Remembering Berrigan: Priest, Poet, and Prophet
Fr. Daniel Berrigan, SJ, died on April 30th. He had taught theology at Le Moyne College and Fordham University, New York, and was known for opposing the Vietnam War and later criticizing US nuclear policy. The Washington County, OR, Peace Vigil noted his passing and honors him by continuing his work for peace and nonviolence. Peace Vigil participants included Mary and Manny Hotchkiss, Barbara LaCombe, and Gerald Osacho of Holy Trinity Parish.
This spring, Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, www.splcenter.org, surveyed approximately 2,000 teachers, asking them how the presidential campaign was affecting their students and their teaching. The results indicated that the campaign is having a profoundly negative impact on schoolchildren across the country, producing an alarming level of fear and anxiety among children of color and inflaming racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom. The full report and survey responses are at www.tolerance.org/.
As Affiliates, many of us have found ways to answer the call of Maryknoll—“to welcome the stranger and to walk with the people.” Members of the Sisters, Fathers and Brothers, and Lay Missioners often answer this call in the “field afar,” whereas most of us find the stranger, the deprived, the needy and lonely right here among us. Sometimes our answer to the call is short-term, like teaching English to new immigrants who then move on to self-sufficiency. Sometimes it’s visiting the incarcerated or working in a food pantry or offering rides to those without transportation.
Whatever form our answer to this call takes, it is a special way of accompaniment. Kitty Madden, whom many of us know and support, calls accompaniment a “bridging work.” For the past 30 years, she has been a bridge between Nicaraguan women who need care in their pregnancies and friends in the North who help her in this work by financially supporting Casa Materna or, as some Affiliates have done, by going to Nicaragua on short-term mission. Imagine the power of the accompaniment that has been given to over 17,000 mothers since the beginnings of this outreach.
On May 7, the Northeast Florida Maryknoll Affiliates, in collaboration with the Society’s mission education efforts, were happy to host a day of reflection on the encyclical, Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home. Maryknoll Mission Educator Matt Rousso led the day of reflection. He and his wife, Janet, long-time Maryknoll Affiliates, traveled from New Orleans for this special program.
At dinner the night before, where Matt and Janet informally met with our Chapter members, we discussed practical ways to be better stewards of the earth and its resources, including steps as simple as using real plates vs. paper ones (we used real!). Matt and Janet shared how they had invested in solar power for their home as a result of their concern for the environment.
Sixteen of us, both Affiliates and guests from the local community, gathered for the Saturday program. We invited our guests to consider joining us for a future Affiliate meeting and have heard from three of them that they plan to do so.
Fr. Ed Shellito, MM, introduced Matt and his important topic, and Matt began by talking about how Laudato Si differs from other encyclicals. He noted that the Pope used everyday (vs. “Churchified”) language. Also, the encyclical is addressed to every person living on this planet, whereas the first encyclical of Pope Francis had been addressed to all the members of the Church. Matt pointed out that Pope Francis was only the latest Pope to speak about the need to take care of our planet—we can hope that the message is finally being heard more widely.
One important point is the harmful effect that climate change has on the poor. For example, the poor are much more likely to lack clean water than are people of means. Matt said his mission trips to Guatemala have shown him firsthand that many people there lack clean water. Closer to home, the water challenges in the city of Flint, Michigan, came up in our discussion.
We watched the video, “The Gospel of Creation” and a short video on Pope Francis’s February Prayer Intention. The Pope reminded us that the earth is our common heritage and that we should become free of “the slavery of consumerism.” The Pope made a special prayer request: “That we may take good care of creation, cultivating and protecting it for future generations.”
As an older person and a grandmother, a compelling question for me was, “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us?” In our discussion, one person said he felt the need to re-dedicate himself to ecological educational efforts, and another shared her desire to become free of an excessive need to shop.
We were left with much to ponder about the conversion to which God is calling us. We are very grateful to Matt, who was God’s instrument and enriched us by his willingness to share his understanding of Laudato Si with us.
On a pleasant May weekend, Affiliates from the Albany Chapter visited the Maryknoll Sisters in Ossining. The occasion was a presentation and discussion led by Archbishop Michael L. Fitzgerald, a Missionary of Africa and one of the leading experts on Islam, Muslim-Christian relations and Interreligious dialogue among the senior hierarchy of the Catholic Church. Previously the head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Archbishop Fitzgerald has been the papal nuncio to Egypt and a delegate to the Arab League.
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.
What’s it going to take for different cultures/faith traditions to co-exist peacefully?
What’s it going to take for people to get past their biases and fears of the “other,” to accept and live peacefully with each other? Participants may have found one answer in a JustFaith Ministries eight-week study, The Sultan and the Saint: Muslims and Christians Working Together for the Common Good, based on a book by that name. The springboard was a meeting between St. Francis of Assisi and the Sultan around 1219, during the Fifth Crusade.
The Guatemala Maryknoll Affiliates Chapter cordially invites you to the Verbo Encarnado Retreat Center (www.verboencarnado.com.gt). in Guatemala from November 9-12, 2017, for MAC 2017.
For the first time ever, our global vision takes us outside the US for the international Maryknoll Affiliate Conference (MAC).
Long ago, I responded to that call to mission, not sure of what I had to offer but eager to try. As so many missioners discovered, what we had to offer paled in comparison to what we received. And so it was that I spent nine years in Tanzania learning what it means to be in dialogue and community with those whose experience of God was different from mine but no less grounded in the Divine, people whose life struggles were so very immediate, and whose culture was so rich in affirming one’s connection to and sense of belonging in community.
My life’s journey then shifted from religious to married life, but never did I, or my husband, doubt that call to mission. I was blessed to continue service in partnership with Africans in their local communities through the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). This Catholic learned so much from the Peace Testimony of Quakers openly and courageously responding and giving voice to communities ravaged by civil wars and the lack of basic necessities, nearly forgotten by the world community.
At a recent meeting, the New Jersey Affiliate Chapter explored what might be an Affiliate’s response to the present political climate, and ways to elevate the level of discourse. As people of faith and hope, imbued with the values of Maryknoll, what can we offer?
Our small group listed the concerns that are most pressing to us:
It had to happen! With about forty respondents to the Book Group invitation, multiple discussion groups became necessary. The organizing team of Bob Short, Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss, and Paula Schaffner offered several options, and participants were grouped by choosing their preferred meeting time. The first meetings of the resulting Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday groups, via telephone conference calls, occurred starting June 20th. As of July 1, most groups will have discussed Chapter 1 of Ilia Delio’s Making All Things New.
If you can’t participate in a Book Group, you could read the book on your own or with your chapter and see the updates and comments on the Maryknoll Affiliates’ Facebook page. You could even add your own comments on Facebook.
The New Orleans Chapter of Maryknoll Affiliates invites all Affiliates to their Regional Conference! Spend a weekend on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain with fellow Affiliates and other Maryknollers. Hear and discuss the messages of the keynote speakers:
Affiliate Kathee Bautista spoke with one of our NSFA editors about what makes the Los Angeles Chapter tick. For them, collaboration is the key to powerful action.
Catholic Youth Organizations. A number of Affiliates have worked with Tijuana Mission Outreach, which hosts high school students who experience mission and make heart connections with the locals. They have also joined families from various high schools and other groups in an Epiphany Outreach, collecting needed items for impoverished families served through the San Eugenio Mission in Tijuana.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels sponsors the Adopt-a-Family—LA Affiliates contribute to this program both financially and through their volunteer work.
The Contra Costa County (CCC) Maryknoll Affiliates meet periodically, and they attended a quick dinner meeting in Walnut Creek, CA, to visit with my husband Manny Hotchkiss and me.
Herb Casey, a deacon at nearby St. John Vianney parish, and his wife, Peggy, are both volunteer mission promoters for the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. They work out of the Western Regional Maryknoll office in San Lorenzo, CA. The CCC Affiliates and the local parish share a strong social concerns orientation. The Caseys said they were fortunate to participate in a number of immersion trips; the latest was to Jamaica in May of 2015, which touched their hearts. (See "Our Jamaican Immersion Trip – 2015")
We also met other members of the CCC Affiliate Chapter, including Monica Gallicho, who described herself as a lifetime Maryknoll Magazine reader and Maryknoll supporter. She and her daughter, Mimi Gallicho, enjoy mission talks at the nearby Maryknoll House at San Lorenzo and have attended the massive LA Religious Education Congress in Anaheim, CA.
Herb noted that their members miss hearing of and supporting the mission experiences of the three Maryknoll Sisters who had participated in their group. Because of age or medical issues, the sisters have retired to Maryknoll at Ossining, NY, or Monrovia, CA.
Deacon Gustavo Escruceria, and his wife Vickie, along with Doris DeSilva and Vickie Lizarrga, are also members of the CCC Maryknoll Affiliate Chapter but were not able to attend that evening. Their South American connections help provide the group with a Global Vision. This Affiliate community supports one another as they develop their missionary spirit and serve the poor.