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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You may also download PDF versions of Not So Far Afield here.
While California Central Coast (CCC) Affiliates share a potluck meal, they talk of their passions and missions. Affiliate Joan Bogle worked with the Alzheimer Association and helped lobby for successful legislation that secured funding for related programs. By facilitating a small Alzheimer support group, she repaid the support she received when her husband was suffering with Alzheimers and she was his sole caregiver. Now she looks for ways to involve the Senior Adult Ministry of her parish in mission.
Joyce Miller’s passion is the Montessori preschool she and her husband founded 35 years ago. She was happy to hear that the Maryknoll Sisters in Tanzania were involved in a Montessori school. Over the years she and her husband have also helped raise thousands of dollars for Alpha, a right-to-life organization that counsels pregnant women and supports mothers.
Easy Meeting: Family – The Affiliate Community – The Kin-dom of God
(To reprint this Easy Meeting on two pages, go to the Download: Not So Far Afield – Supplemental Material – 2016 09 10 Easy Meeting.)
Begin by reading “Family of God” (Maryknoll Book of Prayer, page 18):
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”—John 13:34-35
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts. … If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is part of it.-—1 Corinthinians 12:12, 26-27
Nothing can separate us from the love of God and nothing can separate us from each other. We are made in the image and likeness of God.
Prayer begins with the awesome recognition of our oneness with God. It continues with the realization of our unity with each other. We are all members of one family—the family of God. Let us Pray.
Read the articles mentioned below from the September/October 2016 NSFA, and consider these questions:
1. Compare your experience of family with that in the article from NTLH, “Family in Guatemala.”
3. How does your Affiliate community prefigure the Kin-dom of God?
Close with the prayer, “God made us a family” (Maryknoll Book of Prayer, page 19):
God made us a family
We need one another
We love one another
We forgive one another
We work together
We play together
We worship together
Together we use God’s word
Together we grow in Christ
Together we love all people
Together we serve our God
Together we hope for Heaven
These are our hopes and ideals.
Help us to attain them, O God,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
—Florence Sossong, Pittsburgh, PA
Two simple questions were answered by family members from age three through adult of both genders, some members of Affiliates families: What is family for you? What do you most enjoy doing with your family? Their responses confirmed that love and care are essential elements for families of hope in a society.
Just as a plant needs love and care to develop in all its splendor, in families, love and care are the seeds necessary to the growth of a person capable of critical thinking, integrated, always seeking freedom for self and others, and in the future able to project the love and care they receive.
Here is a sampling of the responses*:
Hearing other Affiliate Chapters share...
What is a Maryknoll Affiliate?
Being an Affiliate member...
I got to thinking about talking points for the questions,
• Why I should be a Maryknoll Affiliate?
• Why I should form an Affiliate Chapter?”
I asked my Chapter in North Texas (Dallas/Fort Worth area), and they came up with the following talking points.
At a Friends of Sabeel (FOSNA.org) Leadership Conference this July in Portland, Oregon, we were happy to see that Sabeel, the voice of the Palestinian Christians, intersects with Maryknoll. Naim Ateek, an Episcopal priest from Nazareth, founded the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem over 25 years ago. Orbis has published several of his books: Faith and the Intifada: Palestinian Christian Voices was published in 1992; Justice and Only Justice, and A Palestinian Christian Cry For Reconciliation discuss liberation theology as it pertains to Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
Participants in the first Maryknoll Affiliate Book Group session this summer replied to a survey sent by Executive Coordinator Bob Short, giving feedback about their positive experiences and making some suggestions. Some participants would prefer being in a smaller group or meeting at another time. Smaller groups could allow more time choices.
Gabriella Maertens wrote: “I wondered how a book club by phone could work. I agreed before I received the book and then I wondered how we could discuss such a difficult book—Making All Things New. But I have been really happy with the group discussions that have taken place and impressed with the insights of our group. I look forward to “seeing” everyone each week.”
As a Maryknoll Lay Missioner, Bertha Haas founded the Huruma School for children with disabilities in Mwanza, Tanzania in 2004. Now, in her retirement, she spends about a month each year at the school, reconnecting with the teachers and children, working with the Tanzanian Board that oversees the school, seeing the progress, and dreaming with them about the future.
To welcome Bertha home, the Portland Maryknoll Affiliate Chapter hosted a fund-raiser party complete with an African music group. Supporting the Huruma School is an important outreach for the chapter.
Stored Value Cards, Inc., doing business as Numi Financial, targets county jails. In an August 2016 article, Arun Gupta noted that Numi contracts with counties to provide debit cards to return inmates’ money upon their release. (https://www.thenation.com/article/the-financial-firm-that-cornered-the-market-on-jails/)
In 2013, over 11 million people were released from county jails, making it a preferred market. The problem is that over 80 percent of the Numi debit cards end up paying onerous fees. The article states, “The terms for the card used in Multnomah County (Oregon) lists 11 possible fees—the $5.95 monthly fee, a $2.95 fee for ATM withdrawals, $0.95 for a declined transaction, $1 to check the balance, and $9.95 to have the balance refunded by check.”
An estimated 30 percent of the debit cards holding released prisoners’ own money are never used and are completely consumed by the fees. Inmates who may be deported by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) suffer additional problems with the cards due to English-only written directions and customer service and higher international fees. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Electronic Funds Transfer Act do not cover this type of cards.
Numi Financial and similar companies should also be targeted by campaigns against for-profit prisons and the exploitive jail telephone systems.
Ten men clamber out of the creaking van,
Their sweaty bodies meeting a kiss
Of cool night air.
They drift, silently, sullenly
Toward the darkened church.
Mattresses lie, two or three to a room,
Along walls decorated with children’s
Drawings and almost casual crucifixions.
Carl, Eddie, Jake and the others
Throw their worn packs and bags
Onto the makeshift beds, and John,
It’s always John, is first to ask
If he can have his sack lunch now,
Not in the morning as we had planned.
“Sure,” I say, almost as anxious as he
To assuage this remediable hunger.
Several echo John, and soon all
Are feasting on pb and j; apples, celery,
And other healthy fare remains on the table,
But they’re happier now, even communicative.
One thanks me for setting a new pair of white socks
On each mattress. Another offers a juice cup
To a friend. “Lights out!” Rick calls at ten,
And no one argues, no one hesitates. Sleep
Knits once more the raveled sleeve of care,
Obliterates the hurt, soothes the jangled nerves.
Tomorrow will be another day,
Another cheerless day embroidered
With small triumphs, fragile dreams.
Every page of this book contains inspiring revelations about the Christian call to peace and nonviolence. The book’s key points are:
Rynne describes a theology based on the life and teachings of Jesus, one that puts the just war theory in its appropriate subordinate place. “Just war theorists too often engage when war is looming…blissfully unaware of the larger and broader task to cultivate a peaceful world.” Rynne quotes Pope Benedict XVI, who described nonviolence for Christians as “not a mere tactical behavior but a person’s way of being ... [a person] who is not afraid to confront evil with the weapons of love or truth alone.”
The book quotes ancient and modern writers and has an extensive bibliography and index. Jesus Christ Peacemaker would be ideal for a book club.
What issues should the Maryknoll Affiliate Board discuss? What actions do you recommend?
What do Laudato Si, BDS, and No to Gun Violence have in common? They are the nonviolent themes of some Campaign Nonviolence actions, Sept. 18 to 25, 2016. What issues in your community could you or your chapter address during the campaign? See hundreds of planned actions at http://www.paceebene.org/programs/campaign-nonviolence/campaign-nonviolence-week-of-actions/
on Nonviolence and Just Peace!
Saturday, September 24, 2016
The major presenter, Marie Dennis, Co-President of Pax Christi International, is a former director of the Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns. She helped to organize the recent Vatican Conference on Nonviolence and Peacemaking.
Sponsors include JustFaith local leadership, Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center (ipjc.org), local Pax Christi groups, and the Missions Office of the Archdiocese of Seattle.
It seems many people are accepting a negative political and international atmosphere that leads to fear, prejudice, and withdrawal. In contrast, several Affiliates have provided articles for this issue which highlight their efforts to move towards wholeness. Their positive ideas, advocating for peace and nonviolence, having environmental discussions, participating in interfaith groups, and performing service work are all in the direction of wholeness.
The Maryknoll Affiliate Book Group is reading Ilia Delio’s book which discusses wholemaking. In an article in this issue Lenore Smith-Aman asks, “Since we are connected to each other as Affiliates, how can we consciously and creatively work to transform the present political climate from extreme divisiveness to wholeness?”
Affiliates Work for Wholeness – "As people of faith and hope, imbued with the values of Maryknoll, what can we offer?"—Lenore Smith-Aman
Book Group Divides – "It’s exciting to have this opportunity to build community among far-flung Affiliates and other Maryknollers as well."—Paula Schaffner
Calls to Mission – "As a member of the Maryknoll Affiliate Leadership Board, I invite you to consider accepting our call to serve on the Board."—Mary Massaro
You’re All Invited – "For the first time ever, our global vision takes us outside the US for our international Maryknoll Affiliate Conference (MAC). "—Rosa Beatriz Castañeda de Larios
On the Sultan and the Saint – "There are no barriers except those we put up ourselves."—Penny Robinson
Spotlight on the Sacramento Chapter – "We do not have any one project that all of our members are involved in, but individuals participate in many ministries throughout Sacramento and the world."—Patty Symkowick
Albany Chapter Event – "On a pleasant May weekend, Affiliates from the Albany Chapter visited the Maryknoll Sisters in Ossining."
Laudato Si: Care for our Common Home—A Day of Reflection – "As an older person and a grandmother, a compelling question for me was, “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us?”—Mary Moritz
A Mission of Accompaniment – "The theology of accompaniment doesn’t require any grandiosity."—Kris Neufeld
Are You a Teacher? – Southern Poverty Law Center surveyed approximately 2,000 teachers, asking them how the presidential campaign was affecting their students and their teaching.
Remembering Kerrigan: Priest, Poet, and Prophet – The Washington County, Oregon, Peace Vigil noted his passing and honors him by continuing his work for peace and nonviolence.
Calling All United States Christians – We hope that you will read the statement carefully and join those who have already signed their names.
Nonviolence Conference – Nonviolence and Just Peace, a new global initiative launched at the conference, reaffirms the centrality of active nonviolence to the vision and message of Jesus...
Notices – Conference, Guatemala Immersion Trip, and more!
South Central Region Affiliate Conference
New Orleans - September 30 to October 2, 2016
Registration for the upcoming Maryknoll Mission Immersion Program in Guatemala, October 9 - 17, closes on August 15th.
Check Guatemala Immersion for full information.
Has your chapter planned an action for Campaign Nonviolence week, September 18-25? In the past, several chapters have joined the hundreds of other groups around the world who take action nonviolently to abolish war, end poverty, reverse climate change, and challenge all violence. See http://www.paceebene.org/ for ideas or to find a local action to join.
The Mission Institute offers six-day programs (Sunday-Friday) May-October, 2016. Upcoming programs:
July 10-15 Robert Ellsberg, MA
Saints, Prophets and Witnesses for Our Time will challenge us to think more creatively about being faithful and active in our own historical context.
July 17-22 Maria Teresa Davila, PhD
Embodying the Option for the Poor explores the theological insights in the context from which the phrase sprang and in our current contexts.
July 24-29 John F. Haught, PhD
Religion and the Cosmic Story: A Look Inside studies the new framework for understanding our species’ ageless religious quest, in conversation with both Christian Theology and contemporary scientific naturalism.
Sept. 25-30 in Monrovia, CA and Oct. 3-6 in Los Altos, CA: Margaret Silf, MA
Living God’s Dream
Online registration is available, or write for forms:
Maryknoll Mission Institute, Maryknoll Sisters
P.O Box 311, Maryknoll, NY 10545-0311
Tel: 914-941-7575 @ 5671
Emusoi Center in Arusha, Tanzania (http://emusoicentre.co.tz/), founded by Sr. Mary Vertucci MM, continues to help Maasai girls get an education and delay marriage and child-bearing until they’re ready, but needs scholarships for fees and books for secondary school and college. Donations should be sent through the Maryknoll Sisters.
Caminando Por La Paz – Guatemala (http://www.caminandogua.org/) needs angels! $500/year or $50/month supports the education of one student. Angels receive periodic information from the student they sponsor. Your contributions in any amount will assist greatly in Caminando’s efforts to continue the wonderful work initiated by founder Father Thomas Goekler, MM.