The latest news about the Maryknoll Affiliates
The Theme for MAC2020 is Witnessing Love in The Interim Time.
In October, 2019 Russ Feldmeier MM, who will be with us at the MAC, attended the Religious Formation Conference in Louisville. Russ was excited to report that the title of the keynote presentation, by Rev. Bryan Massingale was: Courage for An Interim Time That Does Not Yet Know Its Name. Hearing that let those of us on the MAC2020 team know (as we had suspected) that we were onto something when we chose the theme & title over a year ago. In a recent address to an Italian youth gathering, Pope Francis expressed the same understanding when he declared that we are not living in an “era of change,” but rather “a change of eras.”
We on the MAC team are very much looking forward to hearing our keynote presenter Nancy Sylvester IHM, who, utilizing different dynamics, will speak to the MAC theme in her presentation on The Transformative Power of Love. In her synopsis Nancy begins… How do we witness to love in a time of chaos when all of structures and systems are breaking down? How do we witness to Love in a time when polarities continue to separate us – as family, friends, citizens and members of the planetary community? To read more, go to: https://www.mkmac.org/details and scroll to Nancy’s synopsis aside her photo.
Bryan Massingale, priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, is a professor of theological and social ethics at Fordham University in New York. He is the author of Racial Justice and the Catholic Church (Orbis, 2010).
MAC2020 - during the warm days of early summer (June 25 – 28) is now just a little over 5 months away. While a few elements are still in progress, most is complete. Everything you need to know is on the MAC website: www.mkmac.org. Just scroll down or click on “English” or “Español” at the top and registration, schedule and more will drop down. Double occupancy is $360 and includes every aspect of the Conference - all activities, room, food, materials. As single occupancy rooms ($410) have been going faster than anticipated, we’ve taken that option off until we can assess if more are still available. In addition to the Keynote speaker, there are six workshops and a special session with invited young adults. Agnes Walsh, along with several other members from the Long Island Chapter have already submitted an outline for prayer, reflection and liturgy.
The new Affiliate website is coming together well. As we are waiting for better quality photos and are also adding new features, the anticipated January launch will be put off for about a month. It will be more outward focused than our previous two websites and much easier/simpler to scroll through. COMING SOON
Article translated from the Boletín Mensual (enero) of the Guatemala Affiliate Chapter. Original Spanish version follows. Very Moving 2.48 minute follows at the end.
We celebrate moments of community - revealed in a shared meal wherein we give ourselves to each other.
Since the end of last year Sister Helen Werner MM has been in a celebratory mode knowing that on January 5, 2020 she will celebrate her 100th birthday. WOW! BRAVO Sister Helen! We thank God for her life, for her wisdom, her love for all people, especially the vulnerable in society and those who live in Lemoa. Our gratitude to her for coming to Guatemala after the internal armed conflict and being a support through her prayers and actions for the community of Lemoa, El Quiché is immense. She is very happy to celebrate her birthday with different groups. On Saturday, February 22, we will celebrate Sr. Helen’s birthday with the Guatemala Chapter at our monthly meeting. More information will follow about that day and in the next Newsletter (No Tan Lejos del Horizonte – NTLH).
May joy and solidarity lead us to recognize ourselves as an alive community of human persons made by God and Nature, who make explicit the reality of Living Well (Buen Vivir) to create a better world.
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Celebrar momentos comunitarios y manifestar en la comida nuestra entrega de unos con otros.
Desde finales del año pasado Sister Helen Werner ha estado celebrando que el 5 de enero cumple un CENTENARIO DE AÑOS. ¡WOW! ¡BRAVO por Sister Helen! Damos Gracias a Dios por su vida, por su sabiduría, su amor a todas las personas, especialmente a los vulnerables de la sociedad y quienes viven en Lemoa. Nuestra gratitud a ella por venir a Guatemala después del conflicto armado interno y ser un apoyo desde sus oraciones y acciones para la comunidad de Lemoa, El Quiché. Está muy contenta de celebrar con diferentes grupos su cumpleaños. El sábado 22 de febrero lo celebrará con el Capítulo Guatemala en nuestra reunión mensual. Aparte el día y en el próximo Boletín recibirá mayor información.
Que la alegría y la solidaridad nos lleve a reconocernos como una comunidad de seres vivos hechos por Dios y la Naturaleza que hacemos realidad el Buen Vivir al crear un mundo mejor.
Video of Sr. Helen: https://vimeo.com/383136769
In dangerous times like these, . . . we have to produce generations of dedicated, courageous, and creative contemplative activists who will join God to bring radical healing and change to this damaged world, before it’s too late. We need this movement—not someday, maybe, but right now, definitely. (Brian McLaren)
Many of us Affiliates/Maryknollers receive Richard Rohr’s meditations each day. [So do well over 300,000 others.]. I’m pretty sure too that many of us, each in her/his way, wonder if our Church, if Christianity can be a spiritually transformative force in the world… as it once was. McLaren points out three shifts in Christianity that will need to take place for it to be a truly transformative force. Click on the link to see the full meditation for January 3, 2020: https://outlook.live.com/mail/0/deeplink?version=2019122303.02&popoutv2=1
Affiliate Board member, Ginny McEvoy spotted this recent article from Nancy Sylvester, our MAC2020 keynote presenter . In it Nancy expresses her fear about what she is seeing in our present day culture.
Her article begins:
If we ever needed the Incarnation, we need it today. As the year draws to a close, I can't help but feel sad and a bit fearful for our future. Something seems to be infecting us as a people.
There seems to be a blindness and a deafness to see and hear each other as we truly are and to understand our place within the whole Earth community. Because we can't see or hear, we are stuck right where we are and no amount of facts, moral persuasion or even personal experience of another's suffering is enough to move us.
To read Nancy's article, go to: https://www.globalsistersreport.org/news/how-are-you-living-incarnation
Sharing a beautiful Christmas message from the Sisters' Vocation Team
Dear Affiliates Family,
May Jesus, the Reason of this Season continue to grant you the graces you need, especially in the coming year 2020. Know we hold you and your family close in our prayers. We are one with you as you journey lovingly in the Grace-filled mission of Jesus Christ, where the Holy Spirit patiently teaching each one of us the art of Love. Mother Mary Joseph often spoke of the Maryknoll Spirit “as being a reflection of the Love of God – nothing more nothing less than that – a reflection of the Love of God.” (MMJ 1932) Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Joyful New Year.
With love and Prayers, Maureen Hanahoe Gloria Ardenio Agnes Vocation Co-Directors
Could it be serendipity, a playful gesture from the Spirit, or…?
Here is a quote from Gail’s that appears in the article, "As a Maryknoll Affiliate, I am proud to be part of this ministry to vulnerable people from whom I learn so much."—Gail Kelley
Thank you, Good Woman!! Your commitment inspires us.
The MAC 2020 team – Ann & Jim Coady, Ginny McEvoy, Celine Woznica and Bob Short – continue to develop the Conference details – small and large. At our last gathering we spoke about the Saturday morning session with young people (20’s & 30’s) present. We believe it will be an especially exciting and important session for all of us... How do we of different generations understand and experience commitment, rules, Church (any institution), mission, authority, religion, the digital world, sexuality, vocation, and more?
Registration – people have begun signing up for MAC2020. Several have have signed up for a single room ($410). That’s perfectly find. However, as it will limit the number of participants, there is a limited number available of single rooms available. Of course, this does not apply to couples. Gracias.
To register, or simply get a sense of the keynote, workshops, schedule or overall flow, go to: www.mkmac.org
After a little over 6 years with the present website (that served us well), we are in the process of creating a new one for the years ahead. The new website will have a different look and, in several areas, a different focus. However, the four pillars – Spirituality, Community, Global Vision & Action – which have always been a core part of the Affiliate commitment will be given even more emphasis – especially through visual renditions. To do this, we’re asking for photos or brief videos from all our chapters.
Thanks very much!!
Ron Covey, Affiliate from both the Houston and Guatemala Chapters, has been involved with the Caminando Por La Paz, initiative (see description below) for many years now - traveling from the Houston area to Guatemala many times each year. Several Affiliate chapters and individuals purchase Family Coffee each year. It's premium coffee. If you'd like to help out, go to: https://www.fathertomsfamilycoffee.org/
Family Coffee is a project of Missioners Caminando Por La Paz - Guatemala..The project was founded by Maryknoll Mission Father Thomas Goekler ,MM. Maryknoll affiliates continue various projects in Guatemala City including an Education Program which places marginalized youth in local schools and universities. Although we receive donations from a small core of dedicated donors we continuously strive to find helping individuals. When these individuals purchase our coffee they provide materials for our tutoring sessions that we offer to the children we serve. The parents of many of these poor kids can not afford to offer then any other educational opportunity.
The sale of Family Coffee provides funding to our partners "Productores de café la familia" The group grows this premium coffee in Yauner, San Pedro, Copan, Honduras. They grow the coffee at an altitude of 1,400 meters (1,593 feet) an excellent altitude for growing coffee.
The Maryknoll Sisters Mission Institute
During the Joint Meeting of the Affiliate Board and Regional Coordinators, Sr. Pet Donovan MM was invited in to talk with us about the Mission Institute. Peg filled us in on something several of us already knew – The Maryknoll Mission Institute is a unique and incredibly valuable find for anyone who would like to get an in-depth look at global mission, spirituality, theology and so much else. Peg also pointed out that there is a scholarship available for any Affiliate who requests it to attend.
To learn more about programs for the upcoming programs, go the website at: https://www.maryknollsisters.org/mission-institute/missioninstitute/
State of the Heart - Affiliate Joint Meeting - November, 2019
The Forum beckons us once again!
Affiliate Board members and Regional Coordinators once again gathered together in the Forum, the home of the Maryknoll Sisters Mission Institute in Ossining, NY. We return to this place each year. In a way, it beckons us. The spirit present in this space draws us to it. For us, the Forum is the locus where the four pillars come together to help guide us in our discernment. It is here we come together to pray, to share, to dialogue and to be one with all Affiliates.
I am writing to share with you my reflections on some of the more important highlights of our gathering.
The focus of this meeting by design was largely a look at ourselves, the leadership of the Affiliates, Board members and Regional Coordinators together, but in the context of our relationship with the Affiliate movement. As the Affiliate leaders, we are called to “discern how to best guide the Affiliate movement.” Please repeat that and take some time to ponder it. Put yourself in my or in another leadership position. What does this statement mean to you? What would you do if you had this responsibility? These were some of questions I asked those of us gathered to ponder.
The Affiliates are in no way, shape or form a hierarchical organization in the way that most organizations are; typically visualized in the shape of a pyramid. But the Affiliates have no head. I and other Board members are not the head. Bob Short, as the current Executive Coordinator is not the head. We, individually or collectively hold no authority over any Affiliate or Chapter. We instead are called to be servant-leaders. So, what does that mean? In simple terms, it means we flip the pyramid upside-down. It means we serve and support the Affiliate movement. It does sound simple enough on the face of it. But again, I ask you to put yourself in my or any leadership position and think about this more deeply. How would you do this? What would this look like?
Throughout the duration of this meeting, I had the great pleasure of talking with many Sisters and other people during our very limited free time and at meals, and I can’t tell you how many times it was expressed to me how they wouldn’t want my “job!” Hmm, what do I do with that? Interestingly, I read just very recently that to be a servant can be a thankless job, full of ungracious demands and humbling circumstances. Perhaps their expressions to me reflected this understanding of servant-leader and their perception of the difficulties/challenges this position faces.
“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 is from the recent LCWR conference. It struck me as very relevant for Affiliate leadership, and so I shared and reflected upon it at our joint meeting. It served somewhat as an outline for our meeting, as well. This quote identifies three very important tasks for us–to listen, to discern and to respond. For me the most important and what must be foundational to the other two is listening; listening through engagement and dialogue. If we are not doing this, then on what basis can we even consider making decisions or taking action that appropriately and effectively support of the Affiliates? Wouldn’t you agree that those of us with the responsibility to guide, serve and support the Affiliates must have a pretty good awareness and understanding of the movement, including what is happening in it–the long notes? And likely the best way to do this is through engagement and dialogue between Affiliates and leadership, right?
At the Celebration Mass on Sunday (11/10/19) of the Affiliate Joint Meeting of the Board and Regional Coordinators, Co-founder of the Affiliate movement, Sister Ellen McDonald MM gave the homily. Those of us who were lucky enough to be there couldn't help but feel that this was a special moment in our history. Ellen's homily follows:
When I was invited to give today’s reflection, I mistakenly thought it was for the closing liturgy of the Affiliate Board and Regionals Meeting this weekend, that is, with Fr. Russ and the Affiliates who are here. Only later did I understand that this Sunday’s community liturgy was the “closing liturgy” being referred to. However, I had agreed because of the reference to the Affiliates and that had not changed. The Affiliates have been and are a great learning vehicle in my life. Struggling with a homily for and with them was sure to be another learning experience. I also express my gratitude to them by taking seriously my prayer ministry assignment which is the Affiliates.
Going now to today’s readings, it is safe to say that the pre-Advent scripture texts we just heard are all about eschatology – the last things, as we say. Not an easy topic to talk about! So I began by looking for connections among the readings. Certainly in both the texts from 2nd Maccabees and from Luke’s Gospel, the theme of resurrection is prominent. While I hold a firm belief in the resurrection, I am not sure I can say much more about it. The question put to Jesus about the resurrection highlights the fact that it is not easy to get our mind around this topic. Jesus’ response that God is the God of the living, not of the dead, is not an immediate help for a questioning mind. No doubt a spiritual director would tell me to let go of my human way of thinking and let God be God.
The theme of afterlife continues in the psalm, beginning with the words, “when your glory comes, Lord.” And part of the reason Paul was writing to the Thessalonians was because some of the believers there were not working because they thought the Lord’s coming was imminent. They were distorting the normal development of Christian life.
My preference in all this was to recognize the pre-Advent texts as calling us, among other things, to go back to thinking about our personal “bigger” vision: what are we willing to live for? perhaps willing to die for? (as our own Sister-martyr, Ita Ford, wrote to her niece.) I felt myself drawn to this letter of Paul’s, said to be the oldest writing of the Christian Testament. Paul had been rejected by the Jews in Philippi when he dared to direct his preaching to the so-called “pagans” in Thessalonia. There he succeeds in forming a community. However, after three months a riot breaks out and Paul is forced again to flee the area. His big concern now is what is going to happen to these recent converts to whom he had taught the mere basics of Christian life? With this background, I discovered an interest in reading both letters to the Thessalonians and wondering why they are given such prominence at this time in our Liturgical year. (Last week we heard from 2 Thess l, this week from 2:2, and next week will be 2:3.) I also had the unholy thought that neither Jim Madden nor I ever had three months to spend with any newly founded Affiliate Chapter!
Below is a beautiful letter of support from newly installed Cardinal Ramazzini. It tell us something about the Cardinal and the commitment of the members of Guatemala Chapter. This is a translation from the Spanish. Some of the formatting could not be carried over to this site.
Guatemala of the Assumption, October 2019
We celebrate and are in solidarity with you through your struggle, Monsignor Álvaro Ramazzini
"If I say that I love God, I have to prove it through love of neighbor and this love means fighting for justice." Bishop Ramazzini
The Guatemalan Chapter of Maryknoll Affiliates, linked to the Maryknoll Affiliates Movement based in the United States and one of the four entities that make up the Maryknoll family, along with priests and brothers, sisters and lay missionaries; today we embrace a hope that celebrates life and strengthens our faith by receiving the news that on October 5, Monsignor (Bishop) Ramazzini was elevated to the College of Cardinals of the Catholic Church.
Thank you, Monsignor, for your defense of the territory and for the defense of those who in this country are invisible to the powerful. Thank you for accompanying the social justice struggle in a country where it is difficult for us to find the pieces of the justice puzzle. Thank you for fighting for the rights of those who do not live, but who survive in this land where power does not assume their history.
We recognize that his studies of Theology in Italy, being appointed Bishop of San Marcos and later of Huehuetenango - far from separating him from reality, motivated him to tour the area and, by becoming aware of the amount of impoverished people, he developing a social pastoral that responds to hunger, lack of education, employment and health; and, promotes the defense of the human rights of native peoples, peasants and migrants. His journey did not stop and he created the Peace and Ecology Commission of the diocese of San Marcos, from where the water quality of the rivers and births around the Marlin mine is monitored.