Around the world in 18 days! My wife, Denise, and I recently participated in the Maryknoll Lay Missioner’s Friends Across Borders (FAB) program in Cambodia.
”So, how was your trip?”—I find myself entertaining this question in my first weeks home. How do I capture the essence of this Cambodian FAB experience? How do I explain the transformation working inside me? After a chuckle—they don’t realize how loaded the question is—I exclaim, “It was great!” an accurate, though short, response. But if the questioner is interested, I’ll explain that the trip was a mission awareness experience and that we visited with a number of Maryknoll Lay Missioners, Sisters, and Fathers. I’ll highlight some of their various ministries, and provide some context to the plight of the Cambodian people, past and present. Often, I’ll mention my blog of each day’s activities. This response still doesn’t capture the richness of the experience, though.
I thank the Affiliates and our Board for the privilege of representing them at the General Assembly (GA) of the Maryknoll Sisters. 144 voting Sister Delegates came to set their directions and policies and to elect new leadership for the Congregation. Other official but non-voting participants included: Fr. Jack Sullivan – Society, Margaret (Peg) Vamosy – Lay Missioners, and Mary Elizabeth (Mef) Ford –Full Circle.
It is clear that Maryknoll’s role in God’s mission is, like many human endeavors in these times, arriving at a “profound historical turning point.” This phrase was used by Joe Holland in his presentation at the 2012 “Mission in the Future” symposium, held at Maryknoll, NY. The event was prepared by the four Maryknoll entities: the Affiliates, the Lay Missioners, the Fathers and Brothers, and the Maryknoll Sisters.
Two days before the People’s Climate March, I learned that groups were to meet at specific locations, such as religious groups at Columbus Circle. Riding there in a half-filled subway car, I was relieved to immediately see a Maryknoller! I didn’t see many more until the march started, when Beth Begley and I were trying to maintain a curbside seat.
The “biggest climate march in history” left Central Park and headed toward lower Manhattan and the NYC waterfront on 6th Avenue. Crowds watched and cheered us as we went by. It was hard to keep up with the banner-carrying Maryknollers, mostly priests. I saw Affiliates Margaret and Adel, with a group from their parish.
Greater Los Angeles and San Diego Chapter Affiliates became familiar with peace activist Fr. John Dear’s work while preparing to co-sponsor the 2010 Western Regional Affiliate Conference. Since Fr. John was our keynote speaker, both chapters began studying his latest book. He spoke passionately about following the non-violent Jesus and offered us the opportunity to take the vow of non-violence. Many of us continued studying his work and listened to his speeches when he spoke in our area.
You spoke and we hear you!
Thank you, media survey respondents. Looking at the results of the survey, we received some surprises, but in other cases our suspicions were confirmed. We weren’t surprised that most of you use email and that most chapters use email for their communications, but we were surprised that very few of you routinely go to Facebook.
The Maryknoll Affiliate Conference has been described as a gathering point for cultures, countries, and communities rooted in the Affiliate pillars—spirituality, community, global vision, and action—as well as by their affection for each other. We come together to encourage and strengthen ourselves in building a society of brothers and sisters that make present the the Good News of the Gospel here and now.
“I was a stranger, and you invited Me in.”
While Congress makes no progress on immigration reform, thousands of children from Central America are fleeing violence and poverty. Many of them make it to the U.S. and are detained by Immigration officers. So many children have come that a crisis has evolved in even housing them.
I was most impressed and very depressed, almost paralyzed, by the incomprehensible scale of the nuclear waste projects we saw this summer on our free tour* of the Hanford Site in southeastern Washington State. How can I respond to the massive waste, environmental destruction, and disrespect for life that permeates these projects and indeed our whole society?
Translated from No Tan Lejos del Horizonte, August 2014
Fatima Carrera, Perú: Meaning of the Third Wave: I think it’s time for the Maryknoll Affiliates to appropriate the true meaning of its role as laity and take our special role in society. It’s time to discern the signs of the times and in our daily work to be signs pointing to a just and equitable society, to defend human rights, to form a body of opinion about the country in which we find ourselves, to enforce the rights of people who have no voice, to be the hands and ears of God among the people.
The recent and repeated bombings in and around Gaza in the Holy Land expose the ineffectiveness and immorality of violence. I have heard folks say, “If only they would try to settle their differences using nonviolence.” BDS is a nonviolent way for those who are suffering in an unjust and untenable situation to join with those who are complicit. I first saw the injustices in Israel and Palestine in 2007, when I traveled there with Fr. Jack Sullivan, MM, and a group of Maryknoll Affiliates. We saw the suffering and the nonviolent response of the Palestinian people.
We raised a 180-square-foot cob cabin that weekend, but what we really built was a beloved community.
Be the Change Project and House Alive! conducted a joint three-day cordwood cob-house-raising workshop in early May, in Reno, Nevada. “Cob” is a slow and laborious building technique, and, as far as we know, this one-day effort was a first. Interest and registrations in the months leading up to the “One-Day Cob House” event were great, and we gathered on Friday morning with 60 people and high hopes.
Maryknoller Ed Klecker (2nd from right) and ESTHER member Dave Robbins deliver immigration petitions to Rep. Ribble’s staff. [photo courtesy of Penny Robinson]
One of the best ways to mission is advocating for systemic change. Active members of Fox Cities-Wisconsin Chapter have all advocated through ESTHER, an Affiliate of the state organization WISDOM. We are an interfaith community-organizing group that works for social justice, and we are affiliated with the national organization, Gamaliel.
The MAC 2014 Planning Team of the Albany Region Chapter
Sends Our Thanks, Gratitude, and Sincere Appreciation to:
—all of our fellow Affiliates from across the United States and around the world who attended the Conference—for adding your uniqueness, your perspectives, your insights, your enthusiasm to each aspect of the activities;