Maryknoll Society in Egypt

by Douglas May

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers' history in the Middle East began in 1978 when a small group went to Yemen as the Arab-Muslim Unit to be a Christian presence among Muslims. The primary work was in a trade school for orphans and juvenile offenders.

In 1983, the Unit officially settled in Egypt and changed its name to the Middle East Unit. Its primary work was with lepers, the sick and the formation and education of both Christian and Muslim youth through teaching at various schools and institutes.

In 1988, the Unit expanded its outreach to the Holy Land and several Maryknollers worked among Palestinians in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Bethany. The Unit was officially closed in December 1998.

In January 1999, the Africa Region started a small initiative in Egypt when it allowed Father Doug May to return there and join the staff of the Coptic Catholic Seminary. Father May serves on the formation/education staff of the seminary. He also engaged in prison visitation ministry, assisted with sacramental services among the English-speaking community in Cairo, and helped to build the Our Lady Queen of Peace Home for Mentally Handicapped

For several years Doug was the house manager for Maryknoll in Nairobi, Kenya but has recently returned to Egypt and continues walking with the people he has come to love.