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Monday, November 30, 2009

My oldest MK connection?

FR. RUSS FELDMEIER (Korea) blew into town and it was good to see him, although conflicting schedules preclude our sitting down and hobnobbing about developments in "Uri Nara" until Thursday.

I've known Russ longer than any other Maryknoller because he and I were Peace Corps Volunteers together in the early 1970s teaching English at Kyung-buk University in Taegu. Actually, with his name and red hair, for the longest time I thought he was Jewish. This made me all the more confused when I'd run into him at Sunday Mass in the K-2 Air Force chapel.

He joined the Peace Corps before me but I joined Maryknoll before him, making for a convoluted relationship in Korean which emphasizes who is the younger or older "brother." In any event, he and I are just two returned Peace Corps Volunteers who went into Maryknoll or other religious groups. Korean Volunteers Ted Dziack and Jim Nickoloff became Jesuits. Fathers Dennis Moorman and the late Dennis Dunne came to us after service in Burkina Faso and Bolivia.

There has always been a symbiotic relationship between Peace Corps and Maryknoll. Certainly the spirit of President Kennedy inspired my generation to serve. Once overseas, the Maryknoll hands-on model of mission attracted many Catholics PCVs to enter religious life.

How can we get the Maryknoll message out to Catholics serving in the Peace Corps? There is a vineyard awaiting harvest.

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