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 James “Jim” Noonan, M.M. at a hospital near Maryknoll, N.Y. on May 7. Father Noonan was 83 years old and a Maryknoll priest for 58 years. His missionary life took him to Asia, Africa, and the United States and included a term as superior general of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers from 1978-1984. We are profoundly grateful for the life and ministry of Father Noonan, particularly his service as the Associate for Asia and Disarmament at our Washington, D.C. office from 2009-2012.
Whether ministering to HIV/AIDS hospice patients in Cambodia or internally displaced persons in South Sudan, advocating for nuclear disarmament at the United Nations or lobbying to protect the environment at the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C., Father Noonan’s life exemplified the highest ideals of the Christian faith. His humble, peaceful 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 Noonan wrote on the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time in 2013. The reflection in its entirety is available on our website:
“I would like to share my dream with you: No more nuclear weapons on our planet because, if nuclear weapons are used, they will kill a multitude of our brothers and sisters and devastate our environment. When my dream becomes a reality, the war industry will find wonderful new industries to nurture life rather than destroy life.
“The money made available from stopping war will make it possible for the millions who go to bed hungry every night to delight, at last, with a full stomach and a decent house to live in. These same people will have health care and comfort in their last years.
“In the gospel, Jesus rejoiced when one leper returned to give thanks for his healing. It is not hard to imagine how many of the poor in our world would wholeheartedly give thanks to the Lord Jesus if their families had food, housing, education, health care, jobs and the opportunity to worship their loving God on a regular basis.
“All is possible if only we listen to the Holy Spirit who is the source of wisdom and love. The Spirit says: ‘Choose life, not death.’ For example, the United States alone spends over $52 billion annually on nuclear weapons. This is enough to meet the Millennium Development Goals on poverty alleviation. If only we would stop war then every person can have all their human needs answered. Let’s join hands and build a new world. Jesus is counting on us.
“How grateful the poor, I dare say, the people of the world would be if these billions and trillions would be used for development and not war.
“Thy reign come! Thy will be done on earth as in heaven!”
Father Jim Noonan, M.M.
August 1, 1934 – May 7, 2018
Note: There will be a Memorial Mass celebrated for Father Noonan in Maryknoll, N.Y. at a later date. For more information or to send condolences, contact the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers.
Photo below: Fr. Paul Masson, M.M., Gerry Lee (Director, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns), Fr. Jim Noonan, M..M., Fr. Dave Schwinghamer, M.M., Fr. Russ Feldmeier, M.M. at the People's Climate March, New York City, September 21, 20014. Photo by Fr. Thomas Henehan, M.M.