Father Joseph Langford MC
In the early morning of October 14, 2010, Fr. Joseph Langford, MC—Co-founder with Mother Teresa of Calcutta of the Missionaries of Charity Fathers—died in the city of Tijuana, Mexico.
Father Joseph was born in Toledo, Ohio, United States on June 25, 1951 to Martha and Gerald Langford; he was the eldest of four children, his siblings being Mary, Christopher and Michael. When Joseph was a year old, the family moved to San Diego, California.
He studied in San Diego Catholic schools, going to elementary school at “Our Lady of Grace” and junior and high school at University High. He later did his Philosophical and Theological studies at the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.
In 1972, in a bookstore in Rome, he saw the book about Mother Teresa of Calcutta, “Something Beautiful for God”; the photo on the cover of the book touched him profoundly and from that moment he had a great desire to know her and her charism and to adapt it to the life of the priest.
Eventually he discovered his call to contemplate the words of Jesus on the Cross, “I thirst.” And he then dedicated his life to propagate this mystery of God’s love in the light of the charism of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
He was ordained to the diaconate on September 10, 1977 in Boston and to the priesthood on March 25, 1978 in Rome for the congregation of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary.
In 1981 he founded, together with Mother Teresa, the Corpus Christi Movement for diocesan priests who wished to participate and live the spirituality of Mother Teresa of Calcutta in their priestly life.
This Movement began to grow and to spread among priests in various parts of the world until on July 16, 1983, the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Father Joseph had the inspiration to ask Mother Teresa to found a community of priests in the charism of the Missionaries of Charity. Mother Teresa accepted to carry out this project which began in the city of New York as the Corpus Christi Fraternity.
Just over a year later, on October 13, 1984, this Fraternity became the religious congregation of the Missionaries of Charity Fathers.
Father Joseph took his perpetual vows in this new institute on December 21, 1985.
In 1986 Father Joseph wrote the meditation, “I Thirst for you,” which has been translated into many languages and distributed throughout the world. This meditation is an expression of the spiritual sentiments that marked his life and his pastoral work. With this prayer, many people, poor or rich, have been helped to known the great love that Jesus has for them.
With the desire to serve the poorest of the poor in Mexico, and invited by the bishop of Tijuana at that time, the Most Reverend Emilio Carlos Berlie, the entire community of the Missionaries of Charity Fathers moved to that city on June 25, 1988.
At the request of Mother Teresa, and with the strong support of Bishop Emilio Carlos Berlie, the community was approved as a congregation of diocesan right on March 25, 1992.
Father Joseph served for fifteen years as Superior General. During those years and the years that followed, his understanding of the spirituality and message of Mother Teresa of Calcutta developed and deepened. And this he shared through conferences, retreats and writings. In recent years, he also published two important books, one about the Virgin Mary, and the second, “Secret Fire,” a profound meditation on the mystery of the thirst of Jesus, the center of Mother Teresa’s spirituality.
For Father Joseph, it was a great joy that the first Sanctuary dedicated to Mother Teresa was erected at the MC Fathers Motherhouse in Tijuana this past October 2nd.
Father Joseph had a very intimate love for the Blessed Virgin Mary and under her motherly presence and guidance, sought to satiate the thirst of Jesus for his love and for the love of souls.
Today we want to give wholehearted thanks to God for the life of our beloved Father Joseph. May his soul rest in peace and may eternal light shine upon him.
Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, MC,