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Articles (279)

Saturday, 23 June 2018 18:58

Salvadoran Affiliate Chapter is Building

Written by

Cecibel Flores and Irma Ventura de Ábrego joined the post-MAC Conference Mission Visit No. 4 in El Salvador. The fledgling Salvadoran Affiliate group had sent Cecibel and Maria Recinos as representatives to MAC 2017. Fr. Jack Northrup, MM, who tries to attend Affiliate meetings, joined the tour at AcoMujerza, the mission site of Melissa Altman, a Maryknoll Lay Missioner. Fr. Jack, with whom Cecibel works visiting the sick in hospitals, invited her to an Affiliate meeting three or four years ago. Now Cecibel is the contact person for the Affiliate group. Irma said about six or seven people typically attend their monthly Affiliate gatherings. A Maryknoll sister or priest sometimes provides the program for the Affiliate meeting.

The group often meets where several in the group volunteer—at the ContraSIDA site. ContraSIDA was founded by Maryknoll Sister Dr. Mary Annel (See the ContraSIDA story in this issue.) Irma said she misses Sr. Mary, who returned to Maryknoll in New York the previous week because of deteriorating health. Sr. Gloria Ardenio Agnes, MM, currently at ContraSIDA, may return to New York 2018. The Affiliates also miss Maryknoll Lay Missioner Joe Hastings, who had attended many of their meetings before he also returned to the US.

The Salvadoran Affiliates were happy to spend time with Lay Missioner Melissa Altman during this mission visit and hope to continue a close relationship with the Lay Missioners. They are learning more and more about Maryknoll and enjoy the No Tan Lejos del Horizonte, the Spanish language Maryknoll Affiliate newsletter. Their love and respect for the Maryknoll sisters, priests, and Lay Missioners brought them to the Maryknoll Affiliate group, but the spirituality and their passion for mission keep them coming.

Saturday, 23 June 2018 18:51

Circles—“That's What It's All About”

Written by

Roger Schiltz – Seattle Chapter

At the MAC 2017 in Guatemala, we walked slowly, slowly, counter-clockwise around the fire, praying and being with all of nature in the cosmos. Daniel Caño, a Mayan philosopher, poet, and spiritual leader, led the prayer thanking all of nature in the cosmos. We prayed in the circle and discussed the magic in our spiritual being in a circle. Circles are everywhere, in space, math, bubbles. Even honeybees dance in a circle to communicate.

Kitty Madden – Affiliate in Nicaragua

The nights here in Matagalpa grow longer as we await the coming of the Light. I write from the Casa Materna, a project I have helped to nurture and one that has so lovingly nurtured me…for over 27 years. It is an appropriate moment to thank all of the Maryknoll Affiliates who have been a bright light for us both spiritually and financially.

I am remembering the warm invitation I received from Mary Ann Jackman in 1985 to “come and work with me and my people in Nicaragua.” Though she did not live to see the Casa that would bear her name and welcome so many mothers, we feel her presence here with us daily.

In early November, I was overjoyed to be with many of you at the gathering so graciously hosted in Guatemala by our sister/brother Affiliates there. At that time, I shared the somewhat bittersweet news that the work of the Casa Materna would end December 31st. We are grateful that we have fulfilled our primary goal of providing services for rural mothers with high-risk pregnancies, reducing maternal death here in Nicaragua.

Saturday, 23 June 2018 17:30

ICAN Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Written by
Our Maryknoll/Pax Christi International delegation in June when the treaty was passed at the UN. L-R Judy Coode, Catholic Nonviolence Initiative, Beth Begley (NJ Chapter Affiliate), PCI UN rep; Jonathan Frerichs, PCI Disarmament Coordinator; Alice Kooij, PCI Policy Director; Jasmine Nazario Galace, PC Philippines, ICAN, Miriam College Manila; Gerry Lee, Director MOGC; Marie Dennis, Co-President of PCI; and Mary Yelenick, PCI UN rep.

Beth Begley – New Jersey Chapter

The Nobel committee awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN—International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.”

ICAN—International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons draws “attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences
of any use of nuclear weapons and [works] to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.”—Nobel Prize Committee

Maryknoll and Pax Christi International were integral members of the ICAN campaign to achieve the Nuclear Ban Treaty, and their efforts continue toward ratification in each signing nation and entry into force.

It had been very discouraging that our efforts brought so little awareness, especially here in the US.  Then we awoke on October 7th to the Nobel Peace Prize. As part of the campaign, my email has been happily flooded with congratulations and encouragement from our campaigners all over the world.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was opened for signatures on September 20th. There need to be 50 ratifications for it to enter into force. Three states have ratified to date—the Vatican was first. In spite of pressure from the US, we expect the treaty to be in effect within two years and to serve as a moral benchmark. (Editor: The US has not signed or ratified.)

Although the nuclear states try to discount this accomplishment, I see it as a part of a new expression of empowerment by the nonnuclear and less powerful states and by a new generation of activists working from the ground up and giving priority to reducing the humanitarian effects of war and violence. The Land Mine Treaty and the Treaty on Cluster Munitions were the first steps in this movement.

Note: To learn more about the negotiations at the United Nations to adopt a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons leading toward their total elimination, read Sister Elizabeth Zwareva, MM’s report in the July-August 2017 issue of NewsNotes at http://maryknollogc.org/article/un-nuclear-ban-treaty-negotiations.

 

Saturday, 23 June 2018 17:25

Our Cup Is Full

Written by

In early November, around 100 Affiliates and friends will be attending MAC 2017, our international Maryknoll Affiliate Conference, in Guatemala. The MAC Coordinating Committee tells us,

The assembly cup is full. We welcome Maryknoll Affiliates who will live the harmony between people and Mother Earth inspired by the theme of Buen Vivir.

The Coordinating Committee asked for responses to these questions: What valuable learnings do I hope to leave with?  In what ways would I like to see the theme “Buen Vivir” (Living in Harmony with All) become part of the commitment of the Affiliate Movement? What will be my own special contribution in this MAC 2017 assembly to strengthen the four Pillars (Community, Spirituality, Global Vision, Action) to the Maryknoll Affiliate Movement?

One person shared the thought, “Living in harmony with all challenges us to remember that the Blessing that awaits us is often outside our comfort zone!”

Read more of the thoughtful and inspiring responses they received (in English and Spanish), in the No Tan Lejos del Horizon Special MAC Edition and plan to hear a full report on our first truly international MAC in the next issue of NSFA.

Saturday, 23 June 2018 17:17

Renewable Energy—A Simple 1-2-3

Written by
Air and traffic pollution have an unexpectedly large
impact on life, health, and wellbeing.

Marie Venner – Denver Chapter

Are you concerned about climate change but don’t know where to start?  Here’s a path forward.  For cleaner air, more jobs, and involvement for all, think 1-2-3 and prioritize!

  1. Shift control of our electricity to the community level.
  2. Electrify everything—no more investments
    or taxes supporting fossil fuel.
  3. Efficiency improvements can provide the quickest and best return. 

By taking even some of the steps below, we can make progress toward our top priorities!

Kevin Foy – Maryknoll National Director for Teacher and Catechist Outreach

Kevin collaborated regularly with the Seattle Affiliates from 2011-2015 and currently with the Affiliates in Chicago, where he now works.

Reflecting on testimony from residents of Charlottesville following the recent racist demonstrations, I am struck by a major disconnect. While many white residents are quick to say, “This is not us,” their black neighbors point out that racism is indeed very much a part of Charlottesville: African-Americans are the targets of 80 percent of traffic stops, despite making up only 20 percent of the local population. The same white residents who showed up to protest racism also regularly reject their appeals for reforms in education, employment, and housing policies that disproportionately harm people of color.

Like you, I am trying to make sense of Charlottesville and its aftermath. But after nearly a dozen years of stepping beyond my comfort zone to see the world from different angles, I recognize how disturbingly common it is for people to live in close proximity but very different worlds. I offer some insights that may help folks respond to this moment with greater consciousness of racial injustice.

Just Peace Just War in Dialogue

Charlie Reilly – San Diego Chapter

A cluster of San Diego Affiliates joined several hundred people at the USD Peace and Justice Auditorium October 6 & 7 to reflect on this topic.

Maria Stephan of the Institute for Peace gave a splendid opening talk on “The Nonviolent Option: The Power of Active Nonviolence.” She reminded us of the many under-reported examples of effective social change through nonviolent movements around the world in recent years. Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana gave the closing talk, “Christian Nonviolence and Just Peace.” He heads the Vatican’s Human Development office, which includes the Justice and Peace outreach initiative encouraged by Pope Francis. This event follows up on a Vatican session held a year ago, also organized by Maryknoll and Pax Christi co-president Marie Dennis. Sandwiched between the two public talks was an all-day seminar for some 15 Catholic theologians and peace activists with an equal number of military officers, most of them faculty members (or retired from) teaching ethics at Army, Navy, and Air Force academies. Fr. Bill Headley and I participated in the whole event.

Saturday, 23 June 2018 16:16

Caring for Refugees and Immigrants

Written by

Marie Wren – North Bay Chapter

Members of the North Bay Affiliate Chapter, Nancy and Bob McFarland, Leslee Coady, Rich Younkin, and Marie Wren planned this event at St. Isabella’s parish in San Rafael, CA, to impart information and to inspire involvement and action. Presenters included a Rwandan refugee priest, Carolyn Trumble—a Maryknoll mission promoter, staff members of Catholic Charities, an immigration lawyer, and Maryknoll Affiliates.

Fr. Samuel, a priest at St. Isabella’s and a son of a Rwandan refugee, was born in a Ugandan refugee camp. He inspired the audience with stories about ministering as a priest to refugees in Uganda and emphasized that the most important thing to give refugees is hope, over and above any material or financial help.

Two speakers from Catholic Charities told of the legal help they offer to immigrants and of social services for a local community of immigrant youth who need help with reading skills. They also addressed the current issue of the executive order revoking DACA. They invited the audience to visit the local community center where youth are tutored.

An immigration attorney and member of the local Organizing Committee, emphasized the need to listen to the stories of immigrants and to determine their immediate needs. She told of immigrants whose cars were impounded because they did not have driver licenses. The Committee helped them.

Affiliate Bob McFarland spoke about his and his wife Nancy’s involvement with a Rapid Response team that observes and documents raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They also support families who may be left without a breadwinner because of the raids. Bob and Nancy are willing to take such a family into their home.

Some parishioners were interested in volunteering and will be invited to our next Affiliate meeting where we can explore their interests and where to use their skills. Although the evening addressed immigrants and refugees from other countries, we were keenly and sadly aware that there were many “refugees” from nearby Napa and Sonoma because of the devastating fires. Any of us could be refugees.

Saturday, 23 June 2018 16:12

I Was An Alien and You Welcomed Me

Written by

Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss – Portland Chapter

The Maryknoll Affiliate Book Group has been discussing the experiences of immigrants in the US, guided by Miguel De La Torre’s Trails of Hope and Terror. That book emphasizes that Jesus was an undocumented refugee in Egypt and offers Christian responses to the alien.

Now we see people of color detained and arrested as they leave the county court house or go to work. Citizen protesters have been arrested as they block the path of Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE) vans. Immigrant attendance at church services and classes is down, perhaps due to fear of being in public. Executive orders have rescinded the DACA program that helps young immigrants, Dreamers, legally remain in the US to study or work.

But hopeful signs abound. In October, California, with over 2 million undocumented, enacted a law barring police from asking people about their immigration status or participating in federal immigration enforcement activities. Jail officials will only transfer inmates to federal authorities if they have been convicted of certain crimes. Oregon’s law prevents using state resources to enforce federal laws.

Kathy Gribble, from Fox Cities Chapter, WI, reports that the ESTHER community visited a legislative hearing concerning pending legislation. One bill proposes that all government officials would be permitted (not mandated) to inquire on the immigration status of persons they might encounter in any dealing. This bill would allow targeting and profiling people of color, adding another level of fear as they move in the shadows of the community. The good news is that only one speaker favored the measure and about 25, including the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, eloquently spoke against it.

Nationwide, an estimated 800 churches have declared themselves Sanctuary Churches, although only few are house threatened immigrants. Some groups help Dreamers pay the $465 fee for DACA renewals. Communities have participated in Welcoming Week (welcomingamerica.org) to help newcomers of all backgrounds feel valued and fully participate in the community. Welcoming Week coincides with the Campaign Nonviolence week of actions and with International Day of Peace each September.

What is happening in your community? How are you welcoming the alien? Send your observations, actions, or ideas on welcoming the alien to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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