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Sunday, 20 October 2019 15:46

Joining a Chapter - Becoming an Affiliate

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In the last few months several people have written to ask about joining a chapter.  Three have already done so.  One person is presently looking into starting a new chapter in the southeast. All good news.

Directives are in place about how to facilitate processes for joining and starting a chapter.  With regard to joining a chapter, some, though not all, chapters have incorporated these advices. Three of the primary components are listed below.

  1. Name an Affiliate within the chapter to accompany the new person
  2. Provide an overview of the Affiliate movement including structural delineations, the Affiliate Covenant (presently being updated), regional and international meetings, etc.
  3. Initial Formation – the original formation piece was redone several years ago. The new formation (content and process) is a substantive and important part of the process of joining a chapter. Some Affiliate chapters have even incorporated it into their meetings as a way of renewing their commitment.  It is given below - you’ll need to click read more to see the entire document.





We would like to animate, inform and engage participants in the formative process in order to help them discern if the Maryknoll Affiliate world and its mission is a place in which they can find a spiritual home.  This initial formation is a process of mutual discovery.

 An “Accompaniment Person” will be identified to assist in the formation process.  This would potentially be a Regional Coordinator or Maryknoll Affiliate in the area.  The Accompaniment Person would serve as the contact for the potential Chapter, by answering any questions, working with them during the formation process and linking the people in the potential Chapter to any needed resources.

The formation process includes five core themes.  It provides a framework to begin an ongoing journey of exploration wherein the group grows in appreciation of and commitment to our Maryknoll Affiliate Mission as lived out in the four pillars of Spirituality, Community, Global Vision and Action. 

In addition to the 5 themes, each group will discern what would be meaningful for them in their particular formation process as they work together to create a small mission community.  The group may choose their own particular sessions and activities (encouraged).  They may also draw from the enrichment materials provided on the website for further ideas.   In a sense, it is like walking along a country road on a bright spring morning.  Initially our senses, mind and heart are taken in and engaged by the surrounding beauty.  As we continue down the road, little by little we become better familiar with the terrain and how everything is connected. 


Allurement (the full diagram cannot be shown in this format. Here are the major components:                         

            Ongoing Formation                Exploration              Deepening Commitment               Formation                New Discoveries             Commitment

The person facilitating the formation process, as well as the Accompaniment Person, is guided by five pedagogical questions: 

  1. What brings them to this group, initial attraction?- this invites new people to own process, initiate a process with other members of the group to become fellow spiritual travelers and create a small mission community
  2. What do they (participants) already know?
  3. What do they want to know?
  4. What do they need to know?
  5. How do they (does anyone) learn?


FORMATION MEETINGS (a planning guide)

  1. 90 min.- 2 hours. (Material covers 90 min. but leaves group with more space to connect, provide their own creative input.)
  2. Formation Session Agenda Flow
    1. Opening Reflection (10 min.)
    2. Introduction to the theme for the session (10 min.)
    3. Content – presentation, video, readings, outside guests, etc. (30 min.)
    4. Group discussion (30 min.)
    5. Suggested ‘homework’ readings, videos, visits, etc. (3 min.)
    6. Closing thoughts & Evaluation (5 min.)
    7. Announce next session and date (2 min.)
  3. Group to agree on a typical time frame for individual sessions and for the entire initial formation period.
  4. Provide a list of resources for each session, online and hardcopy for those who do not have internet access.
  5. Provide a list of supplemental materials – many of which are given in the former modules. Note: as these sessions are substantially shortened, the reading list will be an important supplement for those who’d like to learn more – hopefully everyone.
  6. Some sort of community-building activity should be incorporated into each session. This will give the people the opportunity to get to know each other better.  Food is always good (group decides when, at the beginning, during, or end of meeting).
  7. Group chooses order of modules. Order may change as journey unfolds.
  8. Consider following basic principles of AA meetings - Go around the circle, each person speaks, try to minimize cross talk. Facilitator should invite all people to speak.  Encourage quiet folks, modulate talkative ones with the ultimate goal of having the group own the
  9. Formation period does not preclude the possibility of taking on a group action.



  1. Affiliate Identity
    1. Opening Reflection
    2. Introduce the theme: Affiliate Identity- What does it mean to be a Maryknoll Affiliate?
      • “The Maryknoll Affiliate is an authentic vocation within the Maryknoll charism.” Ann Hayden, MM
      • A vocation - each of us is unique in our gifts, personality and talents. We are all given the opportunity to utilize our giftedness and person to a gospel response to the challenges around us.  This is our call, our invitation.
      • Authentic, the affiliate vocation is not less or more than the vocation to any of the entities.
      • Maryknoll is a movement, a family of organizations, formally or informally structured, who share a common broad charism to mission to that which is foreign, not only geographic, but also social, political, economic, and/or ethnic.
      • The Affiliates are the informally, limited structure groups of people who have answered a call to mission to that which is foreign within the societies in which they reside. Affiliates may but are not required to participate in overseas mission activities.
      • Affiliates are not oblates, a third order or associates of the entities. While many religious communities and orders have associate or oblate programs, the affiliates are committed to the broader Maryknoll charism rather than to that of the individual entities of the Maryknoll family.
      • All persons have a vocation, all are called to mission. Not all are called to the specific charism of Maryknoll.  The formation process is the time of discernment for a person to explore whether they are called to this vocation.  It is not just a matter of learning facts, but determining how one is to answer the call. 
    3. Read and discuss mission statements from 3 entities – read in advance and discuss at meeting. [i]
    4. Identify the Maryknoll Charism. Each of the Maryknoll entities has a statement of charism.[ii]  Read each of these in advance.
      • Define charism
      • The Maryknoll charism – referencing the founders and entities
    5. Introduce Maryknoll Affiliate History
      • Show the video – (“Maryknoll Affiliates: the early moments”)[iii]
      • Review new website with mission statement, pillars, Not So Far Afield (NSFA) & No Tan Lejos del Horizonte (NTLH) (if applicable), etc.
      • Relate how the Maryknoll charism is lived out in the lives of affiliates, using stories and examples.
    6. Evaluation
    7. Closing Prayer


  1. Mission
  2. Opening Reflection
  3. Introduce the Theme: What do we understand as mission today and what part do we play?
  • We are being called to the developing (third wave) mission understanding.
  • It is necessary to understand first and second wave within the historical context of their times. It is important to note that they are neither wrong nor unimportant.  Many people attracted to Maryknoll are actively involved in first and second wave mission activities.
  1. Models of Mission: A brief discussion of the historical development of mission by Maryknoll and other groups over time and in various cultural environments. Discuss how the development of these ideas influenced the theology and missiology of Maryknoll.  
    • Mission as Proclamation - "Go and make disciples of all nations."  Maryknoll's early years.
    • Mission as Accompaniment - Acts of the Apostles.  Experience of Maryknoll in Latin America, Africa. Awakening to social justice, liberation theology, cross-cultural encounters.
    • Mission as Reconciliation/Prophetic Dialogue - Growing problem of violence, polarization of people.
    • Mission as Field Hospital/Mercy[iv] - Pope Francis.
  2. Show Maryknoll Mission Video[v] - Discussion with study guide questions.
  3. Discuss “Five Elements of Mission from Redemptoris Missio.[vi]
    • Presence and witness
    • Human promotion and liberation
    • Liturgical life and prayer
    • Inter-religious dialogue
    • Gospel proclamation
  4. Introduce the idea of Immersion trips – reference availability - explain that both the Society and Lay Missioners sponsor trips. Pamphlets are available from both.
  5. Introduce the current efforts in Mission Education.
    • Maryknoll initiativessuch as the mission essay contest, and classroom magazine program
    • What can Affiliates do?
      1. Participate in JustFaith Ministries classes and activities.
      2. Support Third Wave mission activities at the local level.
      3. Other
  1. Evaluation
  2. Closing Prayer


  1. Spirituality of Mission
    1. Opening Reflection
    2. Introduce the Theme: Mission Spirituality. All four of the Affiliate Pillars provide a good framework for understanding our mission spirituality.  The Community & Action pillars will be reviewed in themes which follow.  

Our mission experience provides a global awareness and resulting Global Concern that significantly influences our mission spirituality.   Personal stories from members might introduce this section well.  Additional readings are available on the affiliate website (some archived), in NSFA, and in NTLH (where applicable).

  1. Discuss the MAC 2008 Video[vii] by John Walsh, MM.
    • Alternative 1: Third Wave DVD on Spirituality and discuss by using accompanying booklet.[viii]
    • Alternative 2: Selective readings (from list)[ix]
    • Covenant – reference & discussion of Affiliate Covenant. This is found in the Maryknoll Affiliate Booklet.[x]
    • Evaluation
    • Closing Ritual


  1. Community
    1. Opening Reflection
    2. Introduce the Theme: Where have participants found community in their lives?
      • What does it look like?
      • What supports authentic community?
      • What challenges community.
    3. Review the Affiliate Pillar – Community
      • Website, NSFA, NTLH (where applicable)
    4. Introduce the Idea of Diversity in Community
      • Personal reflection questions in private
        1. How did your family see those who were different from you?
        2. Are you aware that these biases still exist somewhere in your consciousness? In what way?
      • Group sharing of personal reflections
      • Reading: Matthew 15: 21-28 The Faith of a Canaanite Woman
    5. Diversity –The Benefit Of Being White exercise[xi]
    6. Evaluation
    7. Closing Ritual


  1. Prophetic Witness
  2. Opening Reflection – Story of prophetic witness (provide reading[s]) or reflect on Gospel of Mark 12: 28 – 34.
  3. Introduction to the Theme: Prophetic witness, telling the Gospel story in our words.
    • Having experienced mission, seeing the Presence of God on the other side of the borders of life, one cannot but share these experiences with others. What we have seen determines what we are called to announce and denounce.  Solidarity is not just an idea but a lived reality.
    • It’s not because “they” said so but because we, as a community, have experienced so.
  4. Reflection Questions for a New Affiliate Chapter,
    • Are you looking at a Maryknoll Affiliate Chapter as a place to carry out an activity with others or find the encouragement to get involved as an individual?
    • Are you already so involved in activities that you look to the Maryknoll Affiliate Chapter as a place for prayer and reflection and to get reenergized?
    • What kinds of activities might we be able to do as a group?
    • Are you, yourself, involved in any activity with which you might appreciate support or involvement from the rest of the group?
    • Are there groups or organizations (not-for-profits, church/parish-based, etc.) with whom we might carry out an activity together?
  5. Affiliate Pillar – Action. Use existing media to explore the action pillar of various affiliates, as examples.
    • Website, NSFA, NTLH (where applicable)
    • Maryknoll Magazine & Revista (where applicable)
    • “Two Feet of Love in Action”[xii]
  6. Introduce the Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns (MOGC )
    • Visit MOGC website
    • News notes
  7. Evaluation
  8. Closing Prayer – What does being a prophetic witness mean for me and for our Chapter?





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1 comment

  • Comment Link Kathleen Gribble Friday, 25 October 2019 02:51 posted by Kathleen Gribble

    Fox Cities Affiliates are struggling to find a time to gather and we are so busy with various missional and family activities it is difficult to meet. I printed this article about Orientation of new members in hopes of interesting some younger families in MKNL Spirituality and Global vision to enable our local parishes to engage in community social justice activities for the future of our Catholic Church as well as connecting us with Maryknoll. I belong to two diversity committees - with another MKNL Affiliate - for other organizations, so we are all active in issues that Maryknoll would support, but not really as Maryknollers. Hopefully this clarity about Affiliate membership will help us attract others who may want to keep our chapter going and growing, but us elders are not able to handle all the work we know is important to save our communities and to stay connected to a Catholic church whose focus seems so narrow compared to our MKNL perspectives. Others still image a Catholic Church of dogmas and rules, not love and openness to where the spirit may take us. Thank you Bob for clarity about who we are!

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