On the bright side: Maryknoll may soon be waterfront property!
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Luckily the rains held off so that we could have not one but two Palm Sunday services, one for our community and the other for the 150 Haitians here for retreat lead by Fr. Romane St. Vil, back from his second relief trip to Haiti.
Fr. Dennis Moorman and Deacon Steve DeMartino, along with Fr. Dave LaBuda, are in Jamaica (the one in the Caribbean, not the one in Queens) conducting a Vocations Retreat at the parish of Father Leo Shea. Five young men are attending. Please hold them in prayer for guidance and discernment during this holiest of weeks.
The Holy Week Vocations Retreat alternates between here at the Center and at a mission site overseas. Absent any young'uns here this week, we are scaling back on our own services. For example, this Good Friday we will not have the outdoor Stations of the Cross as has been our custom nigh these many years. If our guys had to schlepp that huge wooden cross themselves around the property, more than our Lord would be falling three times.
There may be as many as six men applying for admissions to the Society this year. Pray for them, the admission board, our men in formation, their formators and for an increase of vocations to Maryknoll.
The rains are to continue till Wednesday, after which the spring sun and temperatures in the 70s are forecast for the Triduum.
[Personal musing: one of the reasons Pope Benedict excommunicated Fr. Roy Bourgeois was because Roy's outspoken and public advocacy for women's ordinations was causing "scandal and confusion" among the faithful. Now that His Holiness himself is the source of scandal, confusion and not a little anger, outrage and disappointment, how will he discipline himself? Just wondering...]
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Father Bill Frazier and John Kaserow once again facilitated. It must be noted that, while no new ground was broken, it was an animated discussion with varying opinions and points of view expressed.
Fr. Larry Murphy pointed out that he had attended the USCCB meetings for ten years and individual bishops have visited our missions in Latin America for decades, but little came of this.
Fr. Mike Zunno questioned whether a false dichotomy (my words) existed between pastoral and missionary activities.
Fr. George Ratterman said something in Latin to which Bill Frazier vehemently objected, but whether it was to the content or to the language itself is unclear.
Fr. Dennis Morrman, the youngest man present, shared that five men are attending our vocation retreat this Holy Week at Fr. Leo Shea's mission in Jamaica.
But the most excitement was generated by the proposal from Chapter by Fr. Jerry Kelly and Fr. Dave LaBuda for some sort of mission center. Should this be here at the Knoll? Should it be part of MEP? Should it be under the bishops? This latter suggestion was viewed by some as a certain basium mortis (Rattermann ain't the only one who can fling it around in Latin).
The concensus was that the men wanted to continue this discussion (sure beats the hell out of talking about coloscopies, PSA numbers, BMs and March Madness) and that Kelly and LaBuda would be invited to come and talk to us and explain their vision for a mission center.
Meanwhile, out on the Lido deck, the band struck up with "Nearer My God, to Thee."
UPDATE ON GLEN ELLYN GHOST: Fr. Dan Jensen informs me that former Maryknoller Joe Bastien ('63) takes responsibility for starting that whole haunted seminary business and, now thanks to the internet, just like a ghost this story will neither die nor go away.
Maybe for our Centenary we could arrange for an apparition or two by, oh, I don't know, how about St. Ichabod Crane?
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
The Society was seen by some members as having lost its purpose and sense of urgency. A developer said too much influence is placed on raising money as opposed to sharing the mission spirit. Do we need to return to the mindset of the founders? One man said an Orbis editor told him he systematically removes references to mission from mss. (?) [blogger's note: sounds apocryphal to me.] Do we need to clarify our spirituality or do we need a formal outward sign or dress?
In the Church at large mission is not emphasized; various crises and scandals plague it; little interest in Ad Gentes mission; bishops see themselves as pastors and not missionaries. Ireland, among other countries, has few vocations; Asia has more ordinations but can these take up the slack?
Fr. Larry Murphy asked a pivotal question: what do we mean by "Church"?
Fr. Dan Dolan was surprised some men look down on "change", as in laity now doing many jobs once done by only Maryknollers. He sees this as a positive adaptation to our reality.
Fr. Charley Cappel said in the old days we believed "outside the Church is no salvation." Vatican II changed this but with it we lost our sense of purpose for mission.
Fr. Ernie Brunelle sees the Evangelicals and Nondenominationals as doing the mission work Maryknoll used to do and going to dangerous places such as Pakistan, risking imprisonment and death.
Fr. Kevin Hanlon says one problem is we are conditioned not to emphasize our particular charisms or uniqueness for fear of offending the laity. He feels we lack focus.
Bill Frazier said one thing these conversations wanted to accomplish is to see whether we need to change Maryknoll, or change the Church. How are our vocations being prepared?
Fr. Ray Sullivan responded to Kevin's observation by saying he doesn't feel close to the Affiliates although at yesterday's presentation on Haiti it was an Affiliate who volunteered on the spot.
Yours Truly opined that when I was a seminarian at Hingham in 1973, we were visted by two missioners: Fr. Joe Trainor and a young priest who shall reman nameless since he has left the Society. In any event, all of us younger guys felt more inspired by Trainor. The young priest was cynical and sarcastic; Joe was happy in his vocation as priest and enthusuastic to be a missioner. I said we can't really change the church or the Society, but we can change ourselves. We can become what we want the Society to be. When prospects visit us, subcontiously they are thinking, "Is this the kind of group I want to spend the rest of my life with? And is this what I will turn into if I join?'
Kaserow said the men in Chicago like to visit us because we offer our insights and experiences.
Bill Frazier observed that most of us were trained to be pastors, not missionaries. Out of 220 pastoral references to Vatican II in the official manual for priestly formation, not a single one is to mission, he said.
We ended with a quote from Ad Gentes, "The Church on earth is by it's very nature missionary..."
Bill passed out several papers he prepared responding to the "takeover of the missionary Church" by pastoral concerns.
This blogger is left to wonder which is easiest to change: the Church, the Society or ourselves? Only one is even possible. Perhaps it's easier (and certainly safer) to focus our energies and attention elsewhere rather than to be about the self critical work required by legitimate renewal and reform.
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the U.S. Regional Council with 43 and 34 votes respectively.
Thus concludes one of the more arduous electoral undertakings in
Society history, having begun with straw ballots last April.
Congratulations and best wishes to Ed and Bob who join Br. Wayne in
assisting Regional Superior Fr. Mike Duggan in governing the largest
region in Maryknoll.
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Monday, March 8, 2010
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
I was willing to blame late-night toast burning or pagan incense offerings, but the cause turned out to be more banal. Dust in the attic had accumulated enough to trigger the sensors. (Why they couldn't have been triggered at a more decent hour, I do not know. I have come close to triggering the censors myself, but that's grist for another mill.)
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At the behest of Ms. Margaret Sheehan (Sodexo) and other employees, we are considering putting up a world map, perhaps in the back of the dining room, with markers or pins indicating where all our missioners are. This interest arose following the earthquake in Chile when some employees wondered if we still had men there or not. (Taiwan quaked late last night, our time, and all seem to be safe, thanks be to God.)
[BTW: this would be an improvement over the method used by MK Magazine and MEP, where just one man in a country is enough to color that entire area as a Maryknoll misssion. Thus, Fr. Joe McCabe single-handedly kept all of Russia in the Maryknoll column for many years, as currently does Fr. Vince Cole in Indonesia. This brings up a story of some years back when I and then Maryknoll photographer Eric Wheater were on our way through Central America. I commented that the smaller Maryknoll got, the more countries we were getting into. He replied, "Yes, it's Maryknoll goal to have nobody everywhere." Vey Zen. But I digress.... ]We also welcome back Mr. Miguel Ramos (Rose's husband), center housekeeping, also after his convalescence.
It was also good to see Fr. Mike Snyder and his two sisters, Mary and Monica, who visited briefly today. (Their brother John did not accompany them.) Mike is back in the States for the funeral of his Mom, Rose, who passed away last week.
We look forward to welcoming Fr. John Walsh into our midst who is contemplating closing up his mission in the Bronx and moving to Mother Knoll.
This weekend, no less than TWO parishes (St. Christopher's in Buchanen and St. Patrick's in Verplank) will send children and their parents here for a one day retreat on Friday and Sunday respectvely. Each group will have about 150 participants. The theme: "One Body; One Mission". Fr. Dennis Moorman will have an opportunity to do some very remote vocations preparation!
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
The theme was on the vibrations, good or bad, that we and other people give off that often subconsciously effect the thoughts and feelings of those around us.
I had the opportunity to schmooze with a few of them over lunch. Those who were visiting Maryknoll for the first were particularly impressed with our building. For good or ill they weren't around long enough to report what vibrations they picked up from our men. But given the way visitors tend to bring out the best in us, I'm confident they had a positive experience here.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
last Wednesday's snowstorm. Even the majestic linden (in front of the Walsh Building) lost some large branches but luckily did not suffer irreparable damage such as this tree on our front lawn to the left of the chapel.