The latest news about the Maryknoll Affiliates
This article by Matt Rousso, Chapter Coordinator for the New Orleans Chapter, moves from a heart-filled encounter with a young Guatemalan boy, to a wide-ranging discussion on how Pope Frances has framed the issue of water. It's a powerful read. Note that the photo is of a Guatemalan boy, but not Wilton. Click "Read More" below to read the entire article. (Bob Short)
Wilton is a young unschooled boy who lives across the road from our community garden in the back corner of barrio Santa Ana in the town of Esquipulas, Guatemala. Wilton stays with his mother and father, in a very simple two room house – it has only one single light bulb hanging in the front room and a water faucet attached to a make-shift sink which seldom gives water. Because of drought during most of the year, the Municipality does not receive enough water from its source to give to all the inhabitants of Esquipulas, especially those who live on the outskirts. Wilton also has a 19 year old sister, Wendy, who lives in an adjacent structure with her 2 year old baby.
During a recent mission immersion program in Santa Ana, I was working in the garden with eight of our seminarians from St. Joseph Seminary in Covington, La., along with Don Chencho, our gardener, and his young helper, Pablo. Several years ago we had to put in a hand-dug well in our garden because we could only get a little water from a nearby stream where women come daily to wash clothes. In the midst of the morning work, Wilton came walking up to me shyly and handed me a folded piece of paper, saying it was de mi papa. I opened the paper and read the scribbled Spanish note, having to decipher some of the words which were badly misspelled. The letter was a heartfelt plea for help! “Dear brother Mateo and the other brothers. I make a cordial greeting in the name of Señor Jesús and our mother, always virgin María. The objective of the present (note) is to beg a favor that if you can give us water because my wife and children are dying of thirst because there is no water. Jesus says in his word that the one who gives a glass of water to these little ones makes it with me. Signed: Catalino Vasquez, husband of Josefina Hernandez.” We immediately made provisions to get water from the well for Catalino and his family.
Since my return home, that moment in the garden has been in my mind and heart almost constantly. It has made me think a lot about water. I remembered that the first words of the Bible are about the presence of God in the waters of the earth: “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Gen 1:2) And I’ve thought about the fact that before I was even born I lay in the waters of my mother’s womb for months. . In early March, the internet kept sending me messages about March 22nd being the day proclaimed by the UN and the Catholic Church as World Water Day. I learned a lot of random facts like:
spends on bottled water in one year could pay for projects providing water to
everyone in need
MARYKNOLL LAY MISSIONERS
STRATEGIC PLANNING INVITATION
Maryknoll Lay Missioners is a Catholic organization inspired by the mission of Jesus to live and work with poor communities in Africa, Asia and the Americas, responding to basic needs and helping to create a more just and compassionate world.
In the last 2 years MKLM has engaged in a reflection on how to best live out its mission in the Church and society of today. In March 2018, Maryknoll received the findings from a key organizational assessment that provides MKLM with a foundation to engage the future.
During the Fall of 2018 the leadership of Maryknoll Lay Missioners agreed to take the next step in this visioning and assessment journey and to embark upon a strategic planning process to identify a vision and roadmap for the next three to four years. Three strategic questions are guiding the discussion:
These questions seek to respond to the present realities impacting our organization, the realities facing our global sisters and brothers, the opportunities and challenges within the present lay missioner and volunteer environment, and the realities shaping faith communities, including Maryknoll as a whole.
Effective planning is an opportunity to pause, reflect and assess our current reality and to identify strategic and tactical directions that will lead Maryknoll Lay Missioners forward to be a mission focused, effective and efficient ministry organization.
During the Fall the Board of Directors, the Global Council and national staff spent time reviewing and finalizing a process to guide this planning. A steering committee was also formed to coordinate and guide the planning. This group includes various MKLM stakeholders.
A key principle that emerged was the participation and ownership in the planning process of the many MKLM stakeholders, including missioners, receiving communities, alumni, donors and the Maryknoll fathers and brothers, sisters, and affiliates.
During the month of April, we are hosting focus groups to be facilitated by our consultant for this process, Paul Henderson of Pastoral Strategies, Inc. We invite you to join in a 90-minute confidential listening process to gain your insights from your own experiences and knowledge of Maryknoll Lay Missioners in recent years. Paul will be at Maryknoll on April 3-4 and again in May which is yet to be determined. Coffee, tea and snacks will be provided.
At the beginning of last week, Rosa Beatriz, Affiliate Board member from the Guatemala Chapter, emailed me requesting the name of someone in the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns (MOGC) who might be able to respond to an urgent request. That request was for Affiliate Chapter member, Claudia Samayoa, who, along with José Martínez, had been maliciously accused by the President of the Guatemala Supreme, seeking to criminalize her work in Human Rights. Claudia, whom many of you reading this met at MAC 2017, and who recently received special recognition for her work in human rights, was faced with the possibility of being incarcerated.
There is a second, revealing aspect to this story that I believe should make us proud to be part of the Maryknoll family. Shortly after receiving the details of the situation from Rosa Beatriz (the Guatemala Chapter had already drafted a strong, thoughtfully worded document in protest to the Supreme court’s stance) I wrote to the other Maryknoll entities to make them aware that we as Affiliates were looking to initiate an action in support of Claudia and José. Seemingly within minutes after clicking 'send' on the email, at least one person from each entity had responded to express support. Soon MOGC Executive Director Susan Gunn and her staff put an action plan in motion. Susan laid out a 3-prong strategy:
At this writing, the final outcome is still pending for Claudia and José. Rosa Beatriz informed me that Claudia’s father, who had been gravely ill, passed away few days ago. Please be alert for action alerts to sign and pray for Claudia, José and the dire situation in Guatemala.
In the early stages of planning for MAC 2020, the phrase, “The Interim Time” has surfaced recurrently. We on the MAC planning team anticipate that this notion will be incorporated on some level into the Conference in June of 2020. Similar phrases to name that phenomenon are: the middle time, the in-between time and, simply, chaos – probably because at least a bit of disorder is inevitable when the world is undergoing a major transition; and, before order is restored.
In his poem, For the Interim Time (full version follows below) the Irish poet John O’Donohue wrote:
The old is not old enough to have died away;
The new is still too young to be born.
Essentially, it is a time when the prevailing paradigm is dying off and a new one is being born. Even if we cannot fully understand it, we are seeing evidence of it all around us… in our understanding of global relationships, of Church, of government, of quantum science, of social consciousness, even of God. It has and will continue to impact so many areas of our individual lives as well as the on-going development of the Affiliate Movement. For sure, living in this interim time can make for anxious moments. Thankfully, in the last three lines of the poem, O’Donohue assures us of a hopeful outcome if we remain faithful.
“For the Interim Time”
When near the end of day, life has drained
Out of light, and it is too soon
For the mind of night to have darkened things,
No place looks like itself, loss of outline
Makes everything look strangely in-between,
Unsure of what has been, or what might come.
In this wan light, even trees seem groundless.
In a while it will be night, but nothing
Here seems to believe the relief of darkness.
You are in this time of the interim
Where everything seems withheld.
The path you took to get here has washed out;
The way forward is still concealed from you.
“The old is not old enough to have died away;
The new is still too young to be born.”
You cannot lay claim to anything;
In this place of dusk, Your eyes are blurred;
And there is no mirror.
Everyone else has lost sight of your heart
And you can see nowhere to put your trust;
You know you have to make your own way through.
As far as you can, hold your confidence.
Do not allow confusion to squander
This call which is loosening
Your roots in false ground,
That you might come free
From all you have outgrown.
What is being transfigured here in your mind,
And it is difficult and slow to become new.
The more faithfully you can endure here,
The more refined your heart will become
For your arrival in the new dawn.
John O’Donohue, from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings, 2008
SEE PREVIOUS POST ON QTM # 1 [Note: post on QTM #1 might appear after this post on your computer]
Question of the Month #2 – “What (who) is a Maryknoll Affiliate?”
Maryknoll Affiliate leadership continues its interest in creating ways for Affiliates to connect with each other and with other Maryknollers. It is our desire to strengthen the bonds of our Affiliate movement and to create opportunities for dialogue at all and among all levels of Affiliate membership. We hope all Affiliates share in this desire and will participate in this "Question of the Month (QTM)" initiative.
The purpose of the QTM is twofold. The first is to provide a forum for dialogue. Not only does leadership need to engage and hear from Affiliates, but it is equally important for Affiliates to engage and hear from each other. The QTM is just one way for Affiliates to do this. Secondly, we hope that through this dialogue, we can all (Affiliates and leadership) become better informed about our movement and will ultimately give each of us a part in guiding, supporting and strengthening the Affiliate movement.
Each month, a "Question of the Month" will be included in a Monday Morning Affiliate Update. These updates are e-mailed to all Affiliates who have their e-mail addresses on file. Included will be a link to the previous month’s QTM and responses. If Affiliates in your Chapter do not receive the Updates, please forward this Update to them and encourage them to sign up at this link:http://
maryknollaffiliates.org/ contact/sign-up-to-our- newsletter.html. Also, please share with members without internet access at your next Chapter meeting.
This month’s QTM is below. You can complete the form below or click on the link to bring you to the Google form. All submissions are anonymous, unless you wish to have your name and contact information included, which you can provide in the designated text box.
It is our intent and hope that QTMs will come from individual Affiliates or Chapters. The questions are equally as important as the responses to them are. So, following the question, you also have an opportunity to suggest another question that will be considered for a future QTM. If you wish to have your name published along with the QTM that is used, please enter your name in the designated text box provided.
We thank the Affiliates who participated in last month’s QTM - “What ideas can you share on practical or creative ways that Affiliates can best connect to one another and to other Maryknollers in order to strengthen the bonds of the Maryknoll Affiliate movement?” A summary of responses can be found here (hyperlink to file).
We look forward to and thank you for your participation in helping to make the Maryknoll Affiliate movement stronger.
* CONNECTING MARYKNOLL AFFILIATES TO STRENGTHEN OUR MOVEMENT * - "QUESTION OF THE MONTH"
Question of the Month #1
What Ideas can you share on practical or creative ways that Affiliates can best connect to one another and to other Maryknollers in order to strengthen the bonds of the Maryknoll Affiliate movement?
Visit Affiliate chapters
At Regional and National meetings
Our Chapter choses themes for the year to increase our awareness and to focus our meetings and actions. It would be great to know what other Chapters have done around our themes. This year they are prison reform and Care for the Earth, particularly as it unfolds in Monrovia with the Maryknoll Sisters Community and Pando Populus.
Form small groups that share email questions and responses that deal with their faith and actions. [Submitted by Larry Griffin]
CLICK ON READ MORE BELOW TO CONTINUE
Last Fall, by way of introducing myself as the new Chair of the Affiliate Board, I wrote an article sharing some of my initial thoughts about the Maryknoll Affiliates. In it I emphasized the importance of what I think are two necessary characteristics of a successful movement; connection and communication. Board members and Regional Coordinators have begun a number of initiatives to address and strengthen these. These are equally and importantly directly related to key responsibilities of the Affiliate Board. Namely:
I think anyone would agree it would be quite difficult to come close to achieving these without connection and communication, especially considering the nature and loose structure of the Affiliates. With that said, however, to be successful will require effort and commitment of both Affiliate leaders and members. It will require dialogue.
To honor my personal commitment in this effort, I wish to continue in an experiment of having monthly conversations with a small group of Affiliates. All Affiliates are invited to participate. If you are reading this; you are invited. These conversations will be conducted using either the Affiliate conference call number via telephone or over the internet using either Zoom video conferencing or Skype. I would expect the conversations to be free-flowing and limited in duration to no more than 1-1/2 hours. Again, the purpose of these conversations is just one attempt for leadership to listen to and be engaged with the wider Affiliate movement.
I think for these conversations to be manageable, effective and meaningful, they will be limited to no more than 4 participants (including myself) at a time. So, the first 3 interested Affiliates to respond will be asked to participate in the next conversation. I will do my best to arrange a date and time that is convenient for all. Any Affiliate not able to participate in this next conversation will have the opportunity to participate in the next one if they wish.
Let’s have morning coffee or perhaps even a nightcap together!
Excerpt from: A New Wave: The Maryknoll Affiliates and our Sacred Pilgrimage (John Sivalon MM – MAC 2014)
“Earlier, I stated my belief that the Maryknoll Affiliates are well positioned to be carried into the future by this new wave of mission. I believe this because the processes of globalization, the sense of emergent reality and other social dynamics have brought about what some call the “death of society” or the “death of institutions.” Today, institutions are valued based upon their usefulness and not on any supposed intrinsic value. And therefore, people will be less likely to commit themselves to an institution as such. Rather, the future lies with small bands of brothers and sisters mutually empowering and nourishing one another in the struggle to create global humanization without forcing homogenization.
The vitality of the Affiliates, going into the future, will be dependent upon your ability to remain a movement. A fluid, open and flowing movement not restricted by rules, regulations and constitutions and not neurotically concerned about your own self-preservation. But a movement based upon a general vision expressing values associated with the new wave: oneness, or global solidarity and diversity, or empowering encounter or inclusion.
The Affiliates’ openness to including members of other faiths or no faith is a unique freedom of expression that the institutional and hierarchical entities of the Maryknoll family do not possess. This act in itself is a manifestation of understanding by under-standing which is so much a part of mission as mutual empowerment. It is touching the hands of the other; it is allowing the same water of life to run over each other’s’ hands enlivening ourselves and the other: we are one in the same movement.
The vision of the movement is that we be one in justice, equality, dignity and respect. The future of the movement also lies in its authenticity in not only accepting of the other but seeking to eradicate all that impedes oneness. This includes challenging the very premises upon which capitalism, patriarchy and discrimination are based. We are not autonomous individuals who define the other and assert power over the other. We are intimately tied to one another, mutually defining one another.”
Due to sudden illness, former Director of the Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns (MOGC) Gerry Lee has stepped down and Susan Gunn has been named the new Director. To read more about Gerry and Susan, click on this link: https://www.maryknollogc.org/statements/director-transition-announcement
Fred and Jet have been living and working in the Philippines for well over six years now. Still, their names surface often among the many Affiliates who came to know them in the more than 10 years that Fred was in Affiliate leadership. In a recent conversation with Fred, he suggested that, to reenergize the chapters there, it would probably make good sense to combine the individual chapters into one "Philippine Chapter". He has begun to work towards that realization.
Beyond his heavy work load, I've included two other areas of commitment in which Fred has been involved:
MAC 2020 - June 25 - 28, 2020 at Graymoor Spiritual Life Center in Garrison, NY (about 25 minutes from Maryknoll). MARK THE DATE
The planning team - Ginny McEvoy, Celine Woznica & Bob Short (with more to join) is making very positive headway. We are especially happy to announce that the keynote speaker for this momentous event will be Nancy Sylvester IHM. Nancy contributed to and is co-editor of the book, Crucible for Change: Engaging Impasse Through Communal Contemplation and Dialogue. She brings to this project her commitment to dialogue and collaborative work style and her belief that the impasse being experienced currently in the work of transformation of church and society requires a contemplative response. Nancy completed her three-year term as President of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in 2001 and served on staff of NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby, from 1977-1992, first as researcher, then lobbyist and beginning in 1982 as National Coordinator and board member of NETWORK. Nancy is a frequent presenter these days throughout the country and beyond.
In the weeks and months to follow we'll provide updates on other speakers, the Conference theme, unique workshops, scholarships, a website, registration and much more.
From the Bishop of El Paso:
The reason I am writing you is to invite you to tap into the volunteer spirit that motivated you to serve in the past and to come to El Paso to assist us. As this situation continues it is straining the ability of our local community to respond. More than anything we need volunteers who are willing to stay for a minimum of a week serving in a wide range of capacities. Spanish language ability would be a tremendous help, but is not required. We need people to do everything from cleaning, to making contact with sponsor families, to driving families to the bus station, to coordinating shelters. Once you are here we can provide housing and meals.
A couple of Affiliates have already signed up.
For more information, see link at: https://peacecorpsworldwide.org/rpcvs-needed-in-el-paso/
Mission Empowered By Love
You are invited to attend and celebrate together the Golden Jubilee of the founding of the Maryknoll Mission Institute June 7, 8, 9, 2019.
The history of the Mission Institute is one of energy shared, of cutting-edge theology, scripture, ecology, spirituality, missiology and cosmology, reaching thousands of participants from all the corners of the world.
The fees for this weekend program is $210.00
This includes: $60.00 Registration/deposit
(non refundable) Only one registration fee is required per year.
$150.00 balance of tuition payable upon arrival. (this fee will include all the meals at the Center during the program. )
If you wish to reserve a ROOM it is $30.00 per night; Accommodations are processed through the Mission Institute. These fees can be paid upon arrival.
The Jubilee weekend will be filled with excitement, celebration and sharing as we delve the depths of our call to MISSION EMPOWERED BY LOVE.
From February 11, 2019 Blog:
The situation in Haiti is extremely dire. We are in the 5th day of demonstrations, people are fed up with the high cost of living, the rampant corruption, and the pace of inflation. But as always, there is violence and destruction that accompany these demonstrations. Nothing has been heard from the President or other leaders in the country. Nobody has even addressed the legitimate grievances. The whole country is paralyzed, banks and other institutions are closed, shops and markets are not functioning. Supposedly this will go for the whole week and longer, until the president resigns, although that is not necessarily a solution.
This whole situation is stressing everyday people to the limit. I would like to share a letter that a first year medical student sent me yesterday. She is studying in Port au Prince and it so movingly expresses how she feels. Nothing else to be said, except that you have to live this situation to really understand. Asking for prayers!