16 December 2013

another step closer to tanzania!

You know how time flies when you're having fun? Well folks, our ten-week Orientation Program in Ossining, NY with Maryknoll Lay Missioners has come to an end. And it sure flew by!

there are way too many iterations of this weird pic floating around the internet

This past Thursday, Ashley and I signed our Covenant with Maryknoll Lay Missioners during a special mass. Father Ken Sullivan, MM (who I wrote about previously) signed as a witness on our covenant which was a pretty special thing for us. Saying goodbye to this man was tough, but Father Ken will actually be visiting our language school in Tanzania in January/February, so hopefully we'll see him again soon. This man is 87 years old people, and still going strong!

ashley signing her maryknoll lay missioners covenant with fr. ken sullivan, mm as her witness.

michael signing his maryknoll lay missioners covenant with fr. ken sullivan, mm as his witness too.

team tanzania (michael, ashley, kristle) with their witnesses (fr. ken sullivan, mm and sr. janice mclaughlin, mm).

class of 2013 maryknoll lay missioners presenting the gift we made (altar cloth) after the covenant mass.

And just two days ago, we were officially sent forth from Maryknoll during our Sending Ceremony. Despite the serious snowstorm that hit that day, the event was well-attended by family, friends, and many of the Maryknoll Sisters, Fathers and Brothers that we had come to know so well during these past ten weeks. Ashley and I were blessed that both sets of our parents made the trip out for this special event.

Ashley and I really underestimated how close we would become with the other folks in our orientation class. It was really, really, really difficult to say goodbye to them, but thankfully Kristle will be coming with us to Tanzania. We told the others they are required to spend their vacation visiting us in Tanzania. No excuses people.

a bunch of snow dumped on the maryknoll campus the day of our sending ceremony, and it was beautiful.

sign advertising maryknoll lay missioners class of 2013 sending ceremony.

here we are beneath the tanzanian flag before the start of the sending ceremony.

here we are, maryknoll lay missioners class of 2013, reading something important at our sending ceremony.

standing with our "caller" - sister sue rech, mm - after our sending ceremony.

michael and ashley leen officially sent forth as maryknoll lay missioners

While every new Maryknoll missioner is presented a mission cross, Ashley and I also received Tanzanian jewelry from Sister Sue Rech, MM who called us forth (see the above photo). These items are made and worn by the Maasai people. Ashley is wearing a necklace indicative of a young married woman, while I am wearing a cross necklace typical of a young elder.

So what's in store for us now? Well, we have three weeks until we leave for Tanzania. The first week will be spent with Ashley's family in Minnesota (right now), the second with my family in Illinois, and the third will be split evenly across both places. And then….

we'll be off to tanzania!


  1. Love all the photos in the post! I guess Michael can be considered a young elder... It reflects his internal and external components. :)

    1. we still need you to upload the sending ceremony photos from your fancy schmancy camera to dropbox!


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