New elements of next year's MAC - now just 14 months away - continue to take shape. Most excitingly, after scores of drafts and retakes, we now have a theme (below) that will give cohesiveness to the Conference and, most importantly, speak to the moment in history where we find ourselves. Also in the excitement category, Jim & Ann Coady, formerly of the Long Island Chapter and, since they moved to Minnesota, now the Virtual Chapter, have joined Ginny McEvoy, Celine Woznica and Bob Short on the Planning Team.
MARYKNOLL LAY MISSIONERS
STRATEGIC PLANNING INVITATION
Maryknoll Lay Missioners 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.
In the last 2 years MKLM has engaged in a reflection on how to best live out its mission in the Church and society of today. In March 2018, Maryknoll received the findings from a key organizational assessment that provides MKLM with a foundation to engage the future.
During the Fall of 2018 the leadership of Maryknoll Lay Missioners agreed to take the next step in this visioning and assessment journey and to embark upon a strategic planning process to identify a vision and roadmap for the next three to four years. Three strategic questions are guiding the discussion:
These questions seek to respond to the present realities impacting our organization, the realities facing our global sisters and brothers, the opportunities and challenges within the present lay missioner and volunteer environment, and the realities shaping faith communities, including Maryknoll as a whole.
Effective planning is an opportunity to pause, reflect and assess our current reality and to identify strategic and tactical directions that will lead Maryknoll Lay Missioners forward to be a mission focused, effective and efficient ministry organization.
During the Fall the Board of Directors, the Global Council and national staff spent time reviewing and finalizing a process to guide this planning. A steering committee was also formed to coordinate and guide the planning. This group includes various MKLM stakeholders.
A key principle that emerged was the participation and ownership in the planning process of the many MKLM stakeholders, including missioners, receiving communities, alumni, donors and the Maryknoll fathers and brothers, sisters, and affiliates.
During the month of April, we are hosting focus groups to be facilitated by our consultant for this process, Paul Henderson of Pastoral Strategies, Inc. We invite you to join in a 90-minute confidential listening process to gain your insights from your own experiences and knowledge of Maryknoll Lay Missioners in recent years. Paul will be at Maryknoll on April 3-4 and again in May which is yet to be determined. Coffee, tea and snacks will be provided.
At the beginning of last week, Rosa Beatriz, Affiliate Board member from the Guatemala Chapter, emailed me requesting the name of someone in the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns (MOGC) who might be able to respond to an urgent request. That request was for Affiliate Chapter member, Claudia Samayoa, who, along with José Martínez, had been maliciously accused by the President of the Guatemala Supreme, seeking to criminalize her work in Human Rights. Claudia, whom many of you reading this met at MAC 2017, and who recently received special recognition for her work in human rights, was faced with the possibility of being incarcerated.
There is a second, revealing aspect to this story that I believe should make us proud to be part of the Maryknoll family. Shortly after receiving the details of the situation from Rosa Beatriz (the Guatemala Chapter had already drafted a strong, thoughtfully worded document in protest to the Supreme court’s stance) I wrote to the other Maryknoll entities to make them aware that we as Affiliates were looking to initiate an action in support of Claudia and José. Seemingly within minutes after clicking 'send' on the email, at least one person from each entity had responded to express support. Soon MOGC Executive Director Susan Gunn and her staff put an action plan in motion. Susan laid out a 3-prong strategy:
At this writing, the final outcome is still pending for Claudia and José. Rosa Beatriz informed me that Claudia’s father, who had been gravely ill, passed away few days ago. Please be alert for action alerts to sign and pray for Claudia, José and the dire situation in Guatemala.
In the early stages of planning for MAC 2020, the phrase, “The Interim Time” has surfaced recurrently. We on the MAC planning team anticipate that this notion will be incorporated on some level into the Conference in June of 2020. Similar phrases to name that phenomenon are: the middle time, the in-between time and, simply, chaos – probably because at least a bit of disorder is inevitable when the world is undergoing a major transition; and, before order is restored.
In his poem, For the Interim Time (full version follows below) the Irish poet John O’Donohue wrote:
The old is not old enough to have died away;
The new is still too young to be born.
Essentially, it is a time when the prevailing paradigm is dying off and a new one is being born. Even if we cannot fully understand it, we are seeing evidence of it all around us… in our understanding of global relationships, of Church, of government, of quantum science, of social consciousness, even of God. It has and will continue to impact so many areas of our individual lives as well as the on-going development of the Affiliate Movement. For sure, living in this interim time can make for anxious moments. Thankfully, in the last three lines of the poem, O’Donohue assures us of a hopeful outcome if we remain faithful.
“For the Interim Time”
When near the end of day, life has drained
Out of light, and it is too soon
For the mind of night to have darkened things,
No place looks like itself, loss of outline
Makes everything look strangely in-between,
Unsure of what has been, or what might come.
In this wan light, even trees seem groundless.
In a while it will be night, but nothing
Here seems to believe the relief of darkness.
You are in this time of the interim
Where everything seems withheld.
The path you took to get here has washed out;
The way forward is still concealed from you.
“The old is not old enough to have died away;
The new is still too young to be born.”
You cannot lay claim to anything;
In this place of dusk, Your eyes are blurred;
And there is no mirror.
Everyone else has lost sight of your heart
And you can see nowhere to put your trust;
You know you have to make your own way through.
As far as you can, hold your confidence.
Do not allow confusion to squander
This call which is loosening
Your roots in false ground,
That you might come free
From all you have outgrown.
What is being transfigured here in your mind,
And it is difficult and slow to become new.
The more faithfully you can endure here,
The more refined your heart will become
For your arrival in the new dawn.
John O’Donohue, from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings, 2008
Last Fall, by way of introducing myself as the new Chair of the Affiliate Board, I wrote an article sharing some of my initial thoughts about the Maryknoll Affiliates. In it I emphasized the importance of what I think are two necessary characteristics of a successful movement; connection and communication. Board members and Regional Coordinators have begun a number of initiatives to address and strengthen these. These are equally and importantly directly related to key responsibilities of the Affiliate Board. Namely:
I think anyone would agree it would be quite difficult to come close to achieving these without connection and communication, especially considering the nature and loose structure of the Affiliates. With that said, however, to be successful will require effort and commitment of both Affiliate leaders and members. It will require dialogue.
To honor my personal commitment in this effort, I wish to continue in an experiment of having monthly conversations with a small group of Affiliates. All Affiliates are invited to participate. If you are reading this; you are invited. These conversations will be conducted using either the Affiliate conference call number via telephone or over the internet using either Zoom video conferencing or Skype. I would expect the conversations to be free-flowing and limited in duration to no more than 1-1/2 hours. Again, the purpose of these conversations is just one attempt for leadership to listen to and be engaged with the wider Affiliate movement.
I think for these conversations to be manageable, effective and meaningful, they will be limited to no more than 4 participants (including myself) at a time. So, the first 3 interested Affiliates to respond will be asked to participate in the next conversation. I will do my best to arrange a date and time that is convenient for all. Any Affiliate not able to participate in this next conversation will have the opportunity to participate in the next one if they wish.
Let’s have morning coffee or perhaps even a nightcap together!
Excerpt from: A New Wave: The Maryknoll Affiliates and our Sacred Pilgrimage (John Sivalon MM – MAC 2014)
“Earlier, I stated my belief that the Maryknoll Affiliates are well positioned to be carried into the future by this new wave of mission. I believe this because the processes of globalization, the sense of emergent reality and other social dynamics have brought about what some call the “death of society” or the “death of institutions.” Today, institutions are valued based upon their usefulness and not on any supposed intrinsic value. And therefore, people will be less likely to commit themselves to an institution as such. Rather, the future lies with small bands of brothers and sisters mutually empowering and nourishing one another in the struggle to create global humanization without forcing homogenization.
The vitality of the Affiliates, going into the future, will be dependent upon your ability to remain a movement. A fluid, open and flowing movement not restricted by rules, regulations and constitutions and not neurotically concerned about your own self-preservation. But a movement based upon a general vision expressing values associated with the new wave: oneness, or global solidarity and diversity, or empowering encounter or inclusion.
The Affiliates’ openness to including members of other faiths or no faith is a unique freedom of expression that the institutional and hierarchical entities of the Maryknoll family do not possess. This act in itself is a manifestation of understanding by under-standing which is so much a part of mission as mutual empowerment. It is touching the hands of the other; it is allowing the same water of life to run over each other’s’ hands enlivening ourselves and the other: we are one in the same movement.
The vision of the movement is that we be one in justice, equality, dignity and respect. The future of the movement also lies in its authenticity in not only accepting of the other but seeking to eradicate all that impedes oneness. This includes challenging the very premises upon which capitalism, patriarchy and discrimination are based. We are not autonomous individuals who define the other and assert power over the other. We are intimately tied to one another, mutually defining one another.”
Due to sudden illness, former Director of the Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns (MOGC) Gerry Lee has stepped down and Susan Gunn has been named the new Director. To read more about Gerry and Susan, click on this link: https://www.maryknollogc.org/statements/director-transition-announcement
Fred and Jet have been living and working in the Philippines for well over six years now. Still, their names surface often among the many Affiliates who came to know them in the more than 10 years that Fred was in Affiliate leadership. In a recent conversation with Fred, he suggested that, to reenergize the chapters there, it would probably make good sense to combine the individual chapters into one "Philippine Chapter". He has begun to work towards that realization.
Beyond his heavy work load, I've included two other areas of commitment in which Fred has been involved:
MAC 2020 - June 25 - 28, 2020 at Graymoor Spiritual Life Center in Garrison, NY (about 25 minutes from Maryknoll). MARK THE DATE
The planning team - Ginny McEvoy, Celine Woznica & Bob Short (with more to join) is making very positive headway. We are especially happy to announce that the keynote speaker for this momentous event will be Nancy Sylvester IHM. Nancy contributed to and is co-editor of the book, Crucible for Change: Engaging Impasse Through Communal Contemplation and Dialogue. She brings to this project her commitment to dialogue and collaborative work style and her belief that the impasse being experienced currently in the work of transformation of church and society requires a contemplative response. Nancy completed her three-year term as President of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in 2001 and served on staff of NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby, from 1977-1992, first as researcher, then lobbyist and beginning in 1982 as National Coordinator and board member of NETWORK. Nancy is a frequent presenter these days throughout the country and beyond.
In the weeks and months to follow we'll provide updates on other speakers, the Conference theme, unique workshops, scholarships, a website, registration and much more.
From the Bishop of El Paso:
The reason I am writing you is to invite you to tap into the volunteer spirit that motivated you to serve in the past and to come to El Paso to assist us. As this situation continues it is straining the ability of our local community to respond. More than anything we need volunteers who are willing to stay for a minimum of a week serving in a wide range of capacities. Spanish language ability would be a tremendous help, but is not required. We need people to do everything from cleaning, to making contact with sponsor families, to driving families to the bus station, to coordinating shelters. Once you are here we can provide housing and meals.
A couple of Affiliates have already signed up.
For more information, see link at: https://peacecorpsworldwide.org/rpcvs-needed-in-el-paso/