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.
Dan Driscoll-Shaw – Chicago Central Chapter
Maryknollers are experienced in immersing ourselves in another culture. Our Chicago Central Chapter recently helped seven Chinese priests and sisters immerse themselves in the best of our American culture, at least for a day. The Sunday before Thanksgiving, we invited them to share in our traditional Thanksgiving feast.
The Oceana Gold mining company, owner of the El Dorado mine, uses its deep pockets to influence politicians, coerce support in communities desperate for funds, and intimidate opponents. A decision on the legal future of the mine is now with the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a World Bank “court” in Washington, DC, far away from anyone who lives in the threatened areas of El Salvador.
Translated from “Hay miles de Esterellas en Bolivia,” which appeared in the October 2014 issue of No Tan Lejos del Horizonte.
Estrella (Spanish for Star) is a girl in the Educational Support Program of the Parish of Our Lady of La Salette in Cochabamba, Bolivia. She’s probably not one of the best students in her school. Sometimes it’s hard to motivate her when she has a task. One day in particular, she had to work on a project for Mother’s Day. As she made no progress, I tried to help her think with a question. “How are moms?” I asked. “Bad,” she said. I thought she was joking with her answer. So I told her to continue working and I would return later.
Catherine (Kitty) Madden – Affiliate
In Nicaragua’s Northern Highlands, since Casa Materna began in 1990, Maryknoll has been present through the Sisters, Fathers, Lay Missioners and later the Affiliates. This October 31st we celebrated the 24th anniversary of the Casa, and 23 years of service to over 17,000 rural mothers with high-risk pregnancies. To all of the Maryknoll family we give thanks for the many ways in which you have accompanied us, spiritually and financially, during these first 24 years.
Several challenging and grace-filled moments are currently shaping the life of the Affiliate movement: our June MAC 2014 conference, the recent Maryknoll Society Chapter, the Maryknoll Congregation General Assembly (GA), and world events ranging from tragic wars in Syria to the inspiring leadership of Pope Francis. Aware of these influences, the Affiliate Board gathered October 17-19 to engage in a process of visioning, direction setting, and needs assessment for the Affiliate movement. We want to listen deeply and create a process inviting all Affiliates to discern with us. Where and how do we see the Affiliate movement now? How are recent experiences shaping our future direction?
Around the world in 18 days! My wife, Denise, and I recently participated in the Maryknoll Lay Missioner’s Friends Across Borders (FAB) program in Cambodia.
”So, how was your trip?”—I find myself entertaining this question in my first weeks home. How do I capture the essence of this Cambodian FAB experience? How do I explain the transformation working inside me? After a chuckle—they don’t realize how loaded the question is—I exclaim, “It was great!” an accurate, though short, response. But if the questioner is interested, I’ll explain that the trip was a mission awareness experience and that we visited with a number of Maryknoll Lay Missioners, Sisters, and Fathers. I’ll highlight some of their various ministries, and provide some context to the plight of the Cambodian people, past and present. Often, I’ll mention my blog of each day’s activities. This response still doesn’t capture the richness of the experience, though.
I thank the Affiliates and our Board for the privilege of representing them at the General Assembly (GA) of the Maryknoll Sisters. 144 voting Sister Delegates came to set their directions and policies and to elect new leadership for the Congregation. Other official but non-voting participants included: Fr. Jack Sullivan – Society, Margaret (Peg) Vamosy – Lay Missioners, and Mary Elizabeth (Mef) Ford –Full Circle.
It is clear that Maryknoll’s role in God’s mission is, like many human endeavors in these times, arriving at a “profound historical turning point.” This phrase was used by Joe Holland in his presentation at the 2012 “Mission in the Future” symposium, held at Maryknoll, NY. The event was prepared by the four Maryknoll entities: the Affiliates, the Lay Missioners, the Fathers and Brothers, and the Maryknoll Sisters.
Two days before the People’s Climate March, I learned that groups were to meet at specific locations, such as religious groups at Columbus Circle. Riding there in a half-filled subway car, I was relieved to immediately see a Maryknoller! I didn’t see many more until the march started, when Beth Begley and I were trying to maintain a curbside seat.
The “biggest climate march in history” left Central Park and headed toward lower Manhattan and the NYC waterfront on 6th Avenue. Crowds watched and cheered us as we went by. It was hard to keep up with the banner-carrying Maryknollers, mostly priests. I saw Affiliates Margaret and Adel, with a group from their parish.
Greater Los Angeles and San Diego Chapter Affiliates became familiar with peace activist Fr. John Dear’s work while preparing to co-sponsor the 2010 Western Regional Affiliate Conference. Since Fr. John was our keynote speaker, both chapters began studying his latest book. He spoke passionately about following the non-violent Jesus and offered us the opportunity to take the vow of non-violence. Many of us continued studying his work and listened to his speeches when he spoke in our area.
You spoke and we hear you!
Thank you, media survey respondents. Looking at the results of the survey, we received some surprises, but in other cases our suspicions were confirmed. We weren’t surprised that most of you use email and that most chapters use email for their communications, but we were surprised that very few of you routinely go to Facebook.
The Maryknoll Affiliate Conference has been described as a gathering point for cultures, countries, and communities rooted in the Affiliate pillars—spirituality, community, global vision, and action—as well as by their affection for each other. We come together to encourage and strengthen ourselves in building a society of brothers and sisters that make present the the Good News of the Gospel here and now.
“I was a stranger, and you invited Me in.”
While Congress makes no progress on immigration reform, thousands of children from Central America are fleeing violence and poverty. Many of them make it to the U.S. and are detained by Immigration officers. So many children have come that a crisis has evolved in even housing them.
I was most impressed and very depressed, almost paralyzed, by the incomprehensible scale of the nuclear waste projects we saw this summer on our free tour* of the Hanford Site in southeastern Washington State. How can I respond to the massive waste, environmental destruction, and disrespect for life that permeates these projects and indeed our whole society?