John Moritz – SE Regional Coordinator & Ann Carr – Board Chair
In the life of every Christian, after baptism there is also another “Galilee”, a more existential ‘Galilee’: the experience of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ who called me to follow him and to share in his mission. In this sense, returning to Galilee means treasuring in my heart the living memory of that call, when Jesus passed my way, gazed at me with mercy and asked me to follow him.—Pope Francis
As Holy Week approached, the Affiliate Board and Regional Coordinators (RCs) gathered for our annual joint meeting. This time embraced both the somberness of Lent and the joyous anticipation of Easter. Like the disciples returning to Galilee, we reflected on important moments of our history as a means of welcoming new Maryknoll entity members —Russ Feldmeier, MM, Norie Mojado, MM, and Teruko Ito, MM—to the Affiliate Board and our most recent Regional Coordinators—Jerrie Drinkwine and Patty Hinton. We also shared our hopes and dreams for the future of the Maryknoll Affiliates.
Opening session. Patty Symkowick led the Migrant’s Way of the Cross, a prayerful reminder that we are intimately connected to the crucified peoples of our modern world. Then, reflecting on our shared orientation to the Affiliate movement, we identified the core concepts that have shaped us as Affiliates. We are a movement rather than a program: an expression, not an entity of Maryknoll; a network of small mission communities that relates to all three entities; Chapters living out the four pillars with emphasis upon building relationships and promoting local mission. Our 24-year-old movement, influenced by challenges within and beyond Maryknoll, is growing more international, responding to the wider prophetic voices of our Church and world.
Latin American Trip. Executive Coordinator Bob Short and Board Latin American liaison’ Patty Barneond Garcia Tres, reported that on their December trip they were deeply moved by the Latin American Affiliates’ level of commitment to mission, communal life, and spirituality, as well as their incredible hospitality. Repeatedly, the Affiliates spoke of having been deeply influenced and formed by Maryknollers who have worked among them over the years and of their commitment to carrying on Maryknoll mission legacy.
Maryknoll Affiliate Conference (MAC). Convening the next MAC in Latin America had been suggested at MAC 2014, and the Guatemalan Chapter has offered to host MAC 2017. Some Board members explored this possibility with the Guatemalan Chapter, and many positive developments have emerged. The Board and RCs have gratefully and enthusiastically accepted Guatemala’s offering! Please stay tuned for more details.
New Chapters. We also moved to recognize two new Bolivian Chapters—Misión Vida (Cochabamba 2) and Renacer Misionero (Santa Cruz). To help us welcome these latest members of the Affiliate movement, you can send a message via Facebook at www.facebook.com/maryknollaffiliates or www.facebook.com/centromisioneromaryknoll (Spanish).
Asia. Russ Feldmeier, MM, told of his February visit with the Korean Affiliate Chapter and his participation in their covenant recommitment ceremony. Norie Mojado, MM, and Russ described their accompaniment during the Chapter’s formation history and were grateful to now bring the voice of the Asian Affiliates to our Board in a special way.
Formation. Reflecting on this wonderful growth, we felt an even greater need to help fulfill the regional coordinator’s aspirational job description. How do we strengthen regional connections? How do the RCs encourage and support this? The RCs shared their challenges and discoveries, noting the diversity of the regions, strategies for connecting and serving the Affiliate movement, and the essentially pastoral focus of their work. John Moritz commented on his ongoing work in formation and proposed that we consider a Maryknoll-wide resource center for formation materials.
Collaboration. Collaboration, within and beyond Maryknoll, has been an Affiliate priority for several years, but we are now being invited into collaboration within the Maryknoll family in a new way, as was strongly affirmed in the recent Society Chapter and Congregational General Assembly. We now have standing representation on the Maryknoll Joint Meeting of Leadership (JML). Affiliates have been invited to participate in such activities as the Maryknoll Sisters’ Mission Institute Planning Committee. And all four expressions of Maryknoll and the MOGC participate in the ongoing partnership with JustFaith.
Survey. We also finalized the Affiliate survey. Going out to all on May 1st, it will “take the pulse’’ of the Affiliate movement in order to discern together where the Spirit is leading us in this new moment.
New Board Member. Bill Murphy, a longstanding Boston Chapter Affiliate who brings a wealth of mission experience and is gifted in group discernment, was selected as the latest member of our Affiliate Board.
Building Community. Several activities nourished our bodies and spirits: We remembered Jim Madden, MM, in prayer at his gravesite. We socialized with the local Maryknollers, enjoying lively conversation and robust singing with Paul Masson, MM, and Bob Short on guitars. And we celebrated Palm Sunday with the Sisters, a sharing in the outpouring of the Spirit and at the Eucharistic table that led us into Holy Week.
At the close of our meeting, it was clear that we had spent important time together. We were grateful to learn more about the organic unfolding, along with the many challenges, of our Affiliate movement.
May we all be inspired by the words of Pope Francis and go back to our own Galilees.
May we open ourselves to the beauty of the resurrection in order to see the gift of mission fire that is very much alive in the Maryknoll Affiliates.
For two weeks in mid December Patty Barneond de Garcia Tres, Affiliate Board member and liaison to Latin America, and Bob Short traveled to Bolivia and Peru to meet with Affiliates and Maryknollers in those two countries.
Several challenging and grace-filled moments are currently shaping the life of the Affiliate movement: our June MAC 2014 conference, the recent Maryknoll Society Chapter, the Maryknoll Congregation General Assembly (GA), and world events ranging from tragic wars in Syria to the inspiring leadership of Pope Francis. Aware of these influences, the Affiliate Board gathered October 17-19 to engage in a process of visioning, direction setting, and needs assessment for the Affiliate movement. We want to listen deeply and create a process inviting all Affiliates to discern with us. Where and how do we see the Affiliate movement now? How are recent experiences shaping our future direction?
Over 130 Affiliates and other Maryknollers attended the Maryknoll Affiliates Conference—Maryknoll Affiliates: The Third Wave Emerging into the Future. Attendees came from Tanzania, Philippines, Haiti, France, Nicaragua, Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Bolivia and the US. From all the feedback received, the Conference appears to have been a very positive experience. Several even spoke of it as opening up new directions for them—a fundamentally new, more expansive way of seeing things.
Bob Short – Executive Coordinator
An announcement was made during our church’s Easter morning liturgy that an Easter egg hunt for the children would take place immediately after Mass. To the best of my knowledge, no one found, nor did anyone think to hide, the elusive cosmic egg that day.
We are currently seeking nominations of individuals for appointment to the Maryknoll Affiliate Board. We need members who are dedicated to serving the Affiliate movement and who will share our commitment to building a strong and sustainable organization.
Communication, good or bad, will significantly influence whether we succeed or fail as an organization, local group or as individuals.
In today’s world a hefty amount of communication is electronic via the Internet: email, texting, Facebook, Twitter, etc. For Affiliates, given that a few of us are over 17 years old, electronic media, particularly social media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, could be foreign, perhaps frightening. Some among us might even have emotional or spiritual reasons to reject the digital world, feeling it is just too soul smothering and dehumanizing. I sometimes have those thoughts myself.
New chapters in South Korea, Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Lima, Peru, were recognized in 2013. The Cochabamba Chapter has close ties with Bolivia’s Maryknoll Mission Community. Korean Chapter Affiliates work in mission with adults with special needs, abused women, children at risk, Hansen’s disease patients, and others. The Lima, Peru, Niño Jesus Chapter, a group including dedicated catechists, educators and pastoral workers, has a rich history of formation with Maryknollers. Please greet these three new chapters and more than 40 new affiliates at www.facebook.com/maryknollaffiliates.
For the third consecutive year, your contributions have fulfilled our budgeted goal of around $21,000. This budget funds operations, the only section of the budget pie the Affiliates provide. Our Maryknoll partners—the Society, Congregation, and Lay Missioners—pay for the Executive Coordinator’s salary and benefits.
This year, the Annual Appeal received over 190 responses, an increase of over sixty percent from three years ago! It is most heartening to see this increase, which occurred at all levels of participation. My take on the increase is that you see the Affiliates as an important part of your faith and life journey.
For 2014, our budget goal is a modest $20,600. These funds cover the daily necessities of the Affiliate movement at the international level: travel for our Executive Coordinator, Bob Short; publication of Not So Far Afield; and other necessary expenses. Your contributions, in addition to the generosity that you show both locally and globally, keep the Affiliates robust.
The 2014 Appeal Letter and form were mailed in late October. We hope you have responded or have them in a place where they will float up to the top of your to-do list. If you do not have them, the letter and form are on the Affiliate website at: www.maryknollaffiliates.org. If the phone is easier for you, call the Fathers and Brothers at 1.888.627.9566 and say that you are giving to the Affiliates Mission Account 4014. Thanks for the ways that you give.
In early November, I participated in the Latin American Maryknoll Society’s Regional Assembly and Retreat. Also invited were Sr. Jane Buellesbach, representing the Maryknoll Sisters, and Sam Stanton and Fr. Bill Voss for the Lay Missioners. It was an especially positive meeting wherein Maryknoll hospitality, genuine collaboration and easy, unadorned camaraderie were manifestly present every day. We can’t know for sure if this was a foretaste of things to come within Maryknoll, but it was very encouraging.