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Friday, 29 June 2018 03:40

Active NE Ohio Chapter

Written by Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss
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Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss - NSFA Co-editor

Members of the NE Ohio chapter live near Cleveland and meet monthly in members’ homes. A couple members have retired, but most of them are still helping people on a daily basis in their professions as therapists, a nurse/yoga instructor, and a lawyer. They were quick to advocate for immigrants and refugees, gun control and concern about shootings, and the poor and hungry.

NE Ohio Chapter members meet with visiting Affiliates. Standing, l to r: Gerry Mullaney, Curt Alberti, Kathy Ress, Mike and Aileen McDonald; seated: Pam Cibik, and visitors Manny Hotchkiss and Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss.

Curt and Jan Alberti and Pam Cibik were in the recent massive March for Our Lives in Chicago. Pam insisted, “We’ve got to support the young people who are demanding safety and better gun control.”

Kathy Ress participated the Ecumenical Advocacy Day in Washington DC—co-sponsored by the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns—that addressed both immigration and gun control. (Watch for her article, “Advocacy for Immigrants,” in the next issue.) She participates in a local group that succeeded after eight months and thousands of dollars in legal and other fees, in having one man released from ICE detention. Her parish is discerning being a sanctuary church.

Kathy, who said, “This is a welcoming community,” decried the fact that the number of refugees that will be admitted nationally has been cut in half, reduced from about 100,000 in 2017 to only 50,000 for 2018. Recent refugees to the Cleveland area have come from Bhutan, Nepal, and Vietnam. Curt said he has provided legal assistance to refuges setting up businesses such as convenience stores. Pro bono legal work is easy for him to find.

Aileen McDonald talked of her and the chapter’s support of a program that provides hungry people morning coffee and snacks and a nutritious sack lunch. Two days a week a hot meal is offered. Some refugee families especially come for the groceries available one day a week.

Pam was concerned that many Catholics don’t know about Maryknoll and thought that Affiliates could address this. Chapter members have met their diocesan Director of Missions and hope to better connect him and the diocese with Maryknoll.

Since many in this chapter have made immersion trips, some with Friends Across Borders (FAB), organized by the Maryknoll Lay Missioners (See “Journey” on page 1), they also have relationships with many Maryknoll Lay Missioners, such as Dwayne Fernandes working in El Salvador, who recently visited the chapter and received their donation for his work. Gerry Mullaney emphasizes that the immersion trips have increased his global vision. The trips have “expanded my world. They give me another way to look at events. I have learned there is another perspective than those in the news or history books.”

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