The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns offers sincere sympathy to the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers and extended family and friends on the death of Father John “Jack” Sullivan, M.M., at the Maryknoll Society Center in Maryknoll, N.Y. on August 9.
Many supporters of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns will remember Fr. Sullivan for his faithful advocacy for peace and justice in Israel-Palestine and for his weekly e-news brief Middle East Notes.
Father Sullivan was 87 years old and a Maryknoll priest for 61 years. His missionary life took him to Asia and the United States and included a term as a member of the first ecclesial leadership team of the newly launched Maryknoll Lay Missioners program in 1975. Father Sullivan went on to partner with Maryknoll Sr. Maria Rieckelman in leading workshops and retreats for women and men in mission in need of assistance in dealing with conflict in a multi-cultural world.
We are profoundly grateful for the life and ministry of Father Sullivan, particularly his unwavering service as an advocate for peace and justice in Israel-Palestine with the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns for more than twenty years.
Whether ministering to refugees in Hong Kong or missioners returned to the United States, advocating for peace in Israel-Palestine at the United Nations or lobbying to protect Palestinian human rights at the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C., Father Sullivan’s life exemplified the highest ideals of the Christian faith. His generous, joyful spirit made a strong impact wherever he served. His death strengthens our resolve to stand in solidarity with all vulnerable, marginalized peoples and with all of Creation.
We wish to share an excerpt from a reflection Father Sullivan wrote on the Feast of the Assumption (Aug. 15) in 2015. The reflection in its entirety is available on our website:
Mary’s Assumption reminds us that this woman’s body, all our bodies, the body of the earth and the cosmos are all being lovingly created in each moment in time, and will be forever one and complete in our ever creating God. We recognize this oneness when we respect our environment, when we embrace sufficiency of material goods for all, rather than the false promise of unlimited growth on a limited planet for the few. We are seeing more clearly that respectful caring for all our bodies, the body of the earth and all its creatures, big and small is an expression of God caring for all creatures. It is our way of thanking the Loving God creating us still. We are all interconnected with each other and in God.
We continue to discover that wars and violence do not rid the world of our enemies but only increase our divisions and conflicts. Our wars and violence maim and destroy the same bodies that we believe are already one in the Body of Christ, that we believe will have their own assumption. “Whatever you do to these the least of my brothers and sisters, you do to me.” These “least” today certainly encompass exploited women and children, brothers and sisters murdered in war, our earth being depleted of its non-renewal resources.
As we celebrate the mystery of Mary’s Assumption, let us celebrate our oneness with friends … In family, society and politics we will continue to seek dialogue with rather than defeat of our “enemies.” We will combat terror by fearlessly trying to understand the roots and causes of hopelessness and desperation. We will join with others of good will in promoting peace and justice for all, rather than domination by the few.
During our pre-Assumption days let us with Mary say: “The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation” (Luke 1: 49-50).
Father Jack Sullivan, M.M.
August 27, 1933 – August 9, 2021
Note: Funeral arrangements for Father Sullivan in Maryknoll, N.Y. are pending. For more information or to send condolences, contact the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers.
Photo below: Fr. Jack Sullivan, MM and Gerry Lee, former director of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, at the UN Forum on the Question of Palestine in New York, May 17, 2018.