John Moritz – SE Regional Coordinator & Ann Carr – Board Chair
In the life of every Christian, after baptism there is also another “Galilee”, a more existential ‘Galilee’: the experience of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ who called me to follow him and to share in his mission. In this sense, returning to Galilee means treasuring in my heart the living memory of that call, when Jesus passed my way, gazed at me with mercy and asked me to follow him.—Pope Francis
As Holy Week approached, the Affiliate Board and Regional Coordinators (RCs) gathered for our annual joint meeting. This time embraced both the somberness of Lent and the joyous anticipation of Easter. Like the disciples returning to Galilee, we reflected on important moments of our history as a means of welcoming new Maryknoll entity members —Russ Feldmeier, MM, Norie Mojado, MM, and Teruko Ito, MM—to the Affiliate Board and our most recent Regional Coordinators—Jerrie Drinkwine and Patty Hinton. We also shared our hopes and dreams for the future of the Maryknoll Affiliates.
Opening session. Patty Symkowick led the Migrant’s Way of the Cross, a prayerful reminder that we are intimately connected to the crucified peoples of our modern world. Then, reflecting on our shared orientation to the Affiliate movement, we identified the core concepts that have shaped us as Affiliates. We are a movement rather than a program: an expression, not an entity of Maryknoll; a network of small mission communities that relates to all three entities; Chapters living out the four pillars with emphasis upon building relationships and promoting local mission. Our 24-year-old movement, influenced by challenges within and beyond Maryknoll, is growing more international, responding to the wider prophetic voices of our Church and world.
Latin American Trip. Executive Coordinator Bob Short and Board Latin American liaison’ Patty Barneond Garcia Tres, reported that on their December trip they were deeply moved by the Latin American Affiliates’ level of commitment to mission, communal life, and spirituality, as well as their incredible hospitality. Repeatedly, the Affiliates spoke of having been deeply influenced and formed by Maryknollers who have worked among them over the years and of their commitment to carrying on Maryknoll mission legacy.
Maryknoll Affiliate Conference (MAC). Convening the next MAC in Latin America had been suggested at MAC 2014, and the Guatemalan Chapter has offered to host MAC 2017. Some Board members explored this possibility with the Guatemalan Chapter, and many positive developments have emerged. The Board and RCs have gratefully and enthusiastically accepted Guatemala’s offering! Please stay tuned for more details.
New Chapters. We also moved to recognize two new Bolivian Chapters—Misión Vida (Cochabamba 2) and Renacer Misionero (Santa Cruz). To help us welcome these latest members of the Affiliate movement, you can send a message via Facebook at www.facebook.com/maryknollaffiliates or www.facebook.com/centromisioneromaryknoll (Spanish).
Asia. Russ Feldmeier, MM, told of his February visit with the Korean Affiliate Chapter and his participation in their covenant recommitment ceremony. Norie Mojado, MM, and Russ described their accompaniment during the Chapter’s formation history and were grateful to now bring the voice of the Asian Affiliates to our Board in a special way.
Formation. Reflecting on this wonderful growth, we felt an even greater need to help fulfill the regional coordinator’s aspirational job description. How do we strengthen regional connections? How do the RCs encourage and support this? The RCs shared their challenges and discoveries, noting the diversity of the regions, strategies for connecting and serving the Affiliate movement, and the essentially pastoral focus of their work. John Moritz commented on his ongoing work in formation and proposed that we consider a Maryknoll-wide resource center for formation materials.
Collaboration. Collaboration, within and beyond Maryknoll, has been an Affiliate priority for several years, but we are now being invited into collaboration within the Maryknoll family in a new way, as was strongly affirmed in the recent Society Chapter and Congregational General Assembly. We now have standing representation on the Maryknoll Joint Meeting of Leadership (JML). Affiliates have been invited to participate in such activities as the Maryknoll Sisters’ Mission Institute Planning Committee. And all four expressions of Maryknoll and the MOGC participate in the ongoing partnership with JustFaith.
Survey. We also finalized the Affiliate survey. Going out to all on May 1st, it will “take the pulse’’ of the Affiliate movement in order to discern together where the Spirit is leading us in this new moment.
New Board Member. Bill Murphy, a longstanding Boston Chapter Affiliate who brings a wealth of mission experience and is gifted in group discernment, was selected as the latest member of our Affiliate Board.
Building Community. Several activities nourished our bodies and spirits: We remembered Jim Madden, MM, in prayer at his gravesite. We socialized with the local Maryknollers, enjoying lively conversation and robust singing with Paul Masson, MM, and Bob Short on guitars. And we celebrated Palm Sunday with the Sisters, a sharing in the outpouring of the Spirit and at the Eucharistic table that led us into Holy Week.
At the close of our meeting, it was clear that we had spent important time together. We were grateful to learn more about the organic unfolding, along with the many challenges, of our Affiliate movement.
May we all be inspired by the words of Pope Francis and go back to our own Galilees.
May we open ourselves to the beauty of the resurrection in order to see the gift of mission fire that is very much alive in the Maryknoll Affiliates.