June 1918 – Field Found
This blessed word came to Maryknoll before the evening meal. The announcement, made immediately after the prayer before supper, almost took the breath away from everybody, including the visitors. (The Procurator remarked afterwards that it did not take away any appetites). There was joy supreme and all shared in it. “

June 1918 – Maryknoll
A thrill arrived on a certain Sunday in June, when for the first time in the history of this still young Society the Assignment of Missioners was made.

The Superior read out the names of those who are privileged to be the pioneers.”

Father Thomas Frederick Price

  • North Carolina, Archdiocese of Baltimore
  • Co-founder of Maryknoll

Father James Edward Walsh

  • Cumberland, Maryland, Archdiocese of Baltimore
  • Graduate of Mt. St. Mary’s College, M.A.
  • Time keeper in a steel mill

Father Francis Xavier Ford

  • Brooklyn, New York, Archodiocese of New York
  • First student received at Maryknoll in Hawthorne
  • Graduate of Cathedral College, New York City

Father Bernard Francis Meyer

  • Stuart, Iowa, Diocese of Des Moines
  • Worked on his family farm
  • Graduate of St. Ambrose College, Davenport, Iowa

Following the thrill of assignments came the further announcement that four reservations had been made on the Equador, of the Pacific S.S. Co., booked to leave San Francisco Saturday, September 21.

September 6 – Pennsylvania
Venard, 1918Goodbye to all at the Venard and, at Scranton Cathedral, Bishop Hoban gave his farewell – “These men do not go away as military soldiers, to fight the foe for liberty and democracy, but as soldiers in Christ’s army under the banner of Christianity. They go away with the apostolic spirit, confidence in God, love of Jesus Christ”

S.S. Ecuador, 1918
Frs. James E. Walsh, Francis X. Ford and Bernard Meyer at Venard College in 1918

September 7 – Maryknoll
The call to chapel was given by the solemn tolling of a large bronze bell.

All who heard it realized that it signaled the hour for American Catholic priests to carry the Gospel of Jesus…and silently they…filed into and soon crowded the Seminary chapel.

Departure Program, 1918
Departure Program, 1918
Mission Cross

The Superior of Maryknoll addressed the missioners, referring to the importance of their work and its timeliness.

 He assured them of constant prayers, of keen interest and brotherly cooperation in their accomplishments as in their trials.

 The four missioners each received a Missioner’s Crucifix, the Pax from the Superior, and the kiss of peace in a farewell embrace from the other priests, students, and auxiliaries, in attendance.

A few moments later the chapel was emptied. Rousing cheers sounded as two automobiles…circled out of the Maryknoll compound, bearing Maryknoll’s first four missioners onto the highway

Departure, 1918 - Fr. Thomas F. Price