missionary Society today has more than 30 houses with 550 members, priests and religious, active in Africa, America, Asia, with a house in Rome. The motherhouse is in New York.