Kirstin Rothrock De Mello and Merwyn De Mello, both 2005 graduates of EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, receive the 2022 Bishop John E. McCarthy Spirit of Mission Award from Maryknoll Lay Missioners executive director Ted Miles (right). Mary Novak, executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, holds the award (left) during the Oct. 23 recognition at Holy Redeemer Church in Washington, D.C., where they are parishioners. (Photo by Susan Gunn/Maryknoll Lay Missioners)

Maryknoll Lay Missioners honors couple with Bishop John E. McCarthy Spirit of Mission Award

Kirstin Rothrock De Mello and Merwyn De Mello, both 2005 graduates of EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, are the recipients of the 2022 Bishop John E. McCarthy Spirit of Mission Award from Maryknoll Lay Missioners (MLM). They were presented with the award Oct. 23 during the 9:30 a.m. Mass at Holy Redeemer Church in Washington, D.C., where they are parishioners.

The award is conferred annually for continued justice and mission service after missioners have returned to the United States. The couple has served with MLM as well as with a wide range of faith-based U.S. and international organizations, dedicating themselves to international and intercultural peacebuilding and justice service. They were honored for their untiring compassionate and transformative service, accompaniment and activism with marginalized people in Africa, Asia and the United States, according to a press release issued by the organization.

Merwyn De Mello began serving with Maryknoll in 1994, first in Japan and then in Tanzania. After meeting Kirstin at CJP, they served together with Maryknoll Lay Missioners until 2009, then embarked on service with Community Peacemaker Teams and Mennonite Central Committee. 

Kirstin De Mello currently serves as the program and communications coordinator for MCC U.S. National Peace & Justice Ministries in Washington D.C. Merwyn De Mello assists with Afghan refugees. He also helps welcome and serve the migrants that Texas and Arizona have been bussing to Washington, DC over the past few months, and he works with and trains the leadership of the tenants association at the Cider Mill housing project in community organizing and capacity building. 

The couple lives in an intentional Franciscan community committed to nonviolent living.

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