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Friday, 03 January 2020 04:54

Crossing Borders and Coming Together

Written by Manny Hotchkiss & Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss
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 Manny Hotchkiss and Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss – Portland Chapter

Most of the Northeast Florida Chapter

We are inspired and challenged whenever we come together with Affiliates. We try to contact Affiliate chapters or Maryknollers wherever we travel. The Hospitality List maintained by Bob Short shows that many Affiliates and Chapters welcome visitors. Recently, Mary and John Moritz in Jacksonville, Florida, arranged for us to join them and a couple from their chapter, Mary Morris Williams and Bryan Williams, for a casual dinner in the Moritz home.

In our conversation with them, we learned that notices in parish bulletins sometimes work because that’s how Mary Morris Williams first connected with the chapter. She even became chapter contact person for a couple years. Mary attended the 2014 Maryknoll Affiliate Conference in New York and hopes to attend MAC 2020. We loved hearing Mary and Bryan’s experiences in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on a Friends Across Borders immersion trip.

The Williamses enjoyed seeing the missions of the Maryknoll Lay Missioners and absorbing the culture of Brazil and Maryknoll. They have now signed up for a visit to El Salvador to meet more Lay Missioners and to see the sites of the martyrdoms of Romero and the Maryknoll Sisters—Ita Ford and Maura Clark. Their earlier contact with the marginalized came through Mary’s medical mission trip to Honduras and Bryan’s work as a mental health professional.

Mary and Bryan were also looking forward to their prison ministry work the next morning. Mary says, “It’s the best part of my week.” They provide a simple religious service of singing and presence to the male prisoners. Bryan plays music on a keyboard and has led a confirmation class at the prison. Mary also organizes a ministry at a women’s jail in which Mary Moritz participates. They are all gratified by the warm welcome they receive from the prisoners and the hunger those incarcerated have for their accepting presence. They are again crossing borders.

Mary and John Moritz talked about their Affiliate chapter’s many ministries and efforts. Their interesting meetings have included movie nights, a discussion led by a local priest friend on the clerical sexual abuse crisis, and a presentation on addictions (see page 10). They are planning a meeting dealing with suicides.

The chapter has had a four-day retreat at a local Trappist abbey and a recent day-long retreat. Visits from Maryknollers and Affiliates keep them well connected to Maryknoll. Mary Moritz was one of the organizers of the Maryknoll Chapter Companions program, and Fr. Bob Carleton, MM, is their chapter companion. John Moritz, an Affiliate Board member, frequently reads, shares, and writes about Orbis books. Mary is the Regional Coordinator for the southeast US.

Because of our short visit we have been inspired and feel heart-connected to these Affiliates who live across the country from us. We hope that they will also visit us and build a connection with our chapter. Meeting Affiliates across the country is easy using the Hospitality List facilitated by Bob Short.

 


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