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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy Centennial!

Kicking off our official unofficial beginning of our 100th Year, Fr. Jim Madden and Mr. Fred Goddard presented a Food for Thought presentation on the history of the Maryknoll Affiliates, Then and Now.

Jim helped design the Affiliates program back in 1991. Fred is the current head of the Affiliates. 2011 is the Afflilates 20th anniversary.

In the 1970s and 1980s, many former Maryknoll P, B, S & LMs communicated with one another and wanted to maintain contact with and support for Maryknoll. Sr. Ellen McDonald expressed interest and the Maryknoll Sisters gave her permission to help. Early on, global vision, spirituality, community and action became the four pillars of the program. The chapters are called Basic Mission Communities. They follow the Pax Christi motto of Think Globally, Act Locally. Twenty two affiliate chapters started in the first year. Twenty of the 22 original groups lasted more than three years.

A chapter needs a minimum of four members and three meetings a year. They pay all their expenses. The Society and Congregation help pay fir the director's salary and expenses. Other priests, Brothers, Sisters and lay Missioners joined the governing board. In 1995 the Affiliates accepted overseas chapters. Jim and Ellen stepped aside to let the Affiliates direct the program while they remained as support staff.They have an international gathering every two years. Jack Moynahan took Jim's place and Fr. Jack Sullivan took his place. Fred Goddard was later hired as Director. Regional Coordinators now visit their local chapters.

Their publication is called "Not So Far Afield" (Get it?)

Schools and Youth Groups have formed following the high school in Red Bank, New Jersey, so now there are student groups supporting mission.

More and more Affiliates (almost 30%) have also gone to mission overseas in Namibia and Cambodia, among other places, and work through Maretta McKenna and the Short-Term Volunteer programs.

There are now Affiliate Chapters in Tanzania, Peru, Nicaragua, Mexico, Guatemala and the Philippines. Prior to his death, Fr. Tom Goekler helped establish the chapter in Guatemala. Members of that group helped revitalize the almost defunct chapter in Connecticut. Reverse Mission at it's best!

From the beginning, the Affiliates were ecumenical and inter-religious. A minister was inspired by the witness of the four churchwomen in El Salvador. A Jewish doctor has volunteered his services to help the Sisters overseas.

A 12-session (one year) formation program has been created to help introduce new Affiliates to the Maryknoll charism and history.

There are approximately 62 chapters around the world.

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