From the Editor: Migrant Martyrs
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When I think of Maryknoll Father Joyalito Tajonera, whose ministry to migrants in Taiwan is our cover story in this issue of Maryknoll, his nickname springs to mind. The missioner is fittingly known as “Father Joy” to the multitude of mostly Filipino migrants he serves. He exudes this emotion — along with his evident love of the people he helps.

As a Filipino and a migrant himself, Father Joy knows the travails of those who leave family and homeland behind. As a seminarian sent by Maryknoll to Taiwan to study Chinese, he was shocked by the plight of the large Filipino diaspora laboring there. I’ve witnessed this diaspora on my reporting trips to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan. In each place, Maryknollers work with some of the estimated 10 million Filipinos abroad. Many migrants, I learned, spend much of their lives being the breadwinner for families back home — sacrificing their own comfort so their children, parents, siblings, or nieces and nephews have a better life, a more promising future.

Some might call them “heroes.” Father Joy calls them “martyrs.” I think he’s got it right. Sometimes, a name says everything.

Whether they are priests, sisters, brothers or laypeople, Maryknollers around the world share a common call: to serve as missioners. In this, our vocations issue, we invite you to read some of their stories. We invite you to get to know them, and the people they serve, by name.

Lynn F. Monahan

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About the author

Lynn F. Monahan

Lynn F. Monahan is editor-in-chief of Maryknoll magazine and served as a Maryknoll lay missioner in Peru in the 1990s. A graduate of Syracuse University, he has worked for newspapers and newswires, including The Associated Press and Bloomberg News. He holds a master’s degree in writing from Manhattanville College, and is the author of the award-winning novel Pistaco: A Tale of Love in the Andes. Twitter: @LFMonahan