The latest news about the Maryknoll Affiliates
Part 1: What Happened – Descriptive View
The Southern Regional Affiliate Conference was held just outside of New Orleans in Metairie – September 30th – October 2nd.The Conference opened with a moving prayer and possession highlighting the four Affiliate pillars of Spirituality, Community, Action and Global Vision. For the remaining time, the diverse modes of presentation that followed spoke to the theme - Mission of Accompaniment: Walking Each Other Back Home.
On Friday evening, the keynote, given by the always-dynamic Matt Rousso, employed Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium to develop the theme.He also regularly incorporated the wisdom from the group present to help concretely situate the theme of accompaniment in our own life experiences.Saturday morning opened up with an early morning Prayer Walk at the Lake (along the levy of Lake Ponchartrain adjoining the retreat ground where we were staying) followed by breakfast.Following breakfast, Jason and Felicia Gehrig, a former Maryknoll lay missioner couple who spent seven years in the Bolivian altiplano related their mission experience through a series of slides and very touching stories – some exhilarating, some heartbreaking and all somehow hopeful – that confirmed the importance of accompanying others wherever we find ourselves.
That afternoon a panel with Russ Feldmeier MM, Gerry Kelly MM and Bob Short spoke to the Affiliate movement vis-à-vis, respectively: the Maryknoll Society, the Third Wave initiative and the present-day Affiliate movement.The interchange with the participants that followed was especially fecund.Before dinner that evening, Lindsay Doucette of the MKLM gave an expansive overview of her work in recruitment and also talked about how it could connect with Affiliate initiatives.Louisiana gumbo was served for supper and, by all accounts from those natives in the know, was authentic and delicious. The evening featured a New Orleans Fais Do Do (I had to look that up too) and talent show wherein participant adorned with French Quarter beads and holding frilly umbrellas made semi-embarrassing attempts to show off their “dance” skills as they marched around the serving counter. Matt lit up the evening with Cajun Humor (Boudreaux jokes) while members from the North Texas Chapter put on a skit to honor Saint Thérèse of Lisieaux, whose feast was celebrated on the day.The Conference ended on Sunday with announcements, an evaluation and a Eucharistic celebration.
Part II: What Happened – A Deeper Look
Somewhere in his writings, Saint Francis of Assisi wrote that the Lord “…wants me to be a new kind of fool in the world…” Just a few minutes into gathering together as Maryknollers – seeing how the New Orleans Chapter welcomed all of us, the global and local issues that consumed us (and the consumer issues that didn’t), the wholehearted laughter that filled us, and, maybe even the simple dress that clothed us – gave some evidence that we too were aspiring towards the new fool in the world classification. The advanced levels of insight, education, creativity and life experience don’t disqualify in this regard.
It was a small group of just 30 participants, but it was clear from the start that we were connected by and committed to the Maryknoll charism of accompanying (at home and cross-cultural settings) those who have little or no voice in our clamorous, disjointed world. In Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, he said this of Francis of Assisi: His response to the world around him was so much more than intellectual appreciation or economic calculus, for to him each and ever creature was a sister united to him by bonds of affection. (¶ 11). That rings very true.
Finally, although many of us hadn’t met before, we soon realized that we were at home together. New vocations are not flooding into any of the expressions within Maryknoll these days, but I couldn’t help but wonder if this would be reversed if new people – young or old – spent the weekend with us. Perhaps that’s wishful thinking. Minimally it couldn’t help but make heads turn and speed up the heartbeat a bit. Of course, for those not from that region of the country, the grits, biscuits and gumbo couldn’t hurt either.
We received word today that Father John J. Walsh MM passed away on Friday, September 23, 2016 at Saint Theresa's on the Maryknoll Campus. John was a strong supporter of the Affiliate movement from the early days of its existence. Agnes Walsh and Ginny McEvoy, both of the Long Island Chapter of which he was a member for many years, sent a few words of remembrance:
"Our beloved Father John Walsh, MM passed away this afternoon (Friday). He was a devoted member of the Long Island Maryknoll Affiliate Chapter for many years and was a resource for us since the beginning of the Affiliates. Fr. John spoke at the first MAC at Maryknoll, Ossining, and, with his expansive vision, was always supportive of Affiliates. He became a member of the LI Chapter when we met at the Father's house in Hempstead, NY and remained part of our group until illness necessitated his transfer to St. Theresa's."
Please remember this good man in your thoughts and prayers.
2016 USCMA Conference
The United States Catholic Mission Association’s 2016 Conference will take place in the Cincinnati, Ohio region and is entitled: Together in Mission- Celebrating Concrete Expressions of Missionary Discipleship Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. In honor of USCMA’s 35th Anniversary, the aim of USCMA’s 2016 conference will be to highlight the mission reality of US Catholics serving around the world and at home and reflect how these realities can help make our local communities a reflection of Jesus’ liberating spirit and how these expressions of mission will adapt in the coming years.
To learn more go to: http://uscatholicmission.org/togetherinmission
In Our Son's Name is a remarkable tale of restorative justice and a moving portrait of resilience, courage, and the healing power of reconciliation. Insightful interviews, verité footage, and striking archival images create a subtle, profound story told with disarming candor – a response to violence that challenges conventional concepts of justice and healing.
The protagonists in this documentary, Phylllis and Orlando Rodriguez, whose son Greg perished in the attacks of 9/11, are friends of former Maryknoll Lay Missioners, Larry Rich and Susan Weissert. Larry, who oversaw the Maryknoll Society's Media Department for many years and is now a media consultant-producer-writer, on several occasions also worked with the producer, Gayla Jamison.
To see if the documentary is playing in your area on a local PBS station, go to www.inoursonsname.com.
To watch a 5 minute trailer of the documentary, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKVihzDHDGc
The Affiliate movement produces two very formidable and worthwhile newsletters. The English language newsletter - No So Far Afield (NSFA) that many of you already receive; AND, No Tan Lejos Del Horizonte (NTLH). While the editors of each sometimes share stories and announcements, these are two separate publications with different content.
Greetings Maryknoll Affiliates,
We just want to express our gratitude to Dave and Paula Schaffner for a tremendous service they provided Maryknoll Lay Missioners the weekend of July 30/31. We had two church dates to cover in the LA archdiocese for Maryknoll Lay Missioners that weekend. We try to plan two on a weekend in order to travel together and cover two dates as well as other events. Normally the parishes are fairly close but on this occasion they were more than two hours apart so that created a big logistical question and challenge. But, Affiliates Dave and Paula Schaffner came through and helped develop a solution.
I was speaking in Camarillo, CA and Cecilia in Guadalupe, CA which is about 20 minutes from the Schaffner’s home. They graciously picked Cecilia up from the train, took her to their house for lunch, then to the parish to cover two masses on Saturday, back to their house for dinner to sleep then back to the parish on Sunday morning. We both had late afternoon masses on Sunday and Dave returned to the parish to pick Cecilia up and started south to meet up with me and make the exchange and then we headed back to LA. Wheee. It was indeed a tremendous help and we are very, very grateful! This is a prime example of collaboration.
Thanks Dave and Paula!!!
Cecilia & Sam
Dear Maryknoll Affiliates
As the hosts of MAC 2017, we, the Guatemala Maryknoll Affiliates Chapter, cordially invite you to the gathering that will take place from November 9-12, 2017 in the Verbo Encarnado Retreat Center in Guatemala, Central America (www.verboencarnado.com.gt).
Since 1993, on celebrating the first gathering in Chicago, USA, the Maryknoll Affiliates movement has met every two to three years in the United States to comment on the past, present, and future of the Maryknoll Affiliates and to celebrate significant events of the Maryknoll family. Although the home of the gatherings has been the United States, on March 28, 2015, we received the good news from the Maryknoll Affiliates Board that the proposal that the Guatemala Chapter presented at MAC 2014 had been considered and evaluated with the subsequent decision that now is the moment to hold the gathering outside of the United States, specifically in Guatemala, in this case.
The inspirational theme of the MAC 2017 gathering is BUEN VIVIR, literally “good living.” This consists of an invitation to enter into harmony with the Andean peoples and great majority of indigenous peoples of the world so that we also may begin a search for new paths for humanity. BUEN VIVIR has much to teach us: learning how to listen to one another, thinking and walking together, searching for harmony and equity for the well-being of all people, community, Mother Earth, and the Cosmos through a sharing and a celebration filled with warmth and affection.
In MAC 2017 we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Maryknoll Affiliates. This will be a moment to thank the grandfathers and grandmothers who began each entity of Maryknoll and for the Affiliate chapters to recognize our existence, parting from the four pillars that define us and give us our identity: spirituality, community, global vision, and action, thus reaffirming the presence of God who invites us to live a full life that prioritizes being in solidarity with the poor, the oppressed and excluded.
The NSFA and NTLH bulletins, the Maryknoll Affiliates website (www.maryknollaffiliates.org), the MAC 2017 Blog (www.mac2017guatemala.blogspot.com), and the Maryknoll Affiliates Guatemala Chapter Facebook (Capítulo Guatemala Afiliados Maryknoll) will keep you informed and will make known the specifics of MAC 2017. On registering as a participant in the gathering you will be sent more details via e-mail.
We hopefully anticipate that this gathering will be an opportunity for respectful dialogue, that we will seek spaces that will help us create solid bonds as a single Maryknoll family that wants to strengthen mission through the love of God, to dream, and to act on the basis of new alternatives that at the moment seem impossible to achieve.
With best wishes on behalf of the Planning Committee of MAC 2017,
Rosa Beatriz Castañeda de Larios Maryknoll Affiliates Guatemala Chapter Conference Coordinator
Maryknoll Affiliates Guatemala Chapter
Guatemala, June 2016
We launched the Affiliate Book Club about a month ago and chose Ilia Delio’s Making All Things New- Catholicity, Cosmology & Consciousness as our first book. When the planning team – Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss, Paula Schaffner and Bob Short – first thought of the book club, we anticipated that 6 to, optimistically, 10 might sign up. By the time we launched the first session, 41 had requested to join. It would be fun to speculate why so many latched onto this initiative – 1) Ilea Delio 2) interest in new cosmology 3) virtual community 4) following through on a New Year’s resolution to shut off the TV and read more 5) etc. – In the end, we don’t know, but are very encouraged by such a positive response.
We divided the full complement of participants into 3 groups on separate days and to date have covered three chapters of the book. Anything by Ilia Delio and authors like her is challenging. She speaks of quantum consciousness, evolution and emergence, Big Bang catholicity, Jesus and creative wholeness and much else. Nevertheless, what I found in the Friday group of which I am a part (and I’m sure this is true of the other two groups), is that all are enthused, engaged and, on an intuitive level, very much concur with what we are reading. I think that must have a lot to do with the life experience, faithfulness, interior center and developed critical sense of the participants
Essentially, like Teilhard de Chardin, Thomas Berry and others who came before her, Ilia speaks to us about a new paradigm for understanding our God, faith, Church and the human community. In the end, it might actually be a very old paradigm.
Ken Eppes, South Central Regional Coordinator, "Got to thinking" about talking points for 'Why I should be a Maryknoll Affiliate/Why I should form an Affiliate Chapter? He brought this to his Chapter in North Texas (Dallas/Fort Worth area) and they came up with the following talking points.
Can you think of others?
Being a Maryknoll Affiliate:
Sr. Peg Donovan, Director of Maryknoll Mission Institute, invites us to consider attending this important Mission Institute Program: EMBODYING THE OPTION FOR THE POOR which will be held July 17 – 22, 2016. Maria Teresa Davila is a dynamic presenter giving many talks to CALL FOR ACTION and in her teaching at Andover Newton.
Maryknoll Affiliates are eligible for 1/2 off the tuition charge.
Sr. Peg M. Donovan, MM
Maryknoll Mission Institute
P.O Box 311
Maryknoll, NY 10545-0311
(914) 941-0783 Ext.5671 (direct line)
(914) 941-7575 Ext. 5671
The New Orleans Affiliates are hosting this regional conference - "Mission as Accompaniment" - from September 30 - October 2, 2016. Housing will be at the Archdiocesan Retreat Center on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans. See a complete description at: https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=archdiocesan+retreat+center+new+orleans
To register, fill out the form below and send it with your check to the address listed:
Phone __________________________________________________ Email___________________________________________________
Room/Meals 2 nights (no double)................................$150
Commuter (meals only)..............................................$100
Make check payable to Matt Rousso and mail to:
Maryknoll Mission Center c/o Matt Rousso, 7730 Walmsley Ave. New Orleans, LA 70125
Our thoughts and prayers are with the people killed and injured in the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida on June 12. We pray for healing for those who were wounded and for a healing of our world, that we may not continue to have these horrible events. In order that the light of God’s presence may penetrate the darkest places, may each of us discern how we can contribute to a more peaceful world. We ask God to guide us. Amen.
In their May meeting, the New Jersey Affiliate Chapter explored “…what might be an Affiliate response to the present political climate, and if there are any possible ways to elevate the level of discourse. In other words, as people of faith and hope, imbued with the values of Maryknoll, is there anything in particular that we have to offer?”
It struck me that these are critical questions for all of us striving to live out the Maryknoll charism.
In sending along the minutes for this New Jersey Chapter meeting, Lenore Smith-Aman wrote that members listed a sampling of pressing concerns that included:
· The fact that serous issues are being ignored in favor of inflammatory rhetoric.
Racism, lies, outrageous claims.
· Fear of polarization.
· Climate change
· Supreme court
· Bullying in international relationships
· Immigration issues, isolationist trends
· Influence of Israel on ourMiddle East policies
· Generalized feelings of anxiety/hopelessness about real solution
· Tendency to “ escape from freedom” by giving power to demagoguery.
The also included a quote from Richard Rohr that speaks to our present historical reality and reminds us of the kinds of approaches (energies) that won’t help in this regard:
Our collective shadow is on display, exposing fear and bigotry, yet oppositional energies cannot bring about the change we so desperately need.
A much more through look at that Chapter meeting will appear in the next edition of NSFA. For my part, I wondered if other chapters and others from among all the expressions within Maryknoll have begun to address this concern. Please send along any of your efforts in this regard.