The State of My Heart
Roxanne Hughes-Wheatland – Washington, DC Chapter
I attended the most recent Maryknoll Affiliate Board meeting at Maryknoll, NY, as a new board member. It was a wonderful opportunity to become acquainted with the other board members and see firsthand the level of dedication and hard work that is required to support the Affiliate members who carry out the Affiliate mission in their individual communities. Prior to arriving at the meeting, I certainly had many questions. What could I contribute to the board? Did I have enough experience as a Maryknoll Affiliate to be an asset and an effective board member? It is through this lens that I viewed my trip up to Maryknoll, NY, from just outside Baltimore, Maryland, on Thursday, April 19, 2018.
I arrived at Maryknoll on a cool and cloudy afternoon, and later that evening, after the other new board member—Rosa Beatriz Castañeda de Larios from Guatemala—and I received a warm welcome, the work of the board was underway. The meeting began with reflections from every board member regarding salient events and people who shaped their lives.
The next morning started bright and early with a centering prayer. Then our discussion focused on reviewing highlights from the outstanding Maryknoll Affiliates Conference (MAC) that was held in Guatemala this past November. During that discussion, Rosa Beatriz, who had led the conference organizing committee, shared lessons learned by both the conference organizers and the attendees. Even as I sought to get up to speed regarding some of the organizational details, I was challenged to begin thinking about more amorphous topics, such as the Maryknoll Affiliates’ identity, and formulating ideas regarding a vision for the future of the Affiliates.
We discussed how to identify an Affiliate group that could host MAC 2020. Later, Kevin McCarthy from the Springfield, Massachusetts, Affiliates chapter, who works for the Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers in mission education, reviewed the colorful and engaging mission formation materials that have been developed for students in elementary and middle school as part of the Discover Your Neighbor series.
At our afternoon meeting with our website administrator, Tobias Rinsche, via the Zoom video conferencing platform, we had a thoughtful and informative discussion about how we might update the Maryknoll Affiliates website.
Since the weekend board meeting coincided with the Northeast Regional Maryknoll Affiliates meeting, on Saturday we had the opportunity to engage with several Affiliate chapter members that reside in the Northeast region. The theme of the conference was “Balance,” and the attendees brought with them items that represent balance in their lives. The liturgy of the Mass offered that afternoon by board member Father Russ Feldmeier, MM, from Chicago, was on Jesus, the Good Shepherd. His homily was both humbling and spiritually nurturing.
The board meeting wrapped up the following day, Sunday, with a spirited and frank discussion regarding the many challenging issues that need to be addressed by the board in the coming months and years. All in all, I left the meeting with a realization that despite the busy agenda, the board has accepted its role as servant leaders with grace and love. I have faith that, with God’s help, I will discern how I can be an asset to the board and work to help spread knowledge about the Affiliate movement far and wide.