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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Renewal, reform or rehash?

OUR 100th ANNIVERSARY is just a year away and the interest and range of emotions and excitement around the Knoll these days goes all the way from A to B. We know for sure that the special Mass commissioned by "On Eagle's Wings" composer Michael Joncas is complete, even using the as-yet-to-be-approved revisions in the English liturgy. Has the date of its debut performance been set?

Actually, regarding anything articles, prayers or pictures to appear in MARYKNOLL or Revista Maryknoll magazines, there are only nine months left, since the January 2011 issue must be finished by September 2010.

But I'm sure everything will be wonderful and memorable.

The question bounced about at many a meal in the dining room for many months now is: will this be an opportunity for more than just an elaborate and extended party? Will it be a rebirth or a swan song?

Fr. Mike Zunno, a delegate at the last Chapter, looks for ideas or suggestions as to what, if anything, we can do to bring about the renewal of Maryknoll.

"The Chapter and this Council made the mistake of treating Maryknollers like adults," he has said on more than one occasion.

He elaborates: "They want us to take the initiative and not wait for leadership to tell us what to do."

This is part of the Maryknoll paradox: some guys won't do anything that isn't sanctioned from on high, yet at the same time, for many good ideas, being officially pushed by leadership is the kiss of death. Those in leadership know the best ideas (at least those with the best chance for succeeding) come from below.

Some of the renewal (PTR) groups have continued to meet faithfully since before the last Chapter, but without networking with other groups how do these impact the Society as a whole?

At the Knoll we do get between two and ten men at Morning and Evening Prayer using the Christian Prayer breviary every weekday, but that's not a tenth of the guys in residence at the Knoll. Weekly Rosary for vocations each Monday draws a dozen guys. Community Masses are hit and miss. Many guys are retired or semi-retired and the operative and repeated syllables are TIRED.

Many have expressed hope that the Centennial celebrations don't emphasize the past at the expense of the future.

Granted the breviary, the rosary and yes, even the cassock, are part of Maryknoll's glorious past, where and what are the fresh ideas for the future?

Mike Zunno cuts to the chase by raising the provocative question: "What exactly is Maryknoll's mission going forward?"

Answer that and the rest should fall into place. Alas, raising this question only around the salad bar won't get us much beyond the feta cheese. We need to involve all the men (at least all who still have a pulse).

It would seem that as inspirational as Maryknoll's history and present membership may be, it's the guys currently in formation who must cultivate and share their vision with us if we are to have a future involving the Church in the U.S. in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people in other lands. Any ideas, guys?

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