The latest news about the Maryknoll Affiliates
A short time ago, a family member, Michel, gave me a pack of 100 cards known as Oblique Strategies. Each card has a “worthwhile dilemma” to, excuse the pun, shuffle the mind off in a different direction. He’s writing a book and uses these oblique strategies when writer’s block sets in. Here are four examples:
Gardening, not architecture
Remove the specifics and convert to ambiguities
Not building a wall, but making a brick
Humanize something free of error
Michel gave them to me thinking they could provide an occasional distraction from todays frightening political arena. Today in the space of ten minutes I heard political pundits use the expressions, “soap opera”, “circus train” and “insane asylum” in reference to the present U.S. administration. Who doesn’t need a distraction these days?!
But, distractions have little chance of putting us back on the heart journey we’ve been called to. Thankfully, in recent days a few Affiliates copied me on their responses to Rosa Beatriz, the lead person on the Guatemalan Conference Committee planning for MAC 2017, who had the inspiration to arbitrarily choose a few registrants and ask them to respond to two of three questions posed. Below are parts of three different responses to one of those questions:
In what ways would I like to see the theme “Buen Vivir” (Living in Harmony with All) become part of the commitment of the Affiliate Movement?
…Whole-hearted, transformative strategies that help bring us back to what can bring peace and harmony in our world. Proud to be a Maryknoll Affiliate.
One of the Quick Links (blue box) sections on the home page of the website <maryknollaffiliates.org> is entitled "Developing Global Consciousness". Most of the content for this section over the last year or so has come to us thanks to Sr. Theresa Baldini of the Maryknoll Sister Contemplative Community. As the section implies, these readings are substantive and reflective. If you open this section now, you'll see Sr. Helene O'Sullivan MM's précis for Chapters 4 & 5 of Diarmuid O'Murchu's insightful new book, Religious Life in the 21st Century - The Prospect for Refounding. For those of you who have read any of O"Murchu's books, you'll know that, while his focus is religious life, so much in the book extends beyond religious life and has application for all of us. To check out this section, go to: http://maryknollaffiliates.org/developing-global-consciousness.html
Below is an excerpt from the 1st paragraph of this section.
Chapter 4. Parable and Paradigm in the History of Religious Life
We now move into the story of Religious Life as we have known it for almost two thousand years. Most history books tend to prioritize those who advanced the church’s progress and defended it against heresy and attack, namely, outstanding patriarchal males. Women in general and vowed women specifically were not meant to be visible in the church’s agenda of power and control and therefore for most of Christian history (down to the 19th century) women were officially “silenced” by monastic enclosure. The historical texts rarely, if ever, acknowledge that throughout Christendom women Religious made significant, even major, contributions. This grave injustice needs to be addressed and rectified.
Registrations have now reached full capacity for the venue - Casa de Retiros Verbo Encarnado. In many ways this is good news. However, unfortunately it also means that if you were thinking of attending but haven't yet registered, that window has closed.
There is a waiting list (3 so far) in the event that someone previously registered is no longer able to attend and withdraws.
An MAC update and a reflective passage:
Right now there is one Maryknoll Affiliate Virtual Chapter. * The members of that Chapter held there second “meeting” last Wednesday. As there is no geographic location for the chapter, as yet it remains nameless.
The decision to move forward with a virtual chapter surfaced over a year ago in a Board meeting with the realization that many who had been inquiring about becoming Affiliates lived too far from an existing chapter to join. Additionally, several Affiliates who moved away from their original chapter and hoped to join another, also found themselves geographically distant from any current chapter.
So, the first virtual chapter was born. There are 5 members who “gather” via conference call. There is some thought to also including a video connection like Zoon, Skype, etc. in the future. Those members are from Colorado, Minnesota, upstate NY, Connecticut and, aren’t we lucky, Sr. Ellen McDonald MM, co-founder of the Affiliate movement. For now, they have decided to meet quarterly. Minus seeing each other’s faces or sharing potluck delights, the first two virtual sessions appear to mirror the spirit and shared solidarity of local chapters. Very encouraging.
* There is also a pilot Contemplative Virtual Chapter in its initial stages of development.
1) Where do we want Maryknoll Affiliates to be in 5 years? 2) What are 1-3 actions steps to get us there? While Board chair Dave Schaffner presented these two questions to Board members, they are critical question extended to all of us as Affiliates. Given the geographic expanse, life experience and 1000's of years of commitment to mission among us, how might each of us (you) respond to these questions. Any insights (broad or particularly focused) in this regard would be very welcome.
Thank you much.
In the first two sentences of her book, Becoming Wise - An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, Krista Tippett, the host of the public radio program, On Being, writes: "I'm a person who listens for a living. I listen for wisdom, and beauty, and for voices not shouting to be heard."
On Sunday, June 11th I had the chance to meet with 16 members of the San Diego Chapter, who gathered in the rectory of Saint Mary Magdalen Parish in the Mission Hill section of that city. Hugh Menton, Regional Coordinator for the California Region, drove all the way from Long Beach to also be at the meeting. Hugh's wife Jean wasn't able to make it that Sunday.
Like many if not all Affiliate Chapters, there was a felt sense of welcome, of engaging reflection, of meaningful conversation, of humor, of kindness and of being at home. There were no 'voices shouting to be heard' - where there is genuine community, no one had to shout. During this moment in history when many feel our country's deepest values are in free fall, we were all very grateful for this time and space when 'people of the pillars' (Spirituality, Community, Global Vision & Action) could come together. Besides that, the members spoke of really good brownies at the pot luck gathering to follow... speaking here of only legitimate culinary ingredients.
It struck me once again while in San Diego that Maryknollers are people on the margins trying very hard and with a great deal of integrity to speak a word of life, of Life.
If you haven't already done so, please consider this very special opportunity to travel to Guatemala and meet with Affiliates and other Maryknollers from around the world.
The 5 Consensus Action Statements below are from the recent Affiliate Board meeting - May 5-7, 2017
CAS #1. On the June Regional Coordinator phone call, the RCs will deliberate and suggest a framework for the selection of RCs and will decide whether RCs should have set terms. The Board will take their input and develop the framework at the next Board meeting.
CAS #2. Everyone who is an Affiliate or is in contact with an Affiliate chapter will receive both the digital version of Not So Far Afield & the Monday Morning Update email. The process of merging the two databases will be worked on by Mary Ryan Hotchkiss, Ginny McEvoy, and Bob Short.
CAS #3. The Board approves the Roles and Responsibilities documents for the Chapter Coordinator/Contact Person, Nominating Committee, and Finance Committee as amended.
CAS #4. The revised draft of the Board Member Manual of 2017 will be reviewed by 3 board members who will submit their comments and suggestions by July 1, 2017. Dave Schaffner and Bob Short will incorporate suggestions and possible new materials and finalize the revised Board Member Manual.
CAS #5. All board members will respond to Dave Schaffner by email by July 1 to the questions: 1) where do we want Maryknoll Affiliates to be in 5 years? 2) what are 1-3 actions steps to get us there?
You might have heard from recent news stories that ISIS-connected local insurgents in the southern Philippines attached Catholic/Christian Churches in Mindanao.
Columban Missionary F. Paul Glynn wrote the following:
"I feel the profound heartbreak of knowing that St. Mary's Cathedral, Marawi has been burned by ISIS-inspired terrorists. The Vicar General of Marawi, Fr. Chito Suganob and other Catholics were abducted during the last Novena Mass yesterday afternoon. A picture of them, still alive, was posted on Facebook this morning by the captives. Nearby Dansalan College United Church of Christ was also burned and Christian staff taken as captives. We are praying that the abductors will not kill any of them."
As many of you know, Fred, former Affiliate Executive Coordinator, and his wife Jet (along with former Maryknoll Lay Missioner, Chris Vertucci) have been doing mission work in the area of Mindanao for many years. We believe they are safe, in a part of Mindanao fairly distant from where these frightening events took place. Please send your thought and prayers to Jet, Chris, Fred and the people of the Philippines.
Affiliates are invited along with others to join in Maryknoll's interactive Advanced Formation Seminar using the lens of global solidarity to explore the intersection of ecology, migration and global economic justice through the pastoral circle and Theory U. It will take place over 5 day August 7 - 11th in Los Altos, CA.
For more information or to register go to: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07edzaljhq59fecb94&llr=4wmvzncab
A key question scheduled for the recent conference call between Board and Regional Coordinator members was: "Where do you want the Maryknoll Affiliates to be in five years?" Board Chair Dave Schaffner suggested that to that questions we attach a second one: "Where do you think we will be in 5 years?" They are critical questions for all of us to consider. Hopefully many Affiliate Chapters will take up the question as well.
Agnes Walsh of the Long Island Chapter recently wrote to say that their Chapter will be addressing those two questions in their upcoming meeting on June 11th. In her email, Agnes added, "When I read in 'Focusing-Spring 2017 '( A Publication of The Sisters of St. Joseph,Brentwood, New York, Dreaming a Grace Poem by Marlene Marburg,I though that this might be a way to spark a conversation about the above two questions. I wanted to share this idea with you as a possible way for other chapters to use for reflection and sharing."
This creative approach adds a new and expansive way of addressing those questions. To see that Dreaming a Grace Poem that Agnes referenced, go to: http://brentwoodcsj.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Focusing-12.pdf
Thank you Agnes.
MAC 2017 could well be a pivotal time for the Affiliate Movement and for us as individual participants. In addition to being a time to come together again since MAC 2014 (always an inspirational moment) this Conference is the first to take place outside the U.S. in a beautiful setting (Verbo Encarnado) within a country and people that have a great deal to share with and teach all of us. Just stepping into this rich culture would alone be an exciting and worthwhile adventure. What makes MAC 2017 even more pivotal for the movement and for each of us, is the very thoughtful - carefully organized - fun-filled - faith-centered and engaging development of theme and schedule that the Guatemalan Conference Committee (GCC) has prepared.
The Theme is Buen Vivir - Living Life to the Full... In whatever space we as an Affiliate movement or as individuals find ourselves today, this is always something we need to bring to mind and heart.
Here are some of the specific goals developed and translated by the GCC: