The following comes from an August 8 Maryknoll Lay Missioners press release:

Maryknoll, New York (August 8, 2016) – Maryknoll Lay Missioners is excited to announce our Student Loan Repayment Program. This innovative program, launched in 2016, was made possible by the generosity of an MKLM supporter.

The Student Loan Repayment Program is available to all active Maryknoll Lay Missioners during the time they are under contract with MKLM. During their time in service, MKLM will pay the Missioner’s monthly student loan payment, freeing individuals of this financial burden as they minister to the poor and marginalized in Asia, Africa and the Americas.

“The number of students borrowing for their education is increasing, as is the amount an average student owes,” said Joanne Blaney, MKLM Mission Services Director. “We are delighted to offer the Student Loan Repayment Program so that our Lay Missioners can focus on the most important thing, sharing Christ’s compassion and love with those in need and working to change unjust structures around the world.”

MKLM invites Catholics who are 21 years or older to join for an initial three-and-a-half year commitment, and welcomes single people, married couples or families to apply. The orientation program offered to new Lay Missioner candidates is rich in authenticity, designed to address both practical and spiritual preparation for overseas mission work. Lay Missioners who join the program are not only eligible for the new Student Loan Repayment Program, but also receive a number of other benefits, such as:

-Health insurance coverage while overseas for individuals and families

-In-country, full-time language training

-10-week onsite orientation training in New York, with childcare financed and provided for families

-529 College Savings Program for children of missioner families