September 18, 2016—I know it’s a cliché title, but that is exactly what I have been doing since Jet and I returned to the Philippines four years ago in October.
Soon after we arrived, I began working with MAGI (Managing Alternatives Group, Incorporated—managingalternatives.org). This NGO provides services to other NGOs around organizational management, assessments, evaluations, etc. I worked with partners in the Philippines of the German donor organization MISEREOR to help them determine what difference their projects were making in the lives of the people with whom they worked. What changes did they observe?
Come to MAC2017 in Guatemala in November 2017 to experience ¡Buen Vivir!—to live fully.
Information on how to register for MAC2017, travel grant opportunities, optional mission visits, etc., will be in upcoming NSFA issues.
In a recent No Tan Lejos del Horizonte, Latin-American Maryknollers say*:
Driving into the Hudson Valley for our October board meeting, I saw the magnificent and glorious fall colors; seasons are something that elude us here on the California Central Coast. Though basking in the colors, my thoughts were muted by the news from Chicago Affiliate Renate Schneider. She works with various development projects in Jeremie, Haiti, one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew.
Participants told the Book Group Committee that the first Affiliate Book Group was a very positive experience for just about everyone, even if the book—Making All Things New by Ilia Delio—was often challenging. We’re looking forward to the second Maryknoll Affiliate Book Group, which begins in January.
You are invited to join the next session, where you may indicate your preferred book and your best meeting time.
This is a brief report, but I want to keep in touch and let other Affiliates know what we are doing.
We met on October 15, 2016, at the Maryknoll Sisters’ apartment in Seoul. Thirteen of us gathered, including two visiting guests who are Sisters of the Congregation of Jesus and Theresa Jung, who is asking to become an Affiliate. We all warmly welcomed her.
At the meeting, Maryknoll Sister Hyung-Jung Kim spoke to us about her mission in East Timor. Also, Maryknoll Sister Jean Maloney reported on her recent trip to the US. As usual, all the Affiliates shared the events of their lives during the past month, and a number spoke of gratitude for their families and for the Affiliate meeting itself, which is such a support. Also one member is preparing to make a trip to the Holy Land.
The Chapter requests prayers for the wife of one of the Affiliates who is receiving treatment for cancer. Her name is Theresa.
Thanksgiving evokes harvest gratitude just before winter. Yet the myth of Thanksgiving that we tell is rife with inaccuracies and omissions that have endured for 400 years. The story of a Wompanoag, Tisquantum (Squanto), in 1614, gives us a more honest look at our American colonial roots.
A Report on the Maryknoll Affiliates’ Southern Region Conference
New Orleans, LA, Sept. 30 – Oct. 2, 2016
Rev. Gerald E. Kelly, MM – Director of Mission Education & Promotion, Southern Region
Congratulations to Matt Rousso and the New Orleans Affiliates for a very successful Southern Region Conference. Held just outside New Orleans at a retreat center in Metairie, the conference opened with a moving prayer and procession highlighting the four Affiliate pillars of Spirituality, Community, Action and Global Vision. For the remaining time, the diverse modes of presentation that followed spoke to the theme: “Mission as Accompaniment: Walking Each Other Back Home.”
Somewhere in his writings, Saint Francis of Assisi wrote that the Lord “…wants me to be a new kind of fool in the world…” Just a few minutes into gathering together as Maryknollers—seeing how the New Orleans Chapter welcomed all of us, the global and local issues that consumed us (and the consumer issues that didn’t), the wholehearted laughter that filled us, and maybe even the simple dress that clothed us—gave some evidence that we too were aspiring towards the new fool in the world classification. The advanced levels of insight, education, creativity and life experience don’t disqualify in this regard.
Matt Rousso shared this reflection at the Southern Region Conference, and Mary used it in their Chapter meeting. She now offers it for all of us to use.
We should be able to see by what Pope Francis has been saying in his writings and in his speeches that he is strongly affirming that mission is much more about “being with rather than doing for.” A couple of years ago, a friend of mine shared with me a Christmas card she had received. There was a simple message in the card which read “we’re all just walking each other home.” That message has stuck with me and often impinged on my meditation and prayer. I have often been moved when I realize this is how God in Jesus has been with me all during my life —slowly and lovingly walking me home. And I have often thought how true this is of our call to mission. Are we not all called to walk each other home? Is not this what Pope Francis is saying when he says “we must all learn the art of accompaniment”? Or when he says, “we must practice the art of listening”?
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
• Have you have been “accompanying someone?” How did this experience begin? What has it been like for you?
• Is there someone(s) that you sense you are being called to accompany - to “walk home”? How are you experiencing this call?
The Mwanza Affiliates sent colorful cloth bags from one of their women’s projects to the Portland Oregon Affiliates, some of whom have visited them in Tanzania. The Portland Chapter also has helped Affiliate (returned Maryknoll Lay Missioner) Bertha Haas raise funds to support the school for handicapped children that she started there.
Recently I had a powerful interfaith experience at Hartford Seminary near Windsor, Connecticut. The intensive eight-day course entitled Building Abrahamic Partnerships was structured as an interfaith community of learning for Jews, Christians, and Muslims, all of whom trace their origin to the patriarch Abraham. Our class of 10 Jews, 8 Muslims, 9 Protestants of various denominations, and 3 Catholics heard lectures by Jewish rabbis, Muslim imams, Christian ministers, and seminary professors.
The highlight for me was a small group experience led by a Jewish rabbi, a Muslim woman, and a United Church of Christ woman minister. We each shared a personal experience that we had of God/Allah, through which we were able to meet on a spiritual level above our differences.
We are currently seeking nominations for appointment to the Maryknoll Affiliate Board. Are you dedicated to serving the Affiliate movement and committed to building a strong and sustainable organization? Please contact us if you, or someone you know, is able and ready to respond to this invitation.
Our annual invitation for you to participate in keeping Maryknoll Affiliates going will arrive soon. We need your help to cover the costs of communicating: newsletters, website, telephone, Executive Coordinator travel, paper clips...
Working together we can do it!
A Review of Just Water by Christiana Z. Peppard, Orbis Books Series on Integral Ecology.
This follow-up to Laudato Si, Just Water by Christiana Z. Peppard, presents very practical, though not easy, steps to protect our most essential resource. Already on page 22, I was challenged to change my way of life. Its principal assertion is that water conservation is a “right-to-life” issue. It is not fair for the first world to use up Earth’s water supply while leaving those most poor to pay the consequences. To reduce the threat to our water supply, we need to stop focusing on domestic use, only eight percent of total use, and attend to industrial and agricultural use.