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.
In early November, I participated in the Latin American Maryknoll Society’s Regional Assembly and Retreat. Also invited were Sr. Jane Buellesbach, representing the Maryknoll Sisters, and Sam Stanton and Fr. Bill Voss for the Lay Missioners. It was an especially positive meeting wherein Maryknoll hospitality, genuine collaboration and easy, unadorned camaraderie were manifestly present every day. We can’t know for sure if this was a foretaste of things to come within Maryknoll, but it was very encouraging.
Being Maryknoll Affiliates has connected us with peace-building, so we were primed for the new JustFaith module, Just Peacemaking. Karen Bortvedt, who was back home visiting her parents and recuperating from a broken foot, also joined the group.
Our chapter was blessed in November by a visit with Maryknoll Lay Missioners Kathy Bond and Flavio Rocha. We learned how they live in mission in Brazil and were inspired to find new ways to be missionaries in our own area. During and after a potluck dinner, they shared their experiences.
Kathy and Flavio are long-time Maryknoll Lay Missioners in Sao Paolo. Kathy has been a Lay Missioner for 20 years and Flavio for 10. Meeting in Brazil, Flavio’s native country, they married 13 years ago, and have a daughter, Maya, 8.
After arriving in Tanzania in early 2013, I began assisting at the Kirumba Vocational School at St. Joseph Parish, Mwanza, for teenagers who are not able to pursue further academic studies. They learn cookery, tailoring, knitting and embroidering, as well as hospitality, hotelier, and wait service, hoping these skills will help them get a job. Some students may intern as a hotel maid or wait staff person while continuing to take English and mathematics classes.
The Call to Action Conference (C2A) in Milwaukee was a profound renewal of our baptismal call.
From Nancy Sylvester’s pre-conference session on compassionate conversing, to Miriam Therese Winter’s final keynote reminding us that though we have to live institutionally, we must never think institutionally, we were challenged to remember, “We are the Church.” Therefore, although we can rejoice in the freshness of Pope Francis, it is we who will bring the changes we want to see in the church. There is no stopping the Holy Spirit if we will just align ourselves with her.
Like many Affiliates, I have an indelible memory of hearing that President Kennedy had been shot. On November 22, 2013, in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of Kennedy's assassination, we and people across the country, including some at the SOA Watch Vigil in Columbus GA, attended Readers Theater performances of Project Unspeakable. ProjectUnspeakable.org was inspired by the Orbis hardcover book, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, by James W. Douglass.
Special Prayer Request
Fr. Jim Madden, who founded the Maryknoll Affiliate Movement with Sr. Ellen McDonald, has notified us that he has cancer and asks for our prayers. Father Jim has remained in close contact with the Affiliate family since stepping down from his leadership position and has continued to offer support to us on many, many levels. It is difficult to find the words to express our gratitude to Jim or our concern in learning of this diagnosis. Our thoughts and our prayers are with you, Father Jim, throughout this time.
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Share Your Skills?
Order this one now! (By L. Susan Slavin and Coralis Salvador, Orbis, 2013.) And while you’re at it, order copies for your family and friends! You’ll want to share it without losing your copy.