Love in Action, the theme of the 2015 Western Region Maryknoll Affiliates Conference, is also a fitting theme for this issue of the NSFA. Indeed, Love in Action pretty well describes Maryknoll Affiliates and our Four Pillars of Spirituality, Community, Global Vision, and Action. The love in this issue acting in at least 13 locations in 8 different countries, including Brazil, Tanzania, Oregon, Florida, and Guatemala, and in our reaching out to immigrants.
In the secular news we see that the lack of love leads to violence, torture, fear, exploitation, and discrimination. While most of us experience some level of privilege, we also have occasionally felt fear and discrimination. We know that when violence is an acceptable response, no one is safe.
In No Tan Lejos del Horizonte, our Spanish Affiliate newsletter, an Affiliate from Merida, Mexico, Cecilia Quijano asks us to respond with Love and Action to the disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa, Mexico. She says, (translated from the Spanish):
“Prayer has helped us to collect our thoughts and feelings and leads us to act. Small or large, easy or difficult, actions arising from reflection and discernment of the Christian values that we hold will have an impact on building a culture of peace, so necessary for everyone.”
Articles: (Click on the title to go to the article.)
My Adventures in Mission – “I am amazed at how many skills and experiences I draw upon as a missioner.” – Carolyn Trumble
Ayotzinapa – “We must recognize that this event is not isolated from others.” – Cecelia Quijano
Daring to Dream Anew – “The entire Chapter proceedings were imbued with the spirit of prayer to discern what the Spirit is calling Maryknoll to today in her mission endeavors.” – John Meyer
Angels Come in All Sizes – “Your support of the Affiliates has been outstanding. Over the past four years, the number of contributors has increased sharply, from 120 to 190 households.” – Dave Schaffner
You Are Invited! – “The most important dimension of all great leadership—Who am I? What am I here for?” – Gene Toland, MM
A Tanzanian Seminary for Girls – “God is in us, with us, working through us. Working with the kids, you see God’s presence.” – Agnes Menard
Taste of Tanzania to Help disabled Children – “Huruma means compassion in Swahili, the local language in Tanzania. The disabled children at Huruma truly need compassion and in many ways are the poorest of the poor.” – Bertha Haas
The Way & Maryknoll – “How does this ‘mission trip’ relate to our Chapter?” – Carol-Ann Black
Let There Be Light! - “In the evening, the lamp provides enough light to illuminate their small dwelling while the family completes their routine of prayer, study, and family meal.” – Curt Klueg
Visiting Bolivia & Peru – “We did not ask, but in every gathering they spontaneously spoke of how Maryknoll priests, sisters, brothers and, where present, lay missioners gave them a sense of self-dignity and missionary vision.” – Bob Short
Caminando Continues – “We constantly try to improve the program and to foster positive change in this small corner of the world—Paraiso II, Zone 18, one of the most marginalized, impoverished, violent zones in Guatemala City.” – Ron Covey
Be sure to check out our Events—upcoming Western Regional Affiliate Conference, and Features—book review, prayer, and news notes!
Many Affiliate Chapters are collaborating with:
JustFaith Ministries: http://justfaith.org/
Pace e Bene: http://paceebene.org/programs/campaign-nonviolence/
Pax Christi: http://paxchristiusa.org
Ron Covey – Houston Chapter
Since the death of Father Thomas Goekler, MM, in 2010, Caminando Por La Paz – Guatemala has been run by Maryknoll Affiliates, guided by the Affiliate Four Pillars. We believe that this is the only mission program originally established by Maryknoll Fathers, Brothers, or Sisters that is now run by Affiliates.
In the April/May, 2011, Not So Far Afield, we described our efforts to continue Father Thomas’ work. We constantly try to improve the program and to foster positive change in this small corner of the world—Paraiso II, Zone 18, one of the most marginalized, impoverished, violent zones in Guatemala City.
Education. Lack of education in the general population is one of the major problems in Guatemala; it leads to persistent poverty and violence and is undoubtedly connected to the US’s immigration issues. Although Guatemala does provide public education, students pay for books, school supplies, uniforms, etc. For the poor in society, those with a third grade education are considered fortunate. For these reasons, education is our primary focus.
We currently tutor 23 students who are still in school, plus another 25-30 others. Thanks to a grant we received from Cross Catholic International, we have been able to expand this program, not only providing educational materials, but also offering nutritious food prior to tutoring sessions. The latter has greatly improved our attendance rates. Our children now show up early, with their plates, and of course, better food makes for more focus and readiness to learn.
Spirituality. We now offer a weekly holy hour, held on Friday afternoons and led by a nun from the local parish. We begin it with a prayer or two and perhaps a hymn. The main activity, however, is to read and discuss the scripture readings of the next Sunday’s liturgy. Not only has the number of regular participants increased, but we have been blessed by people of the neighborhood, who, on their own initiative, are now providing light refreshments—perhaps a sign that our efforts to build a sense of self-responsibility are paying off.
During the past year, donors financed our two spiritual pilgrimages. Last December, we took a group of neighbors to Esquipulas, where they could encounter the “Christo Negro,” a black crucifix believed to be the source of many miracles.
In early August, we held our second pilgrimage, this time taking about 25 neighbors over the mountain to Antigua. In the morning we visited music and coffee museums, both tourist attractions. On this trip, we treated participants to lunch on a friend’s patio. In the afternoon, Edwin Bejarano spoke about the life of Hermano Pedro, a local saint who was canonized on July 30, 2002 by Pope John Paul II. After his lecture, Bejarano took us on a walk through the city, visiting various places that had been important in the life of Hermano Pedro.
Other Projects. We remodeled a neighborhood volunteer’s home—a small, single-room house with leaking roof and dirt floor. A key member of a growing group of neighborhood volunteers, she is a single mother with four children. Although the changes we made would not be considered much of an improvement in the US, we were able to divide the space into a small kitchen and separate living area. (We have been blessed as well, because she is one of the cooks who prepare the food we provide during tutoring sessions.)
Our second project was to improve a local soccer field, smoothing out the terrain and providing some shelter over the bleachers. We also painted the seating area and goal posts.
Lastly, after several years of planning and development, our third project is coming to fruition. We are now exporting coffee to the US. We have two goals: 1) to use the major portion of our earnings to continue our education efforts, and 2) to improve the lives of the coffee growers, who, after years of being paid poorly, can finally realize a more just wage. They plan to use the funds to improve their farming methods and, consequently, the quality of the coffee.
For two weeks in mid December Patty Barneond de Garcia Tres, Affiliate Board member and liaison to Latin America, and Bob Short traveled to Bolivia and Peru to meet with Affiliates and Maryknollers in those two countries.
We recently received this story from Maryknoll Lay Missioner Curt Klueg in Kenya and were inspired by Curt’s creative use of appropriate technology to address poverty and assist with education.
Curt writes about Peter and Cynthia, students in the HOPE project, whose family of four (one mom and three children) live in a very simple 10x10’ room with one bed, no electricity, and no running water. In the evenings, the children have studies to complete and, like many Christian families in Kenya, they tend to spend some time every evening reading scripture and singing hymns together.
The Way & Maryknoll
Carol-Ann Black – NE Florida Chapter
A “mission trip” to a neighboring county? Northeast Florida Maryknoll Affiliates would say, “Yes, indeed.” On August 14, with no suitcases, no passports, we boarded our transports and headed from Jacksonville, FL, to Green Cove Springs, FL, perhaps an hour’s drive. Once there, we visited The Way, Free Medical Clinic. The Way embodies the meaning of mission. Here the uninsured, indigent, and undocumented can receive high quality medical care, for many, for the first time in years.
Agnes asked us at the gathering of Maryknoll Affiliates in Mwanza, Tanzania, “Have you ever heard of a seminary for girls?” Agnes Menard is the director of the St. Joseph Seminary for girls in Mwanza and is proud that she attended a college organized by the Maryknoll Sisters in Tanzania. Her work with the girls is one way she gives back. She invited us to visit her school the next day.
Bertha Haas accompanied Mary and Manny Hotchkiss in July 2013 throughout Mwanza, where she had been a Maryknoll Lay Missioner for about nine years. Besides attending the Mwanza Affiliate chapter gathering with us, Bertha had arranged for us to visit other Maryknollers and projects in Mwanza.
Fr. Gene Toland, MM, of Cochabamba invites you to a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) offered by MIT & the Presencing Institute.
Learn the principles and practices of Theory U. The Maryknoll Mission Formation Center in Cochabamba (where Toland is currently based) uses the TU methodology in a number of its programs. Innovative in its format and intention, this free course is potentially revolutionary. It helps organizational/system leaders focus and sharpen their leadership attention for transformative change in their local environments.
Who’s there? – Dave!
Dave who? – Dave Schaffner, the appeal letter guy.
Oh, I got your letter!
... (Where did I put it?)
I’m pleased to say that Maryknoll Affiliates have responded generously to our annual appeals, meeting the goal for the last four years. You should have received your letter in November, opening the Affiliate appeal year, which runs from November 1 to October 31 (Available at: Appeal Letter and Form) Our goal this year is $21,900, to fund the 2015 operating budget. This covers expenses such as travel, printing, and costs of communication. Our partners—Maryknoll Sisters, Fathers and Brothers, and Lay Missioners—provide the salary and benefits for our Executive Coordinator.
It was an honor and privilege to represent the Maryknoll Affiliates as an observer to the 13th General Chapter of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers held September 2014.
The entire Chapter proceedings were imbued with the spirit of prayer to discern what the Spirit is calling Maryknoll to today in her mission endeavors. Pope Francis, in Joy of the Gospel (#262) states that good discernment requires “the ability to cultivate an interior space which can give a Christian meaning to commitment and activity.” The Chapter meetings included an opening Eucharist and retreat, daily Morning Prayer, and a meditation from Joy of the Gospel. Each day closed with a Celebration of the Eucharist and special evening prayer services which recognized the Maryknoll martyrs, Fr. Gerard Donovan martyred in 1938 in China to Sr. Maura Clarke and Sr. Ita Ford martyred in 1990 in El Salvador.
Recently we have heard or read of to incredible violence by organizations founded to protect the people: the killing of young black men by police in Ferguson and elsewhere, the militarization of police organizations, a published report on the use of torture by the CIA, and the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico. This disturbing pattern of violence has spawned widespread demonstrations and pledges of investigative action. We need to be in solidarity with those who protest against and attempt to remedy this violence.
This translation of Cecilia Quijano’s article in the December, 2014, issue of No Tan Lejos del Horizonte* discusses the disappearance of the 43 students.
Bertha Haas – Portland Chapter A Review of: Jesus Was a Migrant, by Deirdre Cornell, Orbis (40% off all books for Affiliates!)
Need a book that is at once personal and theological? Or both easy reading and extremely challenging? Both academic and intimate? This is the book for you.
For all those who see “home” and all it means Disappear behind them;
For all those who cannot see a home In the days ahead of them;
For all those who dwell in Daily insecurity;