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Articles (271)

Friday, 29 June 2018 03:55

This Land is Your Land

Written by

Tom Hastings – Portland, OR

*Abridged from Tom Hastings’ post at HastingsNonviolence.blogspot.com/2017/10/this-land-is-your-land.htmlTom H. Hastings teaches Conflict Resolution at Portland State University and directs Oregon Peace Institute’s  program, PeaceVoice.

I traveled to North Dakota to join others in supporting a gentle man who tried to help everyone. For that, he was convicted of several crimes and will be heading to a North Dakota prison.

Michael Foster was born and raised in Texas, in an oil family. His crime in North Dakota was turning off the Keystone pipeline in a symbolic but real call to all of us to do what we can to stop global climate chaos.

That North Dakota valve turn was one of five similar actions last October—two women, three men, five valves on lines in Washington, Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota, all done in resonance with the Break Free from Fossil Fuels campaign.

We see the consequences of paying no attention to our oil consumption: Harvey drowns Houston, fires rip through the West, every hurricane is more intense than it otherwise would be, droughts last longer, lakes are drying up, the seas are rising and surging, and, with fracking, even earthquakes are no longer a pure act of God. Most previously natural disasters are now unnatural disasters, made worse by our hand more than the hand of God or Mother Nature.

Friday, 29 June 2018 03:40

Active NE Ohio Chapter

Written by

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.

Friday, 29 June 2018 03:12

North Carolina Chapter

Written by

Gloria Tan – Santa Maria Chapter, Wilmington

Santa Maria Chapter of Wilmingtron Affiliates, with Chapter Coordinator Gloria Tan, front row far left, and visitor Gail Kelley in front row, third from left.

The Affiliates of Santa Maria in Wilmington, NC, are currently involved in many activities. We prepare lunches for needy people who have no homes and we work together to help families in need by dispensing basic necessties. At the same time, we continue taking Communion to the Hispanics we find in the New Hanover Hospital. Here in Wilmington, we pray the rosary before Mass and attend the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament once a month. Blessings from all of our Chapter.

Gail Kelley adds that she has been invited to attend all the Wilmington Chapter meetings and made it to a recent meeting. She explains that Gloria Tan was the Chapter Coordinator for many years and attended an Affiliate conference with her. Since Gail accompanied the Spanish-speaking Wilmington Chapter during their first orientation, Gloria asked her to give a review orientation, which will happen soon, because only three of their current active membership participated in the first orientation.

 

Thursday, 28 June 2018 20:10

Doing Mission in the 21st Century

Written by

Ron Covey – Houston Chapter

Maryknoll Affiliate groups and Parish entities have been asking what it means to do mission in the modern day. Much has been said in recent years at Affiliate gatherings about the Third Wave, agreeing that we are in a new age of mission. There was a time when mission was the special domain of those in religious life. Bishop James E. Walsh of the North American Mission Society, better known as Maryknoll, once said, “To be a missioner is to go where you are needed but not wanted and to stay until you are wanted but not needed.” Pope Francis has called upon the church to begin a new chapter in evangelization; writing in Evangeli Gaudium, he reiterates the basic reality that we are all called to mission by virtue of our baptism. Thus, we must continue to go where we are needed—at home or abroad; perhaps wanted, perhaps not.

There are as many ways of doing mission as there are baptized individuals.

How do we do this? I believe the answer is personal and that many people are doing mission and not realizing it! My prime example of this is those who volunteer in our local parishes, working in the food pantries, teaching CCD, etc. If that’s not mission, nothing is.

Affiliate and Caminando por La Paz worker Carlos Miranda and his son visit with Ron Covey, right.

Participants brought their personal symbols of balance to illustrate the Northeast Regional Meeting’s theme. Holding the Maryknoll Affiliate meeting on Earth Day, April 21, provided an extra dimension, as did welcoming several members of the newest Affiliate Chapter from Springfield, MA. Over 50 people attended, including the Affiliate Board, with 15 chapters represented.

A short tai chi session helped balance the day.

After an opening song and prayer for the Earth, Sr. Norie Mojada, MM, presented a brief review of Theory U from the Presencing Institute (www.presencing.org/#/aboutus/theory-u). About 25,000 people, including some Affiliates, had studied Theory U in an on-line course in 2015, and the Maryknoll Sisters are using the concept to aid in evolving their community. Theory U is a process which helps users open their mind, heart, and will to accept new input and let the future emerge.

Quoting Liz Sweeney, SSJ, who wrote on a model for communal discernment through contemplative dialogue (Summer 2014 LCWR Occasional Papers – see https://lcwr.org/item/summer-2014-discernment), Sr. Norie stressed the importance of contemplation and contemplative dialog to help us stay open to input from others and to listen with our hearts.

The Affiliate Board were introduced and answered Affiliates’ questions.

In small groups we examined and shared our individual spirituality as Affiliates. Many mentioned their connection with the earth and all its creatures, social activism, and an appreciation for an evolutionary consciousness. We discussed what each of us saw as Maryknoll spirituality: including global vision, care for creation, respect for other faith traditions, and especially hospitality.

In discussing their chapter’s balance of the four pillars, Affiliates said their chapter provides a community, nurturing them in ways their parish community does not. The Affiliate pillar of Global Vision was also very important. Every group emphasized Spirituality, but there was a lot of discussion about Action. Affiliates are very active, but chapters don’t usually have a project they all work on. Several groups thought that if their chapter had one project that they all worked on, it would help unify and animate their chapter.

After saying Mass, Fr. Russ Feldmeier, MM, helped us close the day, praying for several who would soon have operations and sending our blessings to all those we carry in our hearts.

An evening social hour allowed further conversations and reflection.
Monday, 25 June 2018 00:53

Ministry to Detainees in Washington

Written by

Pat Bader – Seattle Chapter

In early January 2013, I toured the Northwest Detention Center, one of the largest in the US (capacity 1,575 detainees), with a group of people interested in visiting detainees who have no family or friends in the area. The NW Detention Center, a for-profit facility, is located in the industrial area of Tacoma, WA, without any public transportation or services. It is operated by GEO Group (NYSE symbol GEO) under contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), under the Department of Homeland Security.

A not-for-profit organization, Advocates for Immigrant in Detention Northwest (www.aidnw.org), located in Tacoma, trains volunteer visitors and assigns a detainee whom they visit frequently until the detainee is released or deported. Other not-for-profit organizations also have programs for visiting detainees at NW Detention Center.

Monday, 25 June 2018 00:46

Petaluma Affiliates on a Mission

Written by

Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss – Portland Chapter

Several of the North Bay Affiliates had been on mission in southeast Asia. Now their mission not so far afield is helping a Haitian refugee family in California. Last November, the NSFA told about Bob and Nancy McFarland being willing to open their home to a refugee family.

Nancy and Bob had begun to work with a rapid response team to help undocumented immigrants. One family who fled Haiti for their safety had traveled through many countries before reaching California. They learned that this family of four—a father, his wife who was 9 months pregnant, and their 2- and 4-year-old children—was sleeping on half of the living room floor of someone else’s apartment. Even though the McFarlands had health concerns and would soon be traveling to the 2017 MAC in Guatemala, they had a spare bedroom and could not refuse to help.

The McFarlands’ cautious “Yes” was echoed throughout the community. They were gratified when 17 of their associates immediately volunteered to help materially and with transportation. The father, Jean, spoke to another faith community that collected $1,800 to help the family pay expenses. Another Affiliate gave a car he could no longer use to the family. Now Jean has passed his written driver’s test but not yet the actual driving test allowing him to use the car he’s been given.

The family is applying for asylum because of the violence they experienced which forced them to flee Haiti. Although lawyers volunteered some of their time, the asylum application will still cost about $5,000. Affiliates transported and accompanied the family to the immigration hearing, carrying the 25 pounds of paper applications for the 4 refugees.

“A healthy baby was born to the family and it was like a real Christmas story. Jesus was a refugee,” Nancy reminisced.

The community has come together to support the family of five. That evening during our pot luck dinner, Bob took a phone call and made a quick exit to drive Jean to his new job.

Helping the refugees has reinvigorated this Affiliate chapter. Their presentation last fall about immigration issues at a local parish has attracted several new members. They have connected with other organizations who are also concerned about immigrants and refugees. These Affiliates remember their immigrant roots and eagerly share their love, time, and energy.

Monday, 25 June 2018 00:42

South Korea Meeting Notes

Written by

Fr. Russ Feldmeier, MM – Maryknoll Affiliate Board

The Korea Affiliates held their monthly meeting on April 7, 2018, at the Maryknoll Sisters’ residence in Seoul. Fifteen members, including two newcomers, spent the afternoon sharing on their personal lives and actions since the last meeting a month ago. Russ Feldmeier attended and presided at Mass.  

The questions below were used as a framework for the sharing:

  1. How, as a Maryknoll family, can we better understand the needs of the people we are called to serve?
  2. What are essential values needed for a Maryknoll family?
  3. What do we need within ourselves to ignite the magic within the Maryknoll family?
  4. How does our personal spirituality contribute toward building the Maryknoll family?
Fr. Russ and Francesca Yang, Chapter Coordinator, on right, with two Affiliates

They had a wide-ranging discussion. One person talked about the need to listen to the people we serve. He works with youth at Sogang University, a Jesuit University in Seoul, and facilitates pilgrimages and other programs. Others spoke of the value of the Maryknoll family and the way Maryknoll missioners in Korea influenced them. In general, they talked about the value of the Affiliate chapter where we can all meet and which helps us to grow. Since this was right after Easter, they talked about the Paschal Mystery of new life even through suffering.

The hot issue for the day was the #MeToo movement, which has had a powerful impact in Korea recently.  It has been an opportunity for Koreans to deal with the patriarchal aspect of Korean society, and a number of the Affiliates shared on the impact it has been having on their own lives and on the society at large. 

There was a great deal of energy at the meeting, and the sharing was rich.

Monday, 25 June 2018 00:39

The Good Samaritan in Mission

Written by

Bertha Haas – Portland Chapter

A friend asked Bertha, a Maryknoll Lay Missioner in Tanzania for many years, how Tanzanians interpret the Good Samaritan story. Seeing her answer as relevant to all in mission, she shares her thoughts with us.

It is an immense challenge for missioners to respond appropriately to cultures that we don’t fully understand or appreciate. This challenge is acute for short-term missioners but affects all. I was particularly sensitive to the priests who had served in Tanzania for decades but who had derived their understanding of the culture from men.

This question evoked many memories for me. The interpretation that to Tanzanians, “my neighbor is whoever helps me,” rather than “whoever needs help,” is understandable. Colonial experience impressed on Tanzanians the self-image of helplessness, neediness, and dependence on foreigners. Though they spontaneously reach out to each other without even thinking about it, there’s a difference between how Tanzanians relate to each other and how they view themselves in relation to the rest of the world.

My Good Samaritan story: Just after an RCIA class focusing on the Good Samaritan parable, my class and I encountered an old woman passed out in a drunken stupor on the street outside the church. Having just pondered the parable, we couldn’t rightly just pass by. Because everyone else knew the woman and her history, passersby just laughed and went on their way. The Tanzanian catechist offered no solution to the situation. So, several of my young adult students stayed with her while I walked the five blocks to my home to get my car. On my return, the students lifted the lady into my car. I drove to the trail that led up to her home and the students carried her up the steep hill to her home. 

I don’t recall that we discussed this encounter during our next class, but I still distinctly remember the event. Had I not been the class facilitator, I fear I would have joined the passersby and gone on home without intervening. I still worry that by getting my car, I again taught that Tanzanians are dependent on outside help, that they are excused from helping.

What do you think a missioner should do in this situation?

Monday, 25 June 2018 00:35

Connecting in Anaheim

Written by

Wherever two or three are gathered...

The Los Angeles Religious Education Congress in Anaheim is a unique annual gathering of 30,000 enthusiastic Catholics, including Maryknollers. Weeks in advance, Hugh Menton, Regional Coordinator for California chapters, invited other Affiliates to join the Los Angeles Maryknoll Affiliates at the Maryknoll booth and have lunch together on Saturday of the Congress.

Tim Moffett and Kathee Bautista from the LA Chapter visited at the booth. The last issue the NSFA reported on their lunch meeting in Los Angeles with Daniel Caño, Mayan Spiritual guide at the 2017 MAC in Guatemala. Kathee updated us that her daughter, Kimberly Bautista, a film maker and activist who has done significant work in Central America and the US, met Daniel at that meeting. When Kimberly recently traveled to Chiapas, Mexico, she and a friend continued to Guatemala and met again with Daniel, this time in his village, further exploring their mutual interest in indigenous spirituality. As we learned at the 2017 MAC, we are all connected, and the impact of our actions can be widespread.

Karen Bortvedt, returned Maryknoll Lay Missioner from Portland, Oregon, who served in Cambodia, was also at the Congress. She talked of her new role as a recruiter for the Maryknoll Lay Missioners, which keeps her on the road. Please contact her (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) if you know of someone who might be interested in joining the Lay Missioners. Carolyn Trumble, a returned Maryknoll Lay Missioner who worked in Brazil, also formerly from Portland, is now based in the California Bay Area as a mission educator for the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. She encouraged Affiliates to learn more about their Discover Your Neighbor program at: discoveryourneighbor.org.

Ever-enthusiastic Sr. Arlene Trant, MM, asks Affiliates to encourage their local Catholic schools to participate in the Maryknoll Sisters mission education programs. They can contact Sr. Arlene at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Outside the conference hall, we talked with people who were in the rally for the abolition of the death penalty organized by Pax Christi.

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