Not So Far Afield is a bimonthly publication of the Maryknoll Affiliates. The name is a play on the title of the original Maryknoll Magazine: The Field Afar.
You may subscribe to Not So Far Afield by email or to be notified when it is posted on our website.
You may also download PDF versions of Not So Far Afield here.
When we met with Manny and Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss on our annual visit, Mary asked us to reflect on what we see in Portland and in Oaxaca.
Mary—First, we noted how the mood of the people in general expresses itself. Aside from activists, nobody said much about the political state of affairs in Portland or the US. Black members in our family are as vigilant as they have always been. The police bias toward racism has always been prominent. Having arrived in 1975, we remember when the police left dead possums on the doorstep of a Black restaurant. And the father of one our children’s classmates was killed with a choke hold—he stopped a robbery in a gas station, and the police automatically assumed that because he was a tall Black man, he was the robber. Now however, many people feel permission to spew hatred toward immigrants, people of color, indigenous people, and refugees. The incredibly noticeable gentrification of the neighborhoods made me sad and angry. Maryknoll Affiliate Martha Gies, who has worked in housing in Portland for years, commented that “ethnic cleansing” is taking place—the Black community is moving out to the “numbers,” far out to the east of Portland.
The special talents of these Guatemalans will enrich your conference experience with an understanding of the Mayan culture, uplifting liturgies, and enjoyment of the music created for this gathering.
Daniel Caño is Mayan Q’anjob’al, from the aldea Paykonob’, municipality of Santa Eulalia, Huehuetenango. A Mayan spiritual guide, he was named for Maryknoll Father Daniel Jensen, who was pastor in Santa Eulalia at that time.
His academic studies are in philosophy, pedagogy, and intercultural bilingual education. Daniel is presently a professor of political and social sciences at the Rafael Landivar University in Quetzaltenango and on the faculty of Humanities at the Guatemalan University del Valle in the Altiplano. He has shared his spirituality, life experiences and poetry at a number of universities and organizations in the United States.
Of the Mayan Spirituality, Daniel says “I consider Mayan Spirituality as a way of interrelating myself with my social and cosmic surroundings. I try not to reduce it to rituals but instead to apply it to all spheres of my life.”
Lorenza is an indigenous Maya Quiche woman and a psychologist and elementary school teacher. Her parents immigrated to the capital city of Guatemala because of the political violence and the poverty in the country. In spite of having grown up in an urban environment, her strong Mayan identity is based on the values of equality, social justice, and respect for diversity.
In 2000, Lorenza began reflecting on the Cosmo vision of the Mayan People, in particular the K’iche. She has studied certain elements, principles, and values of the spirituality of her people. She appreciates her origins and has a critical vision of their history as Mayan Peoples.
During this process, she has worked with organizations of indigenous peoples, women’s groups, and international and governmental organizations. Presently, she consults regarding indigenous peoples, women, and HIV, and develops workshops for healing and counseling with indigenous women.
John Spain, MM – Maryknoll Priest
Ordained in 1970, John shared pastoral service with Salvadoran priests and participated in Christian communities. Over forty years ago, he lived through the persecution that claimed the lives of more than ten priests, including our beloved Blessed Oscar Romero and the four American churchwomen in December 1980.
In the 1980s, John served in Nicaragua while it was experiencing US aggression after freeing itself from Somoza. In the 1990s, he returned to San Salvador to accompany the suffering people in their search for reconciliation after the war. In recent years he has spent more time on administrative tasks in Central America, but also sharing with the Affiliates of Guatemala and El Salvador to help pastorally in the parish of Cristo Salvador in Zacamil, El Salvador.
This year he was invited to share the lives of the martyrs of Central America with the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers in Africa.
Helen has been a Maryknoll sister for 79 years, and looks back with gratitude at the journey that brought her to this time in Guatemala. After wonderful years of formation and College education, she spent 10 years in Panama teaching children whose ancestors had worked on the Panama Canal. A call to the contemplative life brought her back to New York, where for 32 years she lived the cloistered life, reaching out to the world through prayer.
Most significant in her life was the invitation to come to Guatemala to be a presence of prayer and accompaniment in the midst of the poor who were still suffering from the effects of violence and massacres. Her life has become prayer in the midst of the world, one with the people.
Both a professional singer and a humanities professor, Miguel specializes in music in middle education and musical theater. A choral director, artistic producer, and dramatist, he is the founding director of Staccato Singers Academy, a school held in high esteem in Guatemala. He has given workshops internationally and is vice president of the Latin American Forum of Music Educators.
Immersed in the world of song since an early age, he has won multiple awards, including gold medal winner in the World Olympics of the Arts (2001) in Los Angeles, California, and the Arcoiris Award for the best youth group (2005).
He has created:
Miguel presently directs the City Choral group of Guatemala City, teaches vocal technique at Staccato Singers Academy, and is General Director of Casa Duarte, a meeting place for companies that work in all branches of the arts.
Juan Pablo teaches musical formation, specializing in practice and choral direction. He studied at University of San Carlos and Normal School for teachers of Music Jesus Maria Alvarado.
As a member of the National Choir of Guatemala (Cultural Patrimony of the Nation), he has been a choir member, tenor soloist, accompanying pianist, and director (from 1992 to the present). Juan has sung with several other choirs, including Colegio San Sebastian (1977-1979), Victoria Choir (1986 – 1990), APG Choir (1988), Symphonic Christmas Choir (1992), and Hilos de Plata Choir (2006).
He has been a member of popular music groups: Christmas Selection, Siglo XX (1992), High Voltage Group (1990 – 1992), The Organization (1993), The Brothers Duarte Groups (1994 – 1997), Select Music Group (1990-2000), among others, with which he has participated in national tours and international festivals (Central America, Cuba, Colombia and Mexico).
Juan Pablo composers and arranges choral works, songs with a message of hope, children’s songs, group arrangements, and chamber music. He interprets varied academic and popular music, singing and accompanying himself on piano or keyboard.
He presently teaches music and directs the youth choir and marimba at Colegio Monte Maria in Guatemala City.
Join the Maryknoll Affiliate Board in envisioning our future.
1. Read through the meeting plan. If you wish to work from the two-page pdf of this Easy Meeting, go to Easy Meeting 2017 09 10 - Visioning the Affiliates.
2. Plan who will read the passages and prayers.
3. Determine who will lead the discussions.
4. Gather markers, a flip chart or large sheets of paper
and tape, and pens and paper for individual use.
Creating scapegoats is something societies do over and over again to keep from addressing real fears and injustices. It never really solves any problem, but just continues the cycle of violence, covering it up with a thin disguise, a lie of legitimacy.
Jesus calls us to expose the lie by witnessing to the truth. What truth, you might ask. Pilate asked the same question, even though Jesus has just given him the answer:
Over 900 actions are planned for the 2017 Campaign Nonviolence, Sept 16 – 24, across the US. Now more than ever, we encourage Affiliate Chapters and Affiliates to participate in one of the actions in your area, listed at http://www.paceebene.org/programs/campaign-nonviolence/campaign-nonviolence-week-of-actions/ or to start your own action to address violence, poverty, racism, and the climate crisis.”
Rich Lessard – Affiliate Board member, Albany Chapter
Early on the morning of May 20th, I set out under sunny skies for my two-hour trek to Ossining, NY, for the ordination of Maryknoll’s two newest priests. My anticipation for the day ahead increases with each mile traveled—this is my first ordination. Then, about five minutes from my destination, raindrops begin to fall on my windshield, mixing with the previous days’ pollen accumulation. “Uh oh,” I think, knowing part of the day’s ceremonies are to be held outdoors. But just a few raindrops fall, stopping right as I arrive. Perhaps it is a sprinkling of holy water on those assembling at Maryknoll to mark the importance of the day ahead!
Jake (whom you may have known as Jane), the oldest child of Roger and Kitty, is in California recovering from surgery to complete his transition to becoming a man. He would probably be surprised to know about this note. We think it would be great if as many people as possible would send him a card of support and good will for his recovery and his future happy life. If you would like to send a card or message of love and encouragement, his address until the end of April is: - - - - - .
We wrote this email to let people know about Jake and to encourage others that change and evolution are constant and good. To let our friends know that we are okay with this change even though we do not fully understand it. There is always good and growth that come from evolving.
Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss – Portland Chapter
We are teachers of the people who have come on a new vision of things. We struggle to embody that vision day after day, to make it a reality among those we live with, so that people are literally disarmed by knowing us; so that their fear of change, their dread of life are exorcised, and their dread of human differences slowly expunged.
—Daniel Berrigan, The Village Voice
Priest, peace activist, poet, and felon, Dan Berrigan, SJ, passed away peacefully at age 90 in 2016, but he is not forgotten.
Affiliate Nancy MacFarland brought John Records to the editors’ attention by reposting his thoughts (shared below) on her Facebook page. When we inquired, she told us, “John Records is an inspiring man who had lived in our community (Petaluma, CA) for many years. He created a homeless shelter that comprehensively met the needs of homeless people in a holistic way which became a model for other shelter programs. He is a spiritually centered person who has deeply touched the lives of all those around him.”
I’ve given a lot of thought to the message that follows, knowing it may offend some. It’s not meant to be political. I ask those who take offense to look into my heart and recall what I stand for.
At age 66, I’ve been involved in many social changes and movements: opposing the Vietnam war, marching against nuclear arms, teaching meditation to people with HIV/AIDS when it was untreatable, working against the tobacco industry’s campaigns to hook children, working for homeless folks, and now supporting dying people and those who care for them. I’ve been stretched to what I thought was my limit and beyond many times.
Rich, a Maryknoll Affiliate in the Albany Chapter since 2006 and a Board member since 2013, loves being in the company of other Affiliates and Maryknollers. His wife Denise and two young adult children, bring him much joy as he adjusts to retirement.
On the Affiliate leadership team, Rich meets regularly with Lay Missioners, Sisters, and Fathers and Brothers to discuss present challenges and to help plan for the future. To advance the Affiliate movement, Rich wants to:
Rich’s personal desire is to be in mission overseas when the opportunity presents itself. For now he looks forward to spending time with Affiliates and other Maryknollers in Guatemala at MAC 2017.
Global Vision is a special perspective of Maryknollers, including Affiliates. Our Mission Statement says Affiliates “go beyond borders, locally and globally.” We recognize that our local actions have an impact across the globe.
This issue of the Not So far Afield tells of Affiliates in the US, Korea, and Peru responding with urgency and generosity to the needs of the flood-stricken in Peru. As people of God, Affiliates also look to welcome the stranger in difficult times. Houston Affiliates Bob and Ruth Kleeman remember their local saint, Mark Zwick, of the Houston Catholic Worker House, Casa Juan Diego. The Casa welcomes immigrants from many Spanish-speaking countries who fled their own repressive regimes or who suffered from policies of the US. Gerry Mullaney tells of his experience seeing another Cuba. Read the profiles of the speakers for the November 2017 MAC in Guatemala to gain a broader view of the world, including the indigenous philosophy of Buen Vivir.
Articles in this issue:
Affiliates in Solidarity – "Without all the help from the Affiliates and the faith they placed in us, we would not have been able to help as we did."—Carlos Apcho
“If We Had Any Guts, We’d Start a Catholic Worker House” – "Mark would say there is no such thing as “illegal immigrants”—some may be undocumented, but being a person is not illegal."—Bob & Ruth Kleeman
Welcoming the Stranger – "Some Affiliates visit immigrants in detention. Others accompany immigrants to appointments or to court."
2017 Climate March – "A continual stream of people carrying funny, creative, and inspiring signs kept us entertained."—Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss
NOLA Marches Forward – "The earth, our common home, is beginning to look like an immense pile of filth.” —Pope Francis
¡Meet the MAC 2017 Speakers! – "I have learned about the value and beauty of land from a cosmic worldview; about culture and the legitimacy of indigenous peoples’ claim to full recognition as people; their right to organize their collective life according to their ancestral norms; and their aspiration to “Live Well”, opting for a life in harmony and balance with nature."—Laura Hurtado Paz y Paz
Another Cuba, Another Fidel – "It seems that the churches have succeeded at convincing the government that the church social programs are compatible with the aims of the government."—Gerry Mullaney
Maryknoll Mission Institute—What A Gem! – "Let me introduce you to the MMI and encourage you, if you are able, to seriously consider spending one of the best weeks one could experience."—Rich Lessard
From the Board and Executive Coordinator:
And don't miss our Features:
To view this issue in its print form, download the July/August NSFA PDF.
Thank you, brother and sister Maryknoll Affiliates, for your support of the people of Peru who recently suffered from terrible natural disasters.
We are very grateful for your strong gestures of solidarity with our brothers and sisters affected by the natural disasters that our country, Peru, suffered a few months ago. We continue to suffer the consequences of the intense rains—landslides and overflowing rivers. Cities and towns were flooded, thousands of people were left isolated, and agricultural and cattle lands were destroyed. These disasters left more than 100 dead, affected 150,000 people directly, and impacted almost one million nationally, according to the Center for Operations of National Emergency, which monitors natural disasters in Peru.
What book would you like to read next? Both current and potential book discussion group members are invited to suggest titles. We have found Orbis Books (www.orbisbooks.com) to be an excellent source, with the advantage of their 40% discount for Maryknoll Affiliates and book group members.
At the May 2017 Maryknoll Affiliate Board Meeting, the Board agreed to a new policy regarding email communication with our members. When the mailing lists are updated, all members will receive both the Monday Morning Update emails and the bimonthly email with the digital Not So Far Afield. Members signed up for the paper version will continue to receive it by mail.