Are you trying to make sense of the immigration debate or do you know someone who is? If so, Maryknoll’s Spring Immersion trip (April 16-22, 2018) to the Texas Rio Grande Valley may be for you.
Father Gerry Kelly, MM, and Matt Rousso will be directing an innovative and exciting mission immersion program in the Rio Grande Valley in April, 2018. To learn more, view the flyer. A few spots are still available; interested persons should apply soon. Just fill out the registration form on the flyer and mail it to the New Orleans Maryknoll Mission Office.
The nights here in Matagalpa grow longer as we await the coming of the Light. I write from the Casa Materna, a project I have helped to nurture and one that has so lovingly nurtured me…for over 27 years. It is an appropriate moment to thank all of the Maryknoll Affiliates who have been a bright light for us both spiritually and financially.
I am remembering the warm invitation I received from Mary Ann Jackman in 1985 to “come and work with me and my people in Nicaragua.” Though she did not live to see the Casa that would bear her name and welcome so many mothers, we feel her presence here with us daily.
Buen Vivir—“living in harmony and equilibrium with the cycles of Mother Earth, the cosmos, and life in all its forms,” caused me to reflect on Lent in some different ways. This Lent, we might do a few things to connect with all creation:
• Take a walk at least once a week and appreciate the beauty of nature—listen and let it speak to your heart.
• Connect with an Affiliate you don’t know well—if possible, someone outside your own country.
After the 2017 Maryknoll Affiliate Conference in Guatemala, I reconnected with my former mission site and renewed my life energy and hope in mission. I was able to visit San Marcos, a beautiful town in the Western Highland of Guatemala near the Mexican border located about five hours northeast of Guatemala City, at an altitude of about 3000 feet. Another Maryknoll sister and I, as members of the Diocesan Pastoral Team for Women, visited many of the parishes, empowering their women’s teams.
Many women, mostly Mayan, shared their joy at being able to see the bigger world more clearly, as though being led out of the smoke in their kitchens. Besides themes from the Bible, we discussed women’s health, women’s rights, ecological projects, and managing profit-generating handcrafts. Many women shared their struggle to find safe places.
This issue illustrates that as Maryknoll Affiliates, global vision informs and influences our response to problems. We salute the Affiliates and Maryknollers in the Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Our global vision teaches us that wars and nuclear weapons not only threaten the warring countries, but as President Eisenhower stated in the 1950s,”Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger…” This NSFA offers a Pax Christi prayer to aid reflection on the UN Nuclear Weapon Treaty and on the US role with nuclear weapons stealing from the hungry and the poor.
Kevin Foy’s global vision, developed overseas and in the southern US, leads him to recognize and address racism at home. Marie Venner stresses the urgency of doing something about climate change since the contribution from highly industrialized areas such as the US disproportionately impacts low-lying or poor countries.
Articles in this issue:
ICAN Wins Nobel Peace Prize – "Although the nuclear states try to discount this accomplishment, I see it as a part of a new expression of empowerment by the nonnuclear and less powerful states..."—Beth Begley
Our Cup is Full – What will be my own special contribution in this MAC 2017 assembly to strengthen the four Pillars...?
Renewable Energy—A Simple 1-2-3 – "Why am I passionate about this? It’s about life and dignity for all."—Marie Venner
5 Things Christian Mission Teaches Me About Confronting Racism – "Being a missionary teaches you that the world can look very different depending on where you stand in it."—Kevin Foy
The Catholic Church Moves Towards Nonviolence? – "Before taking on and setting straight the violent world, he counseled, we should begin and continue by shaping up ourselves."—Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego
Caring for Refugees and Immigrants – They planned this event ... to impart information and to inspire involvement and action.—Marie Wren
I Was an Alien and You Welcomed Me – "Nationwide, an estimated 800 churches have declared themselves Sanctuary Churches, although only few are housing threatened immigrants."—Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss
A Report on Pace e Bene’s Campaign Nonviolence Event – "We need to say no to violence and respect our adversary as a loving person in God’s eyes."—Ken Butigan
From the Board and Executive Coordinator:Nov/Dec 2017 Not So Far Afield
And don't miss our Features:
Prayer for International Acceptance of the Nuclear Ban – Your chapter might use it at a chapter meeting or arrange an interfaith prayer service in your area.
To view this issue in its print form, download the November/December 2017 Not So Far Afield PDF.
The Nobel committee awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN—International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.”
Maryknoll and Pax Christi International were integral members of the ICAN campaign to achieve the Nuclear Ban Treaty, and their efforts continue toward ratification in each signing nation and entry into force.
It had been very discouraging that our efforts brought so little awareness, especially here in the US. Then we awoke on October 7th to the Nobel Peace Prize. As part of the campaign, my email has been happily flooded with congratulations and encouragement from our campaigners all over the world.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was opened for signatures on September 20th. There need to be 50 ratifications for it to enter into force. Three states have ratified to date—the Vatican was first. In spite of pressure from the US, we expect the treaty to be in effect within two years and to serve as a moral benchmark. (Editor: The US has not signed or ratified.)
Although the nuclear states try to discount this accomplishment, I see it as a part of a new expression of empowerment by the nonnuclear and less powerful states and by a new generation of activists working from the ground up and giving priority to reducing the humanitarian effects of war and violence. The Land Mine Treaty and the Treaty on Cluster Munitions were the first steps in this movement.
Note: To learn more about the negotiations at the United Nations to adopt a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons leading toward their total elimination, read Sister Elizabeth Zwareva, MM’s report in the July-August 2017 issue of NewsNotes at http://maryknollogc.org/article/un-nuclear-ban-treaty-negotiations.
In early November, around 100 Affiliates and friends will be attending MAC 2017, our international Maryknoll Affiliate Conference, in Guatemala. The MAC Coordinating Committee tells us,
The assembly cup is full. We welcome Maryknoll Affiliates who will live the harmony
between people and Mother Earth inspired by the theme of Buen Vivir.
The Coordinating Committee asked for responses to these questions:
One person shared the thought, “Living in harmony with all challenges us to remember that the Blessing that awaits us is often outside our comfort zone!”
Read more of the thoughtful and inspiring responses they received (in English and Spanish), in the No Tan Lejos del Horizon Special MAC Edition and plan to hear a full report on our first truly international MAC in the next issue of NSFA.
Are you concerned about climate change but don’t know where to start? Here’s a path forward. For cleaner air, more jobs, and involvement for all, think 1-2-3 and prioritize!
By taking even some of the steps below, we can make progress toward our top priorities!
Kevin collaborated regularly with the Seattle Affiliates from 2011-2015 and currently with the Affiliates in Chicago, where he now works. This a reprint of Kevin Foy’s blog:, “5 Things Christian Mission Teaches Me About Confronting Racism,“ posted on August 18, 2017.
Reflecting on testimony from residents of Charlottesville following the recent racist demonstrations, I am struck by a major disconnect. While many white residents are quick to say, “This is not us,” their black neighbors point out that racism is indeed very much a part of Charlottesville: African-Americans are the targets of 80 percent of traffic stops, despite making up only 20 percent of the local population. The same white residents who showed up to protest racism also regularly reject their appeals for reforms in education, employment, and housing policies that disproportionately harm people of color.
Prayer for International acceptance of the Nuclear Ban
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature at United Nations headquarters in New York on 20 September 2017 and will remain open indefinitely. Once 50 nations have ratified or acceded to it, it will enter into force. The US has not yet ratified.
This prayer service is derived from Pax Christi International’s Interfaith Prayer Service for Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty Negotiations, conducted on March 28, 2017, at the Isaiah Wall, NYC. Your chapter might use it at a chapter meeting or arrange an interfaith prayer service in your area.
CONVENER: Peace, Salaam, Shalom to all gathered here in support of a Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty.”
Until a few weeks ago, there were two Affiliate virtual chapters. The first has six members crossing three U.S. time zones and has met three times. The second is a contemplative virtual chapter that focuses on reflective conversation and prayer. Members from both of these chapters have spoken very positively about how meaningful the experiences have been.
On Sunday, October 1st, a third, hybrid Affiliate chapter entered the virtual Maryknoll Affiliate world. Approximately 15 members from three continents and as many countries: Kenya, Germany, and the US—crossing too many time zones to count—held their first meeting. This hybrid virtual chapter evolved from the creative vision and organizational acumen of Gerald Grudzen, PhD, and Marita Grudzen, who have been connected to Maryknoll in several capacities for many years.
Sr. Arlene Trant MM, recently returned from mission in Macau, reached out to us for ideas and help with Mission Education in the US, her new assignment with the Maryknoll Sisters. She offers a few areas for brainstorming:
A cluster of San Diego Affiliates joined several hundred people at the USD Peace and Justice Auditorium October 6 & 7 to reflect on this topic.
Maria Stephan of the Institute for Peace gave a splendid opening talk on “The Nonviolent Option: The Power of Active Nonviolence.” She reminded us of the many under-reported examples of effective social change through nonviolent movements around the world in recent years. Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana gave the closing talk, “Christian Nonviolence and Just Peace.” He heads the Vatican’s Human Development office, which includes the Justice and Peace outreach initiative encouraged by Pope Francis. This event follows up on a Vatican session held a year ago, also organized by Maryknoll and Pax Christi co-president Marie Dennis. Sandwiched between the two public talks was an all-day seminar for some 15 Catholic theologians and peace activists with an equal number of military officers, most of them faculty members (or retired from) teaching ethics at Army, Navy, and Air Force academies. Fr. Bill Headley and I participated in the whole event.
Members of the North Bay Affiliate Chapter, Nancy and Bob McFarland, Leslee Coady, Rich Younkin, and Marie Wren planned this event at St. Isabella’s parish in San Rafael, CA, to impart information and to inspire involvement and action. Presenters included a Rwandan refugee priest, Carolyn Trumble—a Maryknoll mission promoter, staff members of Catholic Charities, an immigration lawyer, and Maryknoll Affiliates.