Maryknoll Lay Missioners Appoints New Executive Director Theodore Miles

Maryknoll Lay Missioners (MKLM) announces the appointment of Mr. Theodore (Ted) Miles as Executive Director. Ted assumes the role on December 1st, following the departure of Executive Director Sam Stanton, who will continue to work with MKLM in various roles. Ted comes to MKLM from Catholic Relief Services (CRS) where he worked for nearly 13 years, most recently serving as the Manager for Youth and Religious Education Engagement. He holds a BA in Psychology from Loyola University in Baltimore and an MA in Psychology from Bucknell University.

Ted’s main focus at CRS has been leading and implementing the agency’s youth and religious education outreach in the United States, with the goals of fostering a deep commitment to global solidarity in the vision of Catholic youth ministry and faith formation and creating opportunities for young people to understand and support the mission of CRS. Among his numerous responsibilities, Ted provided oversight for resource development, led solidarity delegations for Catholic leaders, and developed strong, strategic partnerships with organizations like the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM) and the National Catholic Network de Pastoral Juvenil Hispana (La RED). The NFCYM is a membership organization that supports and strengthens those who accompany young people as they encounter and follow Jesus Christ. La RED is an inclusive association of Roman Catholic Church organizations and pastoral ministers committed to the evangelization, holistic development, ongoing support and formation of Hispanic youth and young adults in the United States.

Ted’s other responsibilities included representation to the Catholic Climate Covenant, an organization formed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to help US Catholics respond to the Church’s call to care for creation and care for the poor. Through his work, Ted hopes that young Catholics today can see these organizations – “as Good News, as inspirational church.”

In The Beginning
Firmly rooted in his focus on parish youth ministry, social ministry, Catholic high school education and faith formation, Ted has served this goal in every step of his career. A Catholic camp in the Adirondacks of New York, where he served on staff for five years, opened his heart to working with children and youth. It grew into a vocation through his work as a Jesuit Volunteer in education and youth ministry in Belize and Guatemala, Central America. His Jesuit volunteer experience also gave birth to a passion for and commitment to mission, Catholic social teaching and its call for long-term social justice.

Ted’s noted work includes designing and directing the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Justice Action Week – a justice formation program for youth that explores urban poverty and injustice through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching, serving as Director of Student Development for the Cardinal Gibbons Catholic School in the effort to develop leadership skills for urban high school youth in Baltimore, and providing leadership for youth involvement in the Archdiocese of Baltimore Haiti Project. “I’m truly proud of the Justice Action Week program, as it was formed at a time when very few parishes offered extensive social justice formation for young people,” recalled Ted. Though no longer in existence, this program highlighted a real world need for holistic formation geared to Catholic youth. As a result of this initiative, the integration of comprehensive serving learning into local ministries became more commonplace, especially in parish youth ministries. For his commitment to and work with young people, in the past decade, Ted was awarded the Cardinal Sheehan Award by the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the National Youth Ministry Award for Leadership in the Area of Gospel Values of Peace and Justice by the NFCYM.

Personal Life
The oldest of a family of five children, Ted was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, with a great love of family. He stated his most precious gift of late has been his nephews and niece, two of whom were adopted from Ethiopia. “Their addition to our family has solidified the idea to me that we really are all connected,” said Ted. “There isn’t a day that I don’t express gratitude for our connection to a family in Ethiopia. My niece and nephews have brought such amazing joy into our lives. It has also deepened my commitment to do what I can to contribute to a more just and peaceful world for them.”

In addition to being a lover of theater and a self-proclaimed “big Orioles fan,” Ted is an avid hiker and camper. His love for exploring the natural world has instilled a belief that we can have profound experiences of God through nature. It has also fueled his commitment to work for environmental and climate justice. “I believe that we need a new and expanded understanding of solidarity, one that helps us to recognize our unfathomable connection to all God’s creation.” he said. “Deep into the heart of community and nature, we discover God is so much bigger than we imagine and is always drawing us into unity, into communion. I believe a more profound respect for each other and for all God’s creation – rooted in deep listening and compassion – can help make all the difference in our attempts to mercy, ‘solidarize’, and contribute to a just and sustainable development of all people!”

Looking Forward
Given the remarkable history of MKLM, Ted feels that this next step is just a natural extension of his life experiences. “I feel that all of my experiences so far have built upon each other to help me listen more carefully to the world – and, in turn, see God’s presence and handiwork in the lives and stories of our sisters and brothers around the world. All of this has fostered an intentional commitment to ministry and servant leadership,” said Ted, of his life’s work. “It has helped me understand how to serve in a manner that respects the dignity of others. It is an honor to join MKLM, an organization that manifests so clearly Christ’s love in the world through its commitment to mission and its service to our sisters and brothers on the peripheries.”

“Maryknoll Lay Missioners wishes to thank Sam Stanton for his long, dedicated and effective leadership and we welcome Ted with assurances of enthusiastic support from our entire Board of Directors,” said Father Bill Vos, MKLM Board Chair. “We do so with confidence that he will enjoy a warm welcome from our entire Maryknoll family.”

About Maryknoll Lay Missioners
Maryknoll Lay Missioners (MKLM) is a Catholic organization inspired by the mission of Jesus to live and work with poor communities in Africa, Asia and the Americas, responding to basic needs and helping to create a more just and compassionate world. Our Lay Missioners work to assist those living in extreme poverty, victims of human trafficking, people in prison and those affected by war and urban violence. They live and work with those they serve. They also offer their compassion and skills through more than 100 ministries which encompass healthcare, education, compassionate care of children and orphans, microenterprise, faith formation and restorative justice. To date, approximately 800 lay missioners have been involved in mission work around the world.