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.
Though not a typical post, this TED talk seems especially appropriate for our time. Anand Giridharadas, former writer for the New Your Times, writes about people and cultures caught amid the great forces of our time. The talk is moving, important and very well presented.
Susan Gunn, Executive Director of Maryknoll's Office of Global Concerns (MOGC) and presenter of the the MAC workshop - Influencing Public Policy - provided this brief synopsis of her workshop:
Beginning with an acknowledgement of the signs of the times – the deep polarization we are experiencing – and then pretty quickly go into how we are going about public policy work on our three priority issues amid that tension. Our three priority issues are care for refugees and migrants, care for the environment, and promoting peace and nonviolence. Ending with a time for questions and dialogue.
To read more about Susan, the other 4 workshops and other events at MAC 2020, see the website at: www.mkmac.org.
Registration is open and sign-ups have already begun.
For the GO FORTH Generation
Discover Your Neighbor (DYN) offers unique materials and lessons to inspire young people to "Go Forth" as agents of faith, love, and service
Kevin McCarthy, of Maryknoll’s Church Engagement Department as well as the Affiliate Coordinator for the Springfield, MA Chapter, would like to make Affiliates aware of this very dynamic initiative that is designed specifically for globally-minded educators who want to guide their students toward making a difference in their world! The Heading for the lesson plans is, Air Has No Borders and includes topics on Care of Creation, Economic Justice, Go Forth and Migration.
For more information, go to: https://discoveryourneighbor.org/
Please consider sharing this with your local parish or other communities with whom you relate.
In the last few months several people have written to ask about joining a chapter. Three have already done so. One person is presently looking into starting a new chapter in the southeast. All good news.
Directives are in place about how to facilitate processes for joining and starting a chapter. With regard to joining a chapter, some, though not all, chapters have incorporated these advices. Three of the primary components are listed below.
MARYKNOLL AFFILIATES INITIAL FORMATION PROCESS
We would like to animate, inform and engage participants in the formative process in order to help them discern if the Maryknoll Affiliate world and its mission is a place in which they can find a spiritual home. This initial formation is a process of mutual discovery.
An “Accompaniment Person” will be identified to assist in the formation process. This would potentially be a Regional Coordinator or Maryknoll Affiliate in the area. The Accompaniment Person would serve as the contact for the potential Chapter, by answering any questions, working with them during the formation process and linking the people in the potential Chapter to any needed resources.
The formation process includes five core themes. It provides a framework to begin an ongoing journey of exploration wherein the group grows in appreciation of and commitment to our Maryknoll Affiliate Mission as lived out in the four pillars of Spirituality, Community, Global Vision and Action.
The first blog post on the MAC2020 website is a recent article by the Keynote Speaker, Nancy Sylvester IHM. It's entitled, "An Early Morning Contemplative Ride". Go to: www.mkmac.org and click on blog - in English or Spanish. The first Registrations already came in last week. Go to the website to register, or to just get a better sense of what the Conference offers.
As stated in the Maryknoll Affiliates Organization document: The Affiliate Board is the authoritative body that coordinates and unifies the Maryknoll Affiliates.
Two sentences in the Roles & Responsibilities document give a deeper and more spirited description: In Seeking to be faithful to servant leadership, the Board commits to engage in deep listening with the wider Affiliate movement, to bring the voices at the margins to the center and to always seek the greater good, both within and beyond our global movement.
The Affiliate Board meets twice a year at Maryknoll to plan, reflect and share mutual camaraderie together. It’s a wonderful opportunity to come together with others (including representatives of the Sisters, Lay Missioners, Fathers & Brothers on the Board) to help the Affiliate movement remain vital, faithful and moving forward.
Ann Carr wrote: Not sure if you have been following the Amazon Synod, but I believe this is a beautiful, important moment for our church. Could we consider joining our brothers and sisters in the Amazon in prayer during this important time?
Maryknollers who have worked with indigenous peoples over the years have taught me to respect their wisdom and the great gifts they have to offer us. Now more than ever, with our planet on fire and in peril, I hope we can hope our hearts and consciousness to receive their many gifts. Despite some of the backlash and stirrings of opposition, I believe (hope) that the spirit of the holy is very much with the church of the Amazon and it feels important to stand with them in joy and solidarity.
Thank you Ann.
To get more information go to: https://catholicclimatemovement.global/amazon-synod/
Initial comments & some things to look for:
Check out the site now: www.mkmac.org