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Wednesday, 29 June 2016 14:40

Spotlight on the Sacramento Chapter

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Patty Symkowick – Sacramento Chapter

Family Promise: (back row l to r) Bob Oceansak, Greg Wolfe, Kathy Ellis, Fred Rowe, Joe Symkowick. (front) Ann Carroll, Suzanne Christianson, Alice Rowe, Patty Symkowick and Dan Gilmour are working to provide a dinner for guests of Family Promise, a ministry which provides shelter, meals, and counseling for homeless families.

Our chapter began 14 years ago with six members. Two of us, Ernie Gillogley and Patty Symkowick, had traveled to Kenya with Maryknoll Friends Across Borders, where we learned about the Affiliate movement. When we returned we joined Kaz and Joan McFarland and Alma Paige who had been spending about three months every year in Thailand teaching English to Buddhist monks with Brother John Beeching, MM. Since some in our chapter were involved in the California State University, Sacramento, Newman Center, we recruited mainly from that community and opened our meetings to all who were interested in community, prayer, reflection, action, and global vision. Since that time we have grown to over 14 members. We have combined most of our activities with a very strong JustFaith Graduate community, and currently 19 people, most of them Maryknoll Affiliates, are participating in the JustFaith module on the Ecological Crisis.

 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. Several of our members volunteer at Loaves and Fishes, a ministry to the homeless that provides a free lunch every day. Also, many members have participated in the Get on the Bus program (see below) and Family Promise. We provide a meal and entertainment each time the Family Promise families stay for a week at a neighboring church. One of our members, Ernie, travels around the world with Habitat for Humanity helping people to build their own houses in third world countries.


Peggy Desmond (r) working with the books at Clara's House with a nurse practitioner.
Bob Link works in jail ministry two days each week.
Greg Wolfe washes pots every month at Loaves and Fishes, a ministry that feeds the homeless every day.

People from other parishes and other ministries have joined our chapter. Larry and Norma Niekamp have worked with Maryknoll and Bread for the World in Jamaica and Haiti and have been tireless in their involvement with Get on the Bus (an organization founded by a Catholic nun that brings children to visit their incarcerated parents on Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day). They are also active participants in the Maryknoll Deacon Initiative. Bob Link spends two full days a week in jail ministry, and his wife Nancy, a nutritionist, works every week at Clara’s House, a place where people who have no health insurance, mostly undocumented immigrants, can come for free health care. 

Ernie Gillogley working for Habitat For Humanity near Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He goes on a Habitat trip every year.
Nancy Link, a certified nutritionist, is giving a class on nutrition at Clara's House. Clara's House offers health care for those who cannot get it through regular channels. Many of the clients are undocumented immigrants.

 Perhaps our most “Maryknoll oriented” member is Julia Menard-Warwick, who volunteers with Maryknoll in Bolivia. She spent six weeks working with Maryknoll a couple of summers ago. Several of our members are considering a San Francisco Tenderloin immersion experience organized by Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. Many of us have traveled abroad for mission or immersions, but we also see the need to work locally as we have many homeless and needy people in Sacramento as well.

Get on the Bus: (back row) Bob Oceansak, Greg Wolfe, Joe Symkowick; (front) Patty Symkowick, Ann Carroll, Suzanne Christianson as they prepare for Get on the Bus, a program to help children visit their incarcerated parents. Not pictured are volunteers Ann Berb, Terry and Dennis Eckhart, and Larry and Norma Niekamp.

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