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.
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Most of our readers are familiar with Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement, but perhaps not everyone is familiar with Mark and Louise Zwick in Houston, Texas.
They were volunteer missioners in El Salvador in the late 1970s but were forced to leave following death threats related to the civil war at the time. Upon their return to the US, they saw the need to help the refugees from Central America and commented that, “If we had any guts, we’d start a Catholic Worker House.” They founded a house of hospitality under the name of Casa Juan Diego in 1980, and ever since they have dedicated their lives, on a fulltime volunteer basis, to helping the needy.
How is your chapter, your community, responding to immigrants?
Since many immigrants in the US are threatened with deportation, various organizations are offering sanctuary and solidarity:
What can we do? What will we do?
What would Jesus do?
“We Speak for the Earth.”
Even at 90 degrees in the shade, we were exhilarated by the more than 200,000 upbeat, committed activists who came to Washington, DC, on April 29th to emphasize their concern for the earth. We started the day with a Mass attended by several hundred Catholics brought together by the Catholic Climate Covenant, the Franciscan Action Network, and the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns.
New Orleans Chapter Affiliates participated in the New Orleans Peoples’ Climate March on Saturday, April 29th, joining thousands from around the country. Kevin Cahalan prepared our marching banner, highlighting Pope Francis’ words from Laudato Sí, “The earth, our common home, is beginning to look like an immense pile of filth.” One lady from Fort Worth, Texas, who was attracted to our banner, came up to our group proclaiming her great affection for Pope Francis. In addition to our five Affiliates, there were some 400-500 participants shouting in a loud voice: “This is what democracy looks like!”
We welcome the presenters who, with their diverse backgrounds and varying gifts, will nourish the spirit of Buen Vivir throughout the MAC 2017 Conference (November 9-12 at Casa de Retiros Verbo Encarnado, Guatemala.) They introduce themselves in the order in which they will present at MAC 2017. (Meet the Mayans, liturgists, and musicians in the next issue.)
A contingent of Affiliates from the Northeast Ohio Chapter—Jan and Curt Alberti, Pam Cibik, Gerry Mullaney, and Kathy Ress—had the privilege of visiting Cuba last December. An added and unanticipated element of this visit was the opportunity to experience the mourning period for Fidel Castro in his homeland. Our group came of age in the 1950s and 1960s, a time when Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution were demonized by the US government. The message we heard was the call to condemn and eradicate Castro’s atheistic, communist movement in our backyard.
What we did not hear a half century ago was the voice of a leader and a people who experienced the inequalities and injustices of the US-backed regime of Fulgencio Batista. This voice was determined to make changes.
The Nominating Committee of the Affiliate Board—that would be me, Gerry Mullaney—is calling on all Affiliates to consider candidates for the Board and bring them forth for nomination. Don’t be shy. Don’t deny anyone this opportunity. Competition will not be fierce unless we are inundated with nominations.
Board membership involves a 3-year term (with renewal possible for another 3 years), two Board meetings per year along with conference calls, and application of leadership, wisdom, and creativity for policy development and decision-making. We occasionally have some fun as well. It is certainly a joy to come together with good people to form the Affiliate leadership that supports and encourages our world wide membership to advance Jesus’ mission in the world.
Following this spring’s Affiliate Board meeting, my wife, Denise, and I stayed on at Maryknoll in Ossining, NY, and attended the Maryknoll Mission Institute (MMI). It was an overdue gift to ourselves, and also served as the perfect way to ease into my third week of retirement.
Some Affiliates may be unaware of this opportunity. 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.
Hello, everyone! I know that I have met at least two or three hundred of you over the past 20 some years at the international Affiliate Conferences in New York, at the Regional Conferences (Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, New Orleans) or just traveling across the good old USA, visiting Affiliate Chapters along the way. Do I remember all your names? Probably not, but I usually will recognize your smile, and sometimes that will pop your name out to me as well. In all the years I’ve been an Affiliate, I have loved meeting you, talking with you, eating with you, and especially praying with you.
Spring weather and ongoing challenges have us anxious and on the move. Where are you going? The Albany Affiliates are helping college students process their immersion trips. The Los Angeles Affiliates march for peace and for the homeless. Many other Affiliates and Maryknollers have marched and are advocating for science, for the environment, and for action on climate change. John Moritz and the Northeast Florida Affiliates are helping many Catholics to become aware of Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’.
Bob Short and the Guatemala Affiliates remind us that our Maryknoll charism leads us to Buen Vivir and a better connection with the environment. Bob says, ”The everyday faith commitment of Maryknoll Affiliates who continue to “show up” in the way they live and speak up to confront the voices of nationalistic empire that appear to be getting louder each day” are a sign of hope.
Articles in this issue:
Widening Visions: Sharing Laudato Si’ at a Diocesan Gathering – "I feel that using the theme was a more effective way of engaging people in a non-invasive and non-threatening manner."—John Moritz
BUEN VIVIR Through Maryknoll – "We are invited to move out of ourselves and be open to the diversity around us."—Lizbeth del Rosario Gramajo Bauer
Where Are You Going? – "Returnees from immersion trips need a forum in which to process their many experiences."—Santa Orlando
Palm Sunday Peace Parade Addresses Homelessness – 'When I was homeless, I felt that I was in a subculture and I always wanted to be a part of my community."—Dorothy Edwards
Mining Ban in El Salvador – "The government had denied mining permits to a new project; the company then sued for lost profits."
Protect Our Mother Earth – "Please post your actions and/or photos on the Maryknoll Affiliates’ Facebook page..."
Affiliates in Action – Houston – "Several members will be traveling to Guatemala in November to participate in MAC 2017."
Ralph Maughan—Persistent Affiliate – "The area they visit in Northeastern Myanmar has been one of the most problematic and dangerous parts of the country."—Janet Quillian
A place to learn: Maryknoll Mission Institute
Report on an author's speech: Contemplation, Asceticism, and Advocacy
To view this issue in its print form, download the May/June 2017 PDF.
Since the sharing last year by Maryknoll Mission Educator Matt Rousso on “Laudato Si,” our Affiliate community in Northeast Florida has had the opportunity to reflect on what the encyclical letter of Pope Francis is teaching us and calling us to. In a local social and economic environment that is substantially sustained by the use of fossil fuels and where many people are biblical literalists, the development of ecological awareness is both delicate and challenging.
As I report on the state of Affiliate finances, I must mention your generous response to our recent appeal for Peruvian Flood Relief. In a short time, over $5,500 was contributed—thank you for your abundant generosity in support of our Peruvian Affiliate sisters and brothers who were caught up in this natural disaster of unimaginable proportions. You helped fund a team that has travelled to the Department of Ancash to assist where much of the devastation occurred.
Here at home, our Affiliate appeal year runs from November 1 to October 31. We are responsible for our operating budget: travel, computer/technology, and office expenses. In recent years we have made or exceeded our fund raising goals, and that has allowed us to provide travel grants to Affiliates from around the world to attend MAC2017, to be hosted by the Guatemala chapter this November.
At this time, about half way into our appeal, we have received $10,000 toward our $22,000 budget goal. This is somewhat less than where we have been in recent years at this time. While I am confident that by November we will have met goal, at the same time it is important for all of us who have not already contributed what we are able to offer, to put the Affiliate appeal on our “to-do” list.
Thank you for your past and future support. Having served since 2009, this is my last report to you as Finance Committee Chair. Long-time Affiliate Manny Hotchkiss, Portland Chapter, is joining the board at our spring meeting and will assume Finance Committee Chair responsibilities. We welcome Manny and thank him for joining us.
Maryknoll is a movement that began over 100 years ago in the US and has since developed its missionary work throughout the world. This movement is made up of four expressions: Maryknoll Society of Priests and Brothers, Maryknoll Sisters, Maryknoll Lay Missioners and Maryknoll Affiliates. Even though the four expressions evolved at different moments in history and with specific mission focuses, we ask the question, what unites us?
About every other edition, the co-editors of NSFA ask me (I kiddingly claim with some arm-twisting going on) to consider writing an article. Sometimes they suggest a theme and provide leading questions to do so. Here are the fluffy-soft questions they came up with this time: What signs of hope do you see among us? How have we been connecting with the rest of Maryknoll? What is our biggest challenge? All any of us would need to effectively address these questions is a lifetime plus a few more weeks. Of course, these are very worthy questions for where we find ourselves today. With that in mind, and with unawareness of my limitations, some thought on those questions follows.