Maryknoll Affiliate News (297)

The latest news about the Maryknoll Affiliates

                 Claudia Samayoa

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:   

  1. Draft a letter to Pompeo at State Dept. and ask the Maryknoll entities and the Affiliates to sign on.
  2. Invite other organizations to join us in sending a letter to the Ambassador of Guatemala in D.C. [Affiliates have signed on. The list of organizations who have signed on is already long.]
  3. Create an action alert inviting the public to send a message to the State Dept and the ambassador. [In the works.]

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.

Sunday, 24 March 2019 14:30

The Interim Time

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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

Monday, 18 March 2019 00:42

Question of The Month #2 (QTM#2)

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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: 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.
What (who) is a Maryknoll Affiliate? *
Other Affiliates may be interested in contacting you to follow up and learn more about your response. Please enter your name and contact information, if you are interested in being contacted:
If you're interested in suggesting a future "Question of the Month" for consideration, please enter it here:
If you wish to have your name published along with a future "Question of the Month" that is used, please enter your name here:
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Friday, 15 March 2019 17:34

Question of the Month (QTM) #1

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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.

Prayer requests

Our Greater Los Angeles Chapter has chosen two themes for action this year--prison reform and Care for the Earth. It would be helpful to hear from others in the Maryknoll Affiliate community what actions they have taken in these areas that we might consider. This approach could be considered whatever actions a Chapter or individual Affiliates are exploring. [Submitted by Hugh Menton, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]

  • "Why do we want to strengthen the bonds of the Maryknoll Affiliate movement?
  • How to communicate if we do not speak the same language?
  • How to communicate if we live in different continents?
  • What do we have to change to promote this connection?
  • Why not to promote more the web page? An invitation to all to participate?
  • If this is a good idea!!! Who will be in charge in keeping it alive and let us know the results and make it work?

Instead of answers I formulate more questions to make us think and then the idea will come. Thank You!!!" [Submitted by Rosa Beatriz Castañeda de Larios, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ]

Form small groups that share email questions and responses that deal with their faith and actions. [Submitted by Larry Griffin]

Have a regional meeting/conference at least once a year in each region. The Portland chapter's "Non Violence Training and Regional Conference" in Nov.2018 is a good example.  [Submitted by Manny Hotchkiss, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ]

I believe you have enough data on the Affiliate movement in USA and around the world. For those who use cell phones and have WhatsApp it could be possible to connect to one another on personal issues. I suggest to create Chats of 12 participants of different parts of USA, including Latin America.  [Submitted by Rosa María de León, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., WhatsApp 502 59660232]


Friday, 15 March 2019 17:24

Conversation Initiative

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Hello Affiliates,

         Rich Lessard

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:

  • to discover and embrace the wisdom and ever emerging life of the Affiliate movement, and
  • to engage in deep listening with the wider Affiliate movement

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. 

So, if you are interested in participating in this experimental experience, please e-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Monday, March 25.  

Let’s have morning coffee or perhaps even a nightcap together!

Blessings.........Rich Lessard


Excerpt from: A New Wave: The Maryknoll Affiliates and our Sacred Pilgrimage  (John Sivalon MM – MAC 2014)

          John Sivalon MM

“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.”

Sunday, 03 March 2019 02:46

MOGC - Announcement of Director Transition

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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:


Sunday, 03 March 2019 02:04

Fred Goddard - Recent Connection

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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:

  1. My main “spare time” activity has been with a small group of people concerned about the situation in the Philippines and the ongoing killings. Our approach, though, has been one where we try not to take a political stand, but promote human dignity and life. On February 16, we had our third annual “Reclaiming Valentine’s Day” where we go to the local city jail and invite others to celebrate the day and remember the real work of St. Valentine’s with prisoners. It is also an attempt to get people to see the human face of those in jail mostly for drug crimes. Sadly, just yesterday, four inmates (now referred to as persons deprived of liberty or PDLs) were killed in an early morning raid by the police to search for drugs in the jail. It is a mystery to me why any PDL would resist heavily armed police when they are right inside the jail already.
  2. Fred also wrote that, "On another note, I started an online petition (see link below) to make a little difference in the climate change debate. Not too many people have signed it, which was kind of disappointing, but if you get a chance to sign this at pass it on, please do:


Sunday, 24 February 2019 01:52

MAC 2020 - Keynote Chosen

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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.



Sunday, 24 February 2019 01:45

El Paso Needs Your Help

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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:


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