From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Pomeroy native celebrates 60 years of missionary priesthood in Maryknoll

by Maryknoll

(From the June 15, 2001 edition of the Inland Register)

Maryknoll Father Michael Joseph McKeirnan, originally from Pomeroy, will celebrate his 60th anniversary of ordination as a Maryknoll missioner on Sunday, June 24.

Father McKeirnan is one of 50 Maryknollers who will be commemorating their ordination to the priesthood or oath as Brothers in ceremonies to be held at the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America headquarters in Ossining, N.Y.

He was ordained a priest for the Maryknoll mission society on June 22, 1941.

Father McKeirnan is currently ministering to Philippine overseas workers and teaching catechism in Kowloon, Hong Kong, where he has served since 1956.

As Maryknoll’s regional vicar, he supervised the Society’s mission works in Hong Kong (1960-1966) and served as director of the Bishop Ford Center in Kowloon for more than two decades.

Father McKeirnan began his mission career with an assignment to Maryknoll’s mission in Wuchow, South China. Traveling to the mission in 1941, he was interned by occupying Japanese forces in Hong Kong and held for nine months. After his release, he worked in Wuchow until the Japanese army took the town. He served as a chaplain with the U.S. Air Force until the end of World War II.

Father McKeirnan then returned to the Wuchow mission and remained there until 1949, when he was appointed pastor of St. Theresa Chinese Mission in Chicago (1949-1956).

“As a missioner, my greatest fulfillment is to instruct a person who has never known God, and then in Baptism, see that person enjoy the infinite mercy and eternal love of God the Father,” said Father McKeirnan.

Growing up in Pomeroy, Father McKeirnan attended Holy Rosary School (1920-1928). He graduated from St. Joseph College in Mt. View, Calif. in 1934 and entered Maryknoll that same year.

Maryknoll, the U.S.-based Catholic missionary movement celebrating its 90th anniversary, includes three distinct organizations: the Maryknoll Society (Fathers and Brothers), the Maryknoll Congregation (Sisters) and the Maryknoll Mission Association of the Faithful (lay missioners and priest and Religious associates). Maryknollers have been representing U.S. Catholics in overseas mission since 1911 and currently serve in 39 countries worldwide. There also are 40 Maryknoll Affiliate Chapters in the United States.

For more information on Maryknoll, consult the society's web site.

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