Not So Far Afield is a bimonthly publication of the Maryknoll Affiliates. The name is a play on the title of the original Maryknoll Magazine: The Field Afar.
You may subscribe to Not So Far Afield by email or to be notified when it is posted on our website.
You may also download PDF versions of Not So Far Afield here.
I am very grateful that my life has been influenced by Maryknoll, but I hadn’t thought how I might also have affected Maryknoll. Ellen McDonald, MM, said in 1994, “We [Maryknoll] need those of you who have been touched by Maryknoll and have taken Maryknoll’s call out to places we did not dream of.”
In carrying Maryknoll to new places, this issue touches on all four pillars of the Maryknoll Affiliates: Spirituality, Community, Global Vision, and Action. John Moritz shares a new paradigm for a religious community. Renate Schneider continues hoping and working for Haiti.
We in North America are stretched by the Affiliates in Central and South America. See “Circular Economy” and “Peru March For Nonviolence." Like the Perú Affiliates, we want a Church of nonviolence. In NE Florida, the Williams work in prisons, and others write letters, listen, and dialogue. Rich Lessard especially asks us to dialogue with Affiliate leadership; he wants to listen and explore with us our Affiliate identity. We need connection and communication through engagement and dialogue.
Articles in this issue:
Co-Meditation: A Sacramental Experience – "I participate in this communal gift of self, a very real communication of “I am the group, the group is me.”—John Moritz
Who is Maryknoll? – "We need those of you who have been touched by Maryknoll and have taken Maryknoll’s call out to places we did not dream of."—Sr. Ellen McDonald, MM
!Presente! – "There were no plans for civil disobedience this year but we were all asked to commit to the principles of nonviolence."—Manny Hotchkiss
Circular Economy: A Practice for Good Living – "At present, the overall economy is stuck in a system in which everything seems to favor the linear model of production-consumption-waste."—Marcela Gereda
Perú March for Nonviolence – "This year, the march was attended by more than 800 people, including school children, neighbors, and leaders of the sector."—Carlos Apcho
Haiti in Turmoil – "The worst was to be a prisoner in my own house, hesitant to venture out."—Renate Schneider
Deported to Cambodia! – "His knowledge of the written and spoken Cambodian language and culture was very limited."—Marie Wren
Crossing Borders and Coming Together – "We hope that they will also visit us and build a connection with our chapter."—Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss
Catholic Nonviolence Initiative - "The Catholic Nonviolence Initiative asks that we no longer use or teach “just war theory.”
A Letter to Pope Francis – "We struggle to be Church and value your leadership."
Meeting Topic: Addiction – "Many products and activities are potentially addictive, not just those we traditionally think of as vices..."—Shelby Miller
Learn more about your Maryknoll Affiliate Board and Executive Coordinator in these articles:
And enjoy these features:
If you are more comfortable reading the Not So Far Afield in its print form, you may download a pdf of the January/February 2020 issue.
The half-day workshop, Quo Vadis – Where Are You Going?....The Next Step, consists of exercises to assist individuals in debriefing any cross-cultural immersion experiences they may have had—not just international, but also socio-economic or ethnic or religious encounters within their own country. Reflective, inspiring, and practical all at the same time, Quo Vadis helps participants shape their unfolding future.
Quo Vadis can benefit existing sending organizations:
Having enlisted the help of the Maryknoll Affiliate Board and Regional Coordinators in marketing Quo Vadis, I now ask all of you to contact groups you know like those described above.
Whatever you can do or dream,
you can begin it.
Boldness has genius, power & magic in it.
After the November 2019 Affiliate Board meeting, Board Chair Rich Lessard reflected on Maryknoll Affiliate leadership.*
“The work of leaders involves hearing and identifying the long notes which play out in daily life, and which point to what is happening at a deeper level, resulting in a discerned response.” This quote (from Sr. Patricia Murray, IBVM) identifies three very important tasks: to listen, to discern, and to respond. For me, the most important ... is listening: …. through engagement and dialogue.
Please go to State of the Heart - Joint Meeting November 2019 to read more from Rich on connection and communication, i.e. engagement and dialogue, and our exploration of Affiliate identity and unity.
* Rich’s reflection also appeared in the emailed “Maryknoll Affiliate Website Updates for 11/25/2019”
Don’t forget our Maryknoll Affiliate Conference – MAC 2020
Thursday – Sunday, June 25-28
Graymoor Spiritual Center
Garrison, New York
Start the New Year right by registering to attend!
Visit www.mkmac.org for more information.
At Northeast Florida Chapter’s recent meeting, David Courtwright, Affiliate Shelby Miller’s husband, spoke about his 2019 book, The Age of Addiction: How Bad Habits Became Big Business.* David’s scholarship has centered on the history of addiction in the US and worldwide.
Using illustrations and eliciting comments from the group, he traced how humans searched for new and potentially dangerous pleasures, from honey sought by cave dwellers to today’s digital technology and highly processed food. Many products and activities are potentially addictive, not just those we traditionally think of as vices: alcohol, gambling, prostitution, pornography, and drugs. Today, we face compulsive overeating, machine gambling, excessive social-media use, and even habitual tanning. These have medical and social costs and potential for addiction.
What is an addiction? It is a vice that has become unusually strong, preoccupying and damaging. An addiction is usually a subset of vice, and a vice is usually a subset of pleasure. Addictions cause harm. What counts as a pleasure, vice or addiction changes with time, culture and technology. For example, in Europe and the Americas sugar-rich food is being redefined as a vice, while the traditional vice of marijuana use is becoming a commercial pleasure though a contested one. Tobacco products are another example. Through global public health counter-offensives, cigarette use has declined. However, other forms of excessive consumption and addiction continue with the help of global industries, governments, and criminal organizations.
Is there anything we can do? Age restrictions on certain products help, but we must learn how products are enhanced to make us unwilling consumers.
After the talk, Mary Moritz said, “It was very meaningful to think of all the ways we can become addicted. It reminds us to be mindful of what we do and why we do it. David said that our brains actually get changed by addiction so that we need more and more of what we are addicted to in order to be satisfied.”
*An on-line book forum, ROROTOKO, describes the book and explains why David wrote it. See http://rorotoko.com/interview/20191204_courtwright_david_on_book_age_addiction_bad_habits_big_business/?page=1
Imagine the one billion Catholics worldwide insisting that the just war theory is against our religion. Not only that, we won’t allow capital punishment to be done in our name. I had that vision after Marie Dennis joined the closing session of our Cultivating Nonviolence group. She told us about the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative (CNI) formed by Pax Christi, our own Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns, and other Catholic organizations.
The CNI website, https://nonviolencejustpeace.net, gives information about their meetings and the workshop, 2019 Path of Nonviolence: Towards a Culture of Peace, held at the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
The Catholic Nonviolence Initiative asks that we
A two page statement from the April 2019 meeting (PCI-CNI Statement from Path of Nonviolence workshop 2019) lists many efforts we could participate in. At the closing session of our Cultivating Nonviolence group, we committed to asking our local Catholic colleges to implement nonviolence training in their curricula, and we made or repeated the Vow of Nonviolence (https://paxchristiusa.org/resources/vow-of-nonviolence/). Join us in our New Year’s resolutions to help all to live in nonviolence.
Ken Butigan, a nonviolence trainer with Pace e Bene, suggested that the participants of our Cultivating Nonviolence study group write a letter to Pope Francis asking the pope for an encyclical on nonviolence.
We struggle to be Church and value your leadership. You wrote, “In our complex and violent world, it is truly a formidable undertaking to work for peace by living the practice of nonviolence.” in a message to participants in the “Nonviolence and Just Peace” conference in Rome in 2016.
We are inspired and challenged whenever we come together with Affiliates. We try to contact Affiliate chapters or Maryknollers wherever we travel. The Hospitality List maintained by Bob Short shows that many Affiliates and Chapters welcome visitors. Recently, Mary and John Moritz in Jacksonville, Florida, arranged for us to join them and a couple from their chapter, Mary Morris Williams and Bryan Williams, for a casual dinner in the Moritz home.
Why can’t I allow my own love and self-gift and Christlikeness.
Why do we deny our saintliness?
It is destructive to compare myself with others, both when I seem better and when I seem worse. I seem to be most me when I am alone doing nothing. Then I cannot compare.
Help me, Jesus, to be who I am, not who I imagine others want me to be.
I sometimes try to be someone who does not exist.
Recently, I was privileged to take a Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Mission Immersion trip to Taiwan and Cambodia. The North Bay Affiliate Chapter has been involved in immigration issues and has been helping refugee families, so an interaction with an organization in Cambodia named Khmer Vulnerability Aid Organization (KVAO) assisting deportees from the US was of particular interest. Maryknoll Sister Len Montiel was our tour leader for Cambodia, and she had been on the Board of Directors of KVAO.
Generally, the deportees came to the US as refugees, were convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, often in their younger years, had served their time in prison, and were living productive lives with families. They are usually permanent residents, and some may have failed to complete paperwork to become citizens (which they regret) and then are served with deportation orders. The numbers have grown in recent years. The agency has helped 743 deportees since its founding in 2002, and 65-70% of them are now working. In 2018, 110 Cambodians were deported, and that number was expected to rise to 200 in 2019.
Renate, a Maryknoll Affiliate, has been living and working in Haiti for 22 years.
I just recently decided to return to Chicago, because life had become almost unbearable for me in Jeremie, Haiti. All of the constraints of living under the conditions in Jeremie have crept up on me gradually. But towards the end, it was becoming more than I could bear. The worst was to be a prisoner in my own house, hesitant to venture out.
For the seventh consecutive year, the Affiliate Chapters of San Francisco, Niño Jesús and Santa Rosa de Peru, together with a parish group, celebrate the International Day of Nonviolence on October 2nd. We march through the streets of Pamplona Alta, in the district of San Juan Miraflores, in southern Lima. This year, the march was attended by more than 800 people, including school children, neighbors, and leaders of the sector.
Pope Francis, in his Encyclical Laudato Si, calls on us to create a different scale of human values, to found a new humanism, that of Good Living, which departs from the logic of the extractivist economy and accommodates a new way of relating to each other and to the Earth. This new way of connecting must protect and promote both human rights and the rights of Mother Earth.
The Pope points out that today’s way of life is not sustainable for the Earth. Good Living calls us to establish a different relationship with the Earth, within the framework of fair wages, work, and decent life for all; It implies changing the rules of the game between us and nature to preserve our “Common House.” The amount of waste we produce today is not sustainable. Hence, waste management and the way we produce food are key elements of Good Living and of Pope Francis’s call to establish a new relationship with the earth.
On the 30th Anniversary of the massacre of five Jesuits and their housekeeper and her daughter at the University of Central America (UCA), we participated in the SOA Watch weekend in Columbus, GA. We were especially motivated to attend because we had participated in a Maryknoll Lay Missioner-led trip to the UCA in El Salvador and had seen where the Jesuits were brutally assassinated. SOA Watch began when it was learned that 19 graduates of the SOA, the School of the Americas at Fort Benning US Army base in Columbus, GA, were involved in the murder of the Jesuits in their UCA residences.