Maryknoll Transition #3

I am starting to get feedback from people about various misunderstandings about the changes coming up in my ministry in Cambodia. Let me be clear about a few things that I will explain more fully in the days to come:

  • My old contract with the Maryknoll priests group (the Maryknoll Society) is to end on 30 June 2022.
  • My new contract with the Maryknoll Lay Missioners is to start on 1 July 2022.
  • I am not retiring at this point.
  • I am not stopping my work in Cambodia with the Deaf Development Programme or with the English Catholic Community. That will continue.
  • I am not leaving Cambodia at this point. I plan to continue working in Cambodia at least through December, 2023.
  • I am not leaving the priesthood.
  • The Maryknoll Society has disabled my e-mail account. Please do not send anything to that address but use from now on.
  • Please do not send any money to me for the deaf work though Maryknoll, NY. It will not reach me.

In the most simple terms, nothing will change except that I am replacing a Maryknoll Society contract with a contract from the Maryknoll Lay Missioners. And my e-mail address will change to

Hospital Day 21

I came to Bangkok planning to stay at the Maryknoll office for three nights while I took a Covid-delayed physical exam. I am still here, three weeks later, although the end is in sight.

There are two guest rooms on the third floor, and this is the one at the back of the house. I’m not sure how I ended up in this one, although with the original plan of a three-day stay it really didn’t make much difference. But when my stay stretched to 3+ weeks, the lack of a table or desk in this room became a nuisance. I scrounged around for furniture the right height to type on and it worked out OK.
This is looking the length of the room from the other end where the door is. Apparently, it used to be a small apartment with a little kitchenette but some of the previous walls have been removed.
This is the other room on the third floor, at the front of the house. It has a table but the bed is so low I am glad I did not have to get in and out of it after major abdominal surgery. It was interesting that going up and down the stairs daily was no problem at all.

Hospital Day 18

This is the Maryknoll office in Bangkok at present, a much smaller house than was had previously. When i first arrived in Southeast Asia, we had 25 or 30 Maryknoll lay missioners, brothers, sisters, and priests assigned to Thailand. Now there are three priests, and one of them is still in the process of getting his visa.

The house and the center manager provide invaluable assistance to us all, especially in medical situations. My unplanned surgery and recuperation here is a good example.

Hospital Day 16

Good News

This morning I went back to BNH Hospital for follow up with the surgeon. He said the tumor on my kidney was cancer but because it was so new and so small, they got it all and that I don’t need to worry about it.. It’s always best not to have cancer at all, but this was good news after they did discover the renal carcinoma.

Hospital Day 16

…and Bad News

After I got home, I started noticing a scratchiness in my throat so I took a rapid test. I’m positive with Covid-19. Bummer. I will have to find out what I have to do according to Thailand rules but I am sure I cannot fly to Phnom Penh on 2 June! And probably I can’t fly to the US on 7 June.

Hospital Day 14

I was discharged from BNH Hospital on Thursday and have been up and about since then. I have been surprisingly free of pain. Today I went to mass at the Bangkok cathedral with Fr. John Barth and then we had lunch with some Filipinas here working with Maryknoll.

The Cathedral of the Assumption is a large downtown church that is invisible from the streets. It fronts onto a courtyard and is surrounded by the cardinal’s residence and church schools and offices.
The 100+ year old church is reflective of the French influence of the century before last. It is quite beautiful and very well preserved.
The black structure jutting from the wall is the pulpit from which the priests used to preach in the days before microphone systems. (I’ve always had a secret desire to try one some day.)
Fr. John Barth and Charlie at a dim sum restaurant after mass. With us is Arlene Sale (white top) who has been a lay missioner with Maryknoll for many years, working with refugees. Two of her neighbors joined us.