Wings for the Faith

Date: May 28, 1965
Location: Rochester, NY
Newspaper: Catholic Courier Journal
Page: 2

St. Louis (NC) – A shiny six-place red and white Cessna 206 Skywagon took off from Lambert-St. Louis field bearing on its tail a dove, an ancient symbol of peace, and the letters UMATT, a brand new symbol of brotherhood.

UMATT stands for United Missionary Air Training and Transport, a newly launched venture aimed at putting the miracle of flight to work in the service of humanity in far-flung mission territories.

Piloted by Max Conrad, 63-year-old “flying grandfather” and holder of the world’s long distance flight record, the Cessna left here on the first lap of a 9,000-mile flight to Nairobi, Kenya.

There it will be the backbone of the first regularly scheduled air line service in the vast Northern Frontier District which includes some 200,000 famine stricken nomads living in the Turkana District region northwest of Nairobi.

The plane will carry food and medicine, doctors, nurses, agricultural advisors, relief program directors, and others on their appointed rounds in the region. It would provide air service for persons of all faiths working to help the Africans.

The UMATT program – a cooperation effort of the priests and Brothers of the Society of Mary, the St. Patrick’s Missionary Society, and the Medical Missionaries of Mary – will be directed in the U.S. by Brother Thomas Dwyer, S.M., with headquarters at the University of Dayton.

At the Nairobi end, the program will be headed by Brother Michael Stimac, S.M., a veteran pilot and former teacher in Cleveland, who will serve as UMATT’s full time pilot and administrator in Kenya.

Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish leaders were on hand at the St. Louis airport for the plane’s departure, representing the interfaith effort that led to its purchase. Well over half of the $30,000 to buy the Cessna came from non-Catholic sources.

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