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.
This was our third Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers immersion trip but the first time Peggy and I visited Jamaica. The main purposes of these immersion trips are to experience Christ wherever we go and to be present to all those we encounter. This trip certainly fulfilled these objectives for us.
It took many of us some time to get acclimated to the heat and humidity that we felt the minute we deplaned, but our accommodations were comfortable and the hospitality provided by our host was wonderful. We plunged right in with songs, prayers, and introductions so that we would get to know each other, since most of the 11 of us had not met each other before.
On our recent visit to Tanzania we were struck by how much has happened to the people we knew as children in 2004. We spoke to them in Swahili as elementary school children and now they are attending universities, speaking with us in English and, using all the modern communication techniques from computers to cell phones, sending us TSM messages and emails. It amazes us.
These beautiful Tanzanian children who are now young adults make a difference in our lives.
We had a quick visit with Sr. Rose Marie Cecchini, MM, and noted that the Pillars that animate Maryknoll Affiliates—Spirituality, Community, Global Vision, and Action—are also evident in her work.
Sr. Rose Marie Cecchini, MM, is based in Gallup, NM, and is the director of the Office of Peace, Justice, and Stewardship of Creation for the Diocese of Gallup. During her many years in mission in Japan, she learned of the lasting damage from nuclear disasters. Her diocesan office is now an ally of MASE, Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment, which addresses the legacy of uranium contamination and related illnesses in the Gallup area. Sr. Rose Marie spoke on this topic at the 2011 Affiliate Conference in Las Vegas. Related articles were in the NSFA in 2011 and 2013.
Marta and I traveled for five weeks, visiting two daughters and their families in Bangkok and Laos and Maryknollers in five countries. We found that the Maryknoll mission and service in Southeast Asia is still going strong. Our visit caused me to reflect on the presence and legacies of China and the United States in the region and to note its ties to Affiliates in San Diego today.
Hong Kong. The Maryknoll house in Stanley, Hong Kong, built about 80 years ago as a base for mission efforts in China, overlooks the South China Sea. During our nights there, monsoonal winds buffeted the house. It withstood them, like the mission itself, changing as China and Church have changed. Today’s Maryknollers—priests, brothers, sisters, and lay people—have carved out some well thought out, strategic niches in areas like education and communications, adapting with the local church to political and ideological constraints, turning over initiatives to laypeople who share the vision and charism. While we were there, Maryknollers were conducting a retreat for women religious superiors from different parts of the Chinese mainland.
Often credited with being the first Maryknoll Affiliate, Lynn Houston passed away on February 18th. We share stories of her Affiliate leadership over 25 years to remind ourselves what one person can do.
Lynn was a:
Buen Vivir —Living in Fullness
The concept of Buen Vivir is rooted in the indigenous cosmologies and traditions of thought of Latin America.
We will be hosted by the Guatemala Chapter at the Verbo Encarnado Retreat House, an hour from Guatemala City. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, the center is operated by the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Verbo Encarnado, out of Houston, Texas.
In November, at above 6,000 feet, San Lucas, Sacatepéquez, Guatemala, is cool and comfortable.
Simultaneous translation into English will be provided.
The cost of the conference—fees, rooms, and meals—will be similar to previous MACs. Additional tours and visits can be arranged at a reasonable cost.
The Maryknoll Affiliate Board encourages each chapter to send a member and will again offer travel grants to promote broad attendance.
MAC2017 promotes greater unity and sharing of Maryknoll Spirituality and seeks to be inclusive and to broaden the circle among the Maryknoll entities.
Come help us celebrate the
25th Anniversary of the Maryknoll Affiliates.
A new book discussion ..group, open to all Maryknollers, is forming. In response to the Affiliate survey and inspired by the new series from Orbis Books, Catholicity in an Evolving Universe
(http://www.orbisbooks.com/category-234/), several Affiliates suggest discussing Making All Things New: Catholicity, Cosmology, Consciousness, by Ilia Delio, OSF (http://www.orbisbooks.com/making-all-things-new.html).
Participation does not require travel because the discussions will be through free conference calls and/or on-line, but email and a telephone are needed. Participants will determine the group’s timeline and format.
Paul Wilkin – Salvatorian Novice
Former Seattle Chapter Affiliate
You may remember that I attended Seattle Affiliate meetings in 2010 and 2011. I lived on Vashon Island, ran my design company from home, and was discerning religious life as a priest or brother. That discernment process brought me back to my hometown of Cincinnati, OH, to find out how close I needed to be to my family. Through my experiences in 2012, I came to realize that I could live in any county, state, or country and still receive great family support. With that settled, I continued to look into approximately 25 religious orders.
In 2011, the Markyknolls were one of my first orders to contact; however, I am a “late vocation,” so my age kept me out. That same year, I found the Society of the Divine Savior (SDS)—Salvatorians, at vocationnetwork.org. When I saw their mission statement: the SDS “proclaims and teaches by all ways and means the goodness and kindness of Jesus the Savior,” it hit home since I am a jack-of-all-trades. A second draw to the Salvatorians was that they are international and part of what they do is missionary service. This missionary spirit is what is calling me.