The latest news about the Maryknoll Affiliates
By John Sivalon
I am delighted to be here today and to take part in this conference. I want to thank the Affiliate chapter of Albany for their invitation and for their patience in working with me to prepare for this conference. With them, I am grateful to Ann Carr and the Affiliate Board for their support and to Bob Short who in his own writings has stimulated us all to think of doing mission in terms of a new paradigm. I also want to thank Ellen McDonald, Jack Sullivan and Gerry Kelly for their commitment and dedication to the vision of the Affiliates. As the first conference of affiliates after the death of Jim Madden, this conference is even more significant and profound for me, as I believe it is for you. Jim left us with words of encouragement about his own vision, and advising us to search out new ways of being a movement into the future. Not only his words, but his lived example, encourage us to appreciate the abiding presence of God in cultures.
With his words and vision in mind, we come together to wrestle with the mysterious call we have all received: “to participate in the mission of God.” Most important, I come here today, not to offer answers, but to raise questions for all of us that we might work together for some glimpse into how the Maryknoll movement will be carried into the future. Part of that process, for which I am deeply appreciative, is the responses of Sam Stanton, Mary Ellen Kempken and Robert Ellsberg to my own presentation. I am sure their additions will be very helpful in clarifying the weaknesses of my presentation and more importantly they will add their own wisdom, perspective and experience to help all of us in opening our hearts and minds to God’s wisdom.
The theme of this conference is "Maryknoll Affiliates: The Third Wave Emerging into the Future.” Contemplating that theme, I imagined myself sitting on the beach looking out at the beautiful ocean and counting the waves. I asked myself what is a wave, and how do you count them. When was the first wave and what wave is this really? It became clear to me that, while I am not sure what wave this is, I am confident that the world in which we live today is dramatically different than the world in which I was raised and I am confident that it is a “New Wave.”
The language of “Third Wave” entered most prominently into the vocabulary of the Maryknoll world with a talk given a few years ago by Robert Shreiter on “Mission ad Gentes.” In that talk he associated the “Third Wave” with some changes in contemporary society related to globalization. But I believe that besides these socio-political-economic changes, a much deeper change has taken place. Our whole understanding of the universe has been turned upside-down since the 1970s especially in the West, but spreading throughout the world. And, paraphrasing St Thomas, if our view of creation is distorted, our view of God will be distorted, and by implication our view of mission and church.
Jack Sullivan sent out word earlier today that Jim Madden MM passed away this morning at 1:40 AM. He died peacefully, just a little more than a month after learning of his cancer diagnosis. Services will take place next Thursday and Friday (1/16-17) at Maryknoll in Ossining. More will follow in the days ahead.
In his last weeks Jim spoke over and over of the gratitude he had for God, Maryknoll, Mission and all of us. I know all of us, each in our own way, would like to express our gratefulness for him!
The November/December Not So Far Afield newsletter of the Maryknoll Affiliates is now available online at http://notsofarafield.org/2013/11/.
You can download a ODF version here.
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Accompaniment is the theme for the Jan/Feb 2013 Not So Far Afield Maryknoll Affiliate newsletter. Please send us articles about your or your Affiliate chapter's Accompaniment.
In A Sacred Voice Is Calling, John Neafsey writes that, “Our sense of vocation is intimately linked to the people and things that move us to passion and compassion.” On September 1st I started in the position of Affiliate Executive Coordinator. Previous escapades with Maryknoll have included work, with my family, in Bolivia and Ecuador; six years in Lay Missioner leadership; vocation/recruitment work; and, just last year, working on the Society’s Centennial. I have been part of the Boston Affiliate chapter since its inception. Seeing this, some might credibly surmise that ‘this guy has some kind of weird Maryknoll addiction thing going on here.’ In my defense, I simply cannot shake the notion that the mission and people of Maryknoll continue to move me to passion and compassion. As the latest expression within Maryknoll, the Affiliates join with the other entities, each in their unique vocation, to live out this mission.
While it’s too early to make any cogent projections about Affiliate developments in the months to come, what is clear is that, unlike the very difficult state of affairs Barack Obama was confronted with when he first took office, thanks to the work and planning of Fred, the Board and so many others among you, the Maryknoll Affiliate house is in very good order. I’m very grateful. Like so many who have come to know him, it quickly becomes evident that Fred is a person who goes beyond what is asked of him. I’ve now come to see that the Affiliate Board members appear to be very much in that same mold. Given that their financial compensation is in all cases a multiple of zero, I have to suspect that other motivations are at play with Board members. Rumor has it that all this can be said of many other Affiliates as well.
After weeks of work, I have just switched over to our "not quite ready for prime time" updated website. I say "not quite ready for prime time" because there are still some things to do.
What does this mean for you and for the Maryknoll Affiliates? Most of the changes were "behind the scenes." It was in some ways like upgrading the operating system on a computer, like going from Windows 95 to Windows Vista. Just like on a computer, though, when you upgrade the operating system, you have to upgrade some of your programs. I did this for several reasons, primarily to make it easier for those who will be taking over maintenance of the website and to make sure that it is secure as we can make it.
Given that our November/December 2011 edition of Not So Far Afield had the theme of youth and the future of mission, the message of Pope Benedict XVI for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace could not have been better timed. The theme for this year's message is Educating Young People in Justice and Peace. You can read the entire message at:
During 2012, Maryknoll will offer a unique experience to young men and women to answer the call of Jesus and serve in overseas mission.
Prospective candidates for the four entities of Maryknoll will gather at different locations around the country for a day long program to discern a call to overseas missionary work. Some will come to contemplate a lifetime commitment as a priest, brother, or sister to witness and proclaim Jesus Christ to the poor overseas. Others will come to discern a three year commitment as lay missioners or to join the Maryknoll Affiliates.
All who attend these informative events will learn that Maryknoll is indeed a family committed to heed Jesus' command to go forth to all people everywhere!
Participants will have the opportunity to meet current and returned missioners; and listen to mission stories from those who have worked in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The day long encounter is an opportunity to learn about life as a Maryknoll missioner and begin to reflect on whether God is calling you to ministry in overseas mission.