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Thursday, 27 June 2019 03:50

Staying Connected

Written by Santa Orlando
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Santa Orlando – Albany Chapter

One of the most important things we can do as Affiliates is to stay connected—to our local communities, to Maryknoll Sisters, Fathers, Brothers, Lay Missioners and to other Affiliate chapters. It is through these connections that we experience the charism of Maryknoll. Proximity to Maryknoll in Ossining, New York, has allowed many of the Albany chapter members to form ongoing relationships with Maryknollers who reside there, but proximity is only one aspect of forming relationships.

At our May chapter meeting, the Albany Chapter Skyped with the Guatemala Chapter. This had been previously arranged via a series of emails to coordinate a common meeting time. Both groups were looking forward to this meeting to reconnect with Affiliates we had met at MAC 2017 or at other times. Laughter was shared together as we adjusted the cameras to focus on the Affiliates, not on the ceiling! We prayed together and wished the Guatemala Chapter a Happy 10th  Anniversary by providing them with a cake and candles—which we enjoyed for them. We briefly shared what our chapters do throughout the year, acknowledging differences and commonalities. It was a joyful meeting and we plan on continuing this practice in the future.

Affiliate Ron Covey from Houston/Guatemala was also in our area during the month of May. The Albany chapter has been selling Affiliate-run Family Coffee which benefits Caminando Por La Paz (a Catholic Worker House focused on education for children in inner-city Guatemala) since 2015. Ron’s visit did not coincide with an Affiliate meeting, but some of us gathered to share a meal, support, and community.

     Sr. Connie Pospisil
     Fr. John Spain

Sisters Connie Pospisil, MM, and Helen Werner, MM, from Lemoa, Guatemala visited us in June. Our chapter has been in relationship with them since 2009, and we visit whenever they are back at Maryknoll for renewal. We also stay in contact via personal Skype conversations, but nothing takes the place of a face- to-face visit to update us on the current programs in Lemoa. Father John Spain, MM, who is a native of nearby Troy, New York, also visited in June. On a recent visit to El Salvador, I extended the invitation, and we smoothed out the dates via email. Chapter members were able to learn about the current situation in El Salvador and appreciate its complexity. It was wonderful to have representatives from the Sisters and Fathers with us.

Many or us maintain a strong, ongoing connection with Maryknoll Lay Missioner Peg Vamosy, but she visits in July when our chapter doesn’t meet.  Since I know when Peg is coming to the area, I plan to assist and support her at one of her church talks. Typically, we also arrange a luncheon or dinner to catch up with Peg while she is in the area. I was in El Salvador with Peg for Holy Week this year—a wonderful experience which included visits to the ministries of two other Lay Missioners and Easter dinner with the El Salvador Maryknoll family. It was a privilege to witness the work they do and the camaraderie among them.

Santa with the El Salvador Maryknoll family at Easter

We are all part of a global community. Our individual mission is to try to bridge the illusion of separateness by reaching out to others. The Albany Chapter continues to be inspired and blessed by our Maryknoll family connections. We will continue to do our best to be catalysts and conduits of communication. Affiliates are called to Relationship!

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