Moving on is never an easy thing to do. It can have a multitude of meanings to every individual. What is moving on or moving forward to you? Have you gone through it? Are you currently in it? Do you see it coming in the not so distant future? Whether you know for a while as it approaches or are struck by the need to move forward suddenly, the task involves change and uncertainty. It is something we must always do. We must move on because like it or not time continues pushing us forward in our ever evolving worlds. However, we must remember to take comfort in the fact that we are not alone in this. I wanted to share some examples of lay missioners who were about to experience episodes of large change in their lives, as well as a prayer by Joyce Rupp that lay missoner, Sharon Raynor, shared in A Maryknoll Book of Prayer. In this current time as we all move forward into a world still moving through a pandemic, while trying to figure out how to move forward, amidst the fabric of our own lifes’ challenges, changes and triumphs, I thought this prayer might be both helpful and hopeful as we all bravely move on.

Prayer of One Who Is Moving On

Guardian, guide, no pillar of cloud by day nor fire by night,
Yet I sense your presence with me, God of the journey.
You are walking with me into a new land.
You are guarding me in my vulnerable moment.
You are dwelling with me as I depart from here.

You are promising to be my peace as I face the struggles
of distance from friends and security,
the planting of feet and heart in a strange place.

Renew in me a deep trust in you. Calm my anxiousness.
As I reflect on my life I can clearly see
how you have been there in all of my leavings.
You have been there in all of my comings.
You will always be with me in everything.
I do not know how I am being resettled,
but I place my life into the welcoming arms of your love.

Encircle my heart with your peace.
May your powerful presence run like a strong thread
through the fibers of my being. Amen.

~Sharon Raynor, MMAF (Venezuela), Maryknoll, New York,
a prayer by Joyce Rupp from Praying Our Goodbyes
(Ave Maria Press, 1988)

“Dear friends and family,

I am writing this newsletter here at Bethany in New York. We are in our final month of preparation before leaving for mission in December.

It has become apparent to me that the next 3 1/2 years of my life will be comings and goings. Saying goodbye to everyone in Seattle in July was the start of many hellos and goodbyes to come. I am aware that the one constant in my life the next few years will be change.

As I continue in this part of my journey, I think of what will help to sustain me. And the answer that I come up with is relationship, the relationship of my deepening faith in God, and the many relationships with family and friends, such as yourself, that help to support me. It is my hope that communicating my experience through newsletters such as this will continue to foster in these important relationships.”

~Maureen Foley, Maryknoll Lay Missoner, Undated Letter

“It is somewhat difficult to describe what I’ve been doing the last couple of months. It is a lot like being in college – taking classes, living in a dorm, and meeting new people. It is also like being on a really long retreat – reflecting and discerning about my call to mission, and prayer. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to talk with several priests, brothers, sisters, and lay people who have served or are currently serving in Tanzania. These conversations have helped me get to know the people and culture a little and I am anxious to get there to see and experience Tanzania for myself.”

~ Debbie Northern, Maryknoll Lay Missioner, Undated letter

“Dear friends and family,

Greetings from Venezuela once again! As hard as it is to believe, as of this Christmas season we will have lived for four years here in Latin America. Some of that time was spent in Bolivia, but we have lived for three and a half years here in Barquisimeto, and each year flies by much faster than the previous one. We will probably only be here another couple of years, after which we will return home so the boys can go to high school in the States. Of course with each passing year it gets harder and harder to think about leaving, but that feeling is counterbalanced by our growing desire to return home to friends and family. You are all very much missed especially in this season when it is such a part of the holidays to get together with loved ones to celebrate. I hope that this season will be for each of you a time of celebration with those you love.”

~Sharon Raynor, Maryknoll Lay Missioner, Christmas 1986