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Friday, April 30, 2010


Our Lady of Maryknoll newly crowned. In keeping with our custom of
having an employee do the honors, this year Ms. Terry Mierswa crowned
the statue.

Crowning of Mary

About 40 Maryknollers, employees and visitors gather in the Spellman
Room for the annual ceremony. This year, instead of crowning the
statue of Mary in the rotunda, instead honored this life-size statue
of Our Lady of Maryknoll outside the main chapel.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Food for Thoughg

Photo taken with Camera Zoom app.

Marge Gaughan, ever the teacher, livens up her presentation with videos and PowerPoint visuals.

Sent from my most excellent  iPhone

Marge and Thoughts

MS. MARGE GAUGHAN, managing editor of Maryknoll Magazine, presented her work with the Classroom Program that helps bring bulk orders of the Maryknoll and Revista magazine into classrooms around the country. This was part of the monthly Food for Thought program for employees and missioners here at the Center.

Sample lesson plans and posters for grades K~5 and 6~12 are given out at the conventions and meetings Marge or other editors attend.

She showed a video of how a third grade teacher of St. Catherine's elementary school in Seattle, Wash., incorporated the program into her class. Also students gave their impressions of the magazine. They focused on an article about Br. Mark Gruenke's work in Namibia.

Spirituality, sacrifice and service come across to the young people and inspire them to do something for those less fortunate. They appreciate the cross cultural mission stories that open up new people and lands to students in this country.

The story of Fr. Bob McCahill comes across in another video of a high school class in Yonkers. N.Y.

Many times the teacher will email and otherwise contact the missioner or the author of the article directly to further personalize the class and make mission come alive.

Fr. Joe Fedora's story about Peru's indigenous people's struggle for clean water in the May~June issue, now coming out, was very well received and inspired students here to write to the United Nations on behalf of the world's poor who are in need of clean water.

A teacher-consultant helps provide the lesson plan which the editors supervise with the art department doing the layout.

Ann Newbuger, a childrens' book author, volunteered her services so Maryknolll's message could get out to the younger students.

In 2010 2,4440 schools are reached out of the 7,094 Catholic schools.

Thats 143,441 magazines that go out to 336 schools in California, 214 in New York, 165 in Pennsylvania,165 in Texas and 137 in Illinois.

Since 2008 the program is free and the financially strapped schools have snapped it yp, thanks in no small part to our mission educators who are very active in those states mentioned above.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Talbot's pearls of wisdom

Saturday's lecture/performance by John Michael Talbot, attended by about 250 people in our main chapel, was like a mini retreat. He and I, and I presume most Maryknollers, are on the same spiritual wavelength although he's light years ahead in musical ability, creativity and fame!

Among some of the insights he shared was to reverence sacred space as much as sacred sounds. That is, the space between notes and words are often as important as the music and lyrics themselves. Talbot maintains the Spirit moves in such spaces. As the incarnate Logos, Jesus communicated God's truth even when he wasn't saying or doing anything, he said.

His community, the Brothers and Sisters of Charity, founded by him and his wife Viola, is part of the so-called "new monasticism" that is spreading around the globe. While mostly Christian, these intentional communities are marked by their openness and inclusivity. Their spirituality, based on the rule of St. Benedict, allows for different expressions at different phases of life. Thus, single people participate more fully in the community's life, married people continue their outside work while providing for their families, "empty nesters" have yet another level of involvement, and widows and widowers a more contemplative approach.

They are also inclusive in their prayer forms, chanting the divine office twice a day but also having time for spontaneous prayer and meditation. And they are very respective of other prayer forms from other faith traditions.

They allow men and women to join for a time, fully aware a lifelong commitment to religious life is not for everyone. One interesting comment he made was about a community of monks in Europe who would not allow lay people to join their ranks. It eventually died off; the lay people formed a separate group which is thriving. (File this under "If the Shoe Fits" category.)

Talbot shies away from theological disputes and controversy, preferring to emphasize the common spiritual quest most people are on and with which most of his listeners can resonate.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if JMT also composed a song for our 100th much like the Mass Michael Joncas has nearly completed for us?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

John Michael Talbot

Renowned Catholic singer, composer and author John Michael Talbot will give a presentation at Maryknoll's Queen of Apostles Chapel Saturday, April 24, 2010 starting at 2:30 p.m.

As part of Maryknoll's Speaker Series, Talbot will introduce us to his new Orbis book: The World is My Cloister. He shows that one need not live in a monastery to experience the peace of God. Solitude and sacred stillness may be cultivated wherever we are.

Talbot is Catholic music's number one recording artist, having sold four million records worldwide. He is also the founder of a monastic community: the Brothers and Sisters of Charity. Among his most popular songs are "Be Not Afraid" and "Here I Am, Lord."

The lecture is free and open to the public. RSVP to Ms. Betsey Guest: or call (914) 941-7636, ext 2219.


Segue to Betsey Guest announcing her plans to retire at the end of June. Betsey has served as our media relations contact since 2006 and assistant to Howard Schwartz before that. She has done a yeowoman's job getting positive press for Maryknoll. She will be sorely missed and difficult to replace. All the best after June! (Until then, keep up the great work!)

Friday, April 16, 2010

With sorrow

Maryknollers here are keeping vigil at the bedside of Br. John Mullen,
whose death, I am sorry to report, is imminent.

John returned from Africa several months ago with complicated health
problems. He went to St. Teresa's last week when his condition
deteriorated rapidly.

Please keep John in your prayers as he undergoes his personal Calvary.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bananas Foster

In honor of Father Founder's 73rd anniversary of entering into eternal life, Maryknoll's head chef, Michael McLoughlin, sets fire to a heavenly confection for dessert.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Three new sems!

CONGRATULATIONS to Chace Olinger, Tony Lopez (yes, there is now a second Tony Lopez in Maryknoll!) and Glen D'Angelo on being accepted for the fall semester in our vocation program!

A word of special thanks, too, to the promoters, vocation ministers and Maryknollers who accompanied these three men in their discernment over the years. Kudos, too, to the Admissions Board (Br. Brendan Corkery, Br. Wayne Fitzpatrick, Fr. Ray Nobiletti and Fr. Ed McGovern) on their decision.

But wait, there's more! There are still three more applications in the proverbial pipeline which will be decided upon in coming months.

Fr. Dennis Moorman has returned from the vocation retreat during Holy week in Jamaica and gives the five retreatants who attended high marks.

So, it is safe to say that the vocation ministers and promoters and sundry Maryknollers did their job. Now it is our turn to show Maryknoll's best side and encourage these men throughout their formation process.

[On a personal note: since Easter Sunday I have been running on reserve power. Literally. At first I thought my wooziness during Mass at the Korean church was the fault of the incense or the summer-like temps we've been having. Go to find out, my pacemaker is nearing its expiration date and, unless I want to near mine as well, must needs go into the hospital on Friday for a "routine" replacement. N'Sha'Allah I will be running on all cylinders come Saturday.]

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter homily

Fr. Ed Dougherty proclaims the good news of Jesus' resurrection to
about 50 people gathered for the Vigil Mass.

The Pachal candle

Father Ed Dogherty presides as Fr. Ed Szendrey assists with the
Paschal candle.

Lighting the New Fire

Visitors from Maryknoll HS Hongkong

Maryknoll Sister Mercy Mtaita shepherded 30 students from Maryknoll
High School in Hong Kong to visit New York and the Knoll. Br. John
Blazo and Father Jose Aramburu extended hospitality.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A New Commandment (Holy Thursday, Year C)

FAR AND AWAY the best homily I ever heard on Holy Thursday was given by my good friend, Maryknoll Father John McAuley, currently serving in China. With unabashed pride (and very rare humility), I will attempt to recapture the essence of his talk for us to reflect upon this Holy Thursday.

It was during Holy Week in 2002 in the midst of the clergy abuse scandal that John delivered this homily at our retirement home in Los Atos, California, where we were holding a Vocations Retreat. (This in itself was no easy task, with the scandals coming out almost on a daily basis. I mean, really, how do you diplomatically say, "Welcome aboard the Titanic!"?)

As we gathered for this most ancient of Catholic rituals, John pointed out that Holy Thursday was more than a solemn celebration of the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood, which it is. On the night before he died, Jesus and the apostles celebrated the Last Supper at a time of gut-wrenching disintegration. Everything they held dear was falling apart around them. Their future looked bleak. And their situation was about to get nightmarishly worse.

Yet in the midst of this time of uncertainty, fear and confusion, Jesus took bread and gave God thanks and praise. He blessed and broke the bread and asked us to share it in his name. And whenever we did this, he would be present to us: especially in the midst of our darkest moments of doubt, disillusionment and danger.

Eight years have passed since John gave this homily. Alas, the clouds of scandal have not dispersed nor the anger and confusion dissipated. Oh, the Vatican can react with righteous indignation at the secular press and media, no doubt stoked by enemies of the Church, intentionally dragging up and distorting old cases which may or may not have had the complicity of then Cardinal Ratzinger. IMHO this misses the point entirely.

In the public mind (both of Catholics and the wider society), the Church has not done adequate penance for its sins. Penance is more than just public apologies; penance is a good faith effort to make amends for the harm that our sins have caused, and this cannot be satisfied with mere dollar signs.

At a retreat later that same year, 2002, Father Richard Rohr said, "A problem cannot be solved by the same mentality that caused it." There it is in a nutshell.

Unless we (and I'm including all the clergy and hierarchy in this) rend our hearts and not just our garments, unless we convert our way of thinking, unless we put on the very mind of Christ, this situation may never go away, much less be resolved.

How do we celebrate Maundy Thursday? By the Washing of Feet. Jesus takes the position of a servant and commands us to do the same. This is not fulfilled by ceremoniously re-enacting some ritual once a year, and especially not by the pope washing the feet of priests and seminarians (certainly not of women, God forbid!) This makes the exact opposite point Jesus was trying to make, and serves only to re-enforce the public perception of the Church as an "old boys club."

Jesus gives us a new commandment ("Mandatum" in Latin, hence "Maundy" Thursday via Old English). "Love one another, as I have loved you." But if we clerical types limit this just to taking care of fellow priests in the ordained priesthood, our Church is doomed.

Oh would that the Holy Father felt for the victims as deeply as he does for the institutional Church! Would that he and every bishop and every priest in every parish around the world wash the feet of all the people whom we have offended by our arrogance, insensitivity, callousness and pride. Granted it would take more than a few minutes during a once-a-year ritual, so this should be our attitude throughout the year.

This would go a long way of not simply healing the Church of our self-inflicted wounds, but would, as much as the Eucharist itself, reveal the abiding presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that woud be Good News indeed.