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Thursday, March 31, 2011

NYTimes: Libya Taps Nicaraguan as Its Envoy at the U.N.

From The New York Times:

Libya Taps Nicaraguan as Its Envoy at the U.N.

Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann, an outspoken critic of the United States and a Catholic priest, would replace a Libyan diplomat who had been unable to obtain a visa to enter the United States.

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D'Escoto & Bourgeois

According to the NYT, defected Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa has contacted Fr. Miguel D'Escoto, former president of the UN General Assembly and former foreign minister of Nicaragua, to help negotiate behind the scenes for a departure for Moamar Gaddafi from Libya.

Complicating this already murky issue, Miguel is in the US on a tourist visa. (He had renounced his US citizenship when he became foreign minister in the 1980s.) The US State Department says any such diplomatic activity would be in violation of his visa.

In the mean time, it is reported that Miguel and his staff are ensconced in our 39th Street House wondering what the next moves are.

Aren't we all?

The reaction to the impending dismissal (not expulsion, according to our canon law expert) of Father Roy Bourgeois continues to sink in among the membership. If you think the d'Escoto situation is murky, you should hear the conversations around the salad bar. Some are very angry at our Council, some are angry at Roy, some support Roy's positions but not his tactics, some support Roy but resent the way he dragged Maryknoll into his crusades making this a lose/lose situation for the Society. Most were willing to accept this as a clear consequence of Roy disobeying his superior to not participate in further actions, but then Superior General Father Ed Dougherty complicated the issue by focusing again on women's ordination. Of particular note is Doc's contention that Roy's actions are a "cause for scandal" among Catholics and Maryknollers as well.

Taking exception to this position, Father Tom Henahan posted an email to the General Council asking them to cease any further action against Roy. Fr. Gene Toland has added his signature to this letter, but most here agree there is no way either Doc or Roy can back down at this unfortunate point.

Everyone is happy they are not superior general, except for Doc.

What a way to celebrate our Centenary year!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Link to NCR online

Hi again. Here is the link to the article about Roy:

A link to a copy of Letter #1 is embedded in the article.

Bourgeois update

By the time Yours Truly made the rounds table-hopping in the dining room, members were all abuzz about the news that Fr. Roy's days as a Maryknoller are numbered.

Fr. Jim Gilligan, our expert in canon law, was quick to clarify that as of today Roy is still in the Society, "but the process (of expulsion) has begun." According to Jim, a letter was sent to Roy giving him 15 days to publicly recant his position and activities promoting the ordination of women to the priesthood of the R.C. Church. Fifteen days after he receives that, if there is no recanting, a second letter is sent. Fifteen days after that, a formal letter of expulsion is sent to Roy and Rome is notified.

Reaction around the dining room to this news, first broke by NCR online, ranged from sadness to resignation to relief. No one was really surprised, although one priest was very upset.

Superior General Ed Dougherty explained that he was trying to keep his end of the agreement of maintaining silence while this process unfolded, but Roy contacted NCR and gave them a copy of Letter #1. "So I guess the cat is out of the bag," is how Doc reacted.

Among other things, now that mysterious email last week from internal auditor, Fr. Ed Szendrey, reiterating Maryknoll policy about individual Maryknollers deflecting inquiries from the press to Mr. Mike Virgintino, our media relations rep, suddenly makes sense.

Meanwhile, back in the dining room, guys were in agreement on two points: that, no matter what they thought of Roy personally or about his actions, Maryknoll leadership had been more than patient over the years, but especially since 2008. Also, once again it is Maryknoll which will probably suffer as a result. Indeed, the NCR article quoted a representative of the women's ordination movement calling for a letter campaign on behalf of Roy to our General Council.

One thing is clear to this blogger as he argued with Jim Gilligan as he split canonical hairs, if you know Roy, there is no way he will recant in the remaining days. Thus the headline of the original post remains: Bourgeois is out.

Bourgeois out of Maryknoll?

If you have read the recent NCR, you learned faster than most Maryknollers that Fr. Roy Bourgeois's membership in Maryknoll will come to an official and inglorious end in the coming days.

Almost two years after Roy's excommunication, Fr. Ed Dougherty could no longer maintain the untenable situation of extending Roy the benefits of full membership in the Society while he not only remained excommunicated, but he did not curtail his public advocacy of women's ordination.

Thus ends a sad chapter. But my guess is not the final one.

I shall linger around the salad bar and forward whatever the buzz is anon.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lunch on the river

Last Thursday, the assisted living office sponsored an outing to Harvest on the Hudson in Hastings. Ms. Kathy Brophy drove the van with Fr. Jerry Nagle, Fr. Dan Dolan and Fr. Leo Kennedy. Br. Tom Hickey drove his car with Fr. Bob LeFebre and me. (I was the designated eater and provided comic relief.)

We'd originally planned an annual visit to the CIA in Hyde Park, which offers a nice prix fixe lunch and dinner around this time of year. But when we learned the French Restaurant wasn't opened yet, we rightly decided if we can't get our escargot we might as well eat in an American restaurant.

While most opted for the eggplant minestrone and baked salmon, yours truly had the roasted red peppers and arugula, followed by orecchiettie in a green and black olive sauce.

Far better than the excellent meal was the camaraderie strengthened by this unique opportunity to dish about the Maryknollers who were back at the Knoll.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Afternoon session

Larry's afternoon talk seemed to underscore what Fr.Richard Rohr stated in his article the link to which I posted here a few days ago.

Namely, we are called to be spiritual seekers, not settlers. This underlies Jesus saying in Matthew's gospel, "Blessed are the poor in spirit."

We are never to feel spiritually full and content, as if we have attained all truth and all happiness. It is this longing, this hunger that urges us to "seek first the kingdom of heaven." Notice we don't necessarily find the kingdom. Jesus tells the young scholar, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." He gives no indication where to look or go next, for Jesus does not want to short-circuit the process, for the value is in the seeking more than the finding.

Larry related a time when Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez visited the Knoll in the 1980s and spoke of his poverty: getting his teeth fixed for free so he could respect the gift God gave him to speak on behalf of his people. Gustavo knew he could not truly be poor, nor could Maryknollers be poor. "Do not use the poor to make yourselves feel good," he said to Maryknollers with his hand out, not in accusation but in solidarity.

Our mission vocation is built on a lack. We lack family and stability and "roots" so we can feel the lack most people experience. Yet over the years we tended to fill our lack with achievements, how many churches we built or have many baptisms we performed.

The radical call of the missioner is to rediscover his total dependence on God.

The message of our current American society is one of instant gratification, which is anethema and detrimental to authentic spirituality.

The Sisters at Monrovia, Larry said, are in that in-between space being too old to remain overseas, yet not sick enough to go to their nursing facility. Larry found among them an appreciation for the situation they are in, although if they had their preferences, they'd be elsewhere. It is this acceptance of the limitations that gives them freedom.

Talk by Fr. Larry Lewis

Our Lenten day of recollection included two talks, Mass & homily and reconciliation service.

Premature Resurrection?

Fr. Larry Lewis gave our community a Lenten day of reflection based on the "Empty Tomb." This theme took on particular meaning for Larry back in the 1990s when a priest preached on his experience of peering into his growing anxieties and saw nothing. The emptiness of our hearts and lives may be frightening and present us the temptation to fill them with something, anything.

On this feast of the Annunciation we contemplate God emptying himself to become human.

We are not comfortable with peering into our own emptiness. Many people turn to various addictions to take away the pain of our emptiness.

When personal tragedies strike, us or our loved ones, we often can find no appropriate words yet the silence taunts us.

Lent invites us to gaze into the empty tomb, representing all we once held as meaningful, good and holy. We must sit with our uneasiness.

Larry once asked the Chinese whom he was teaching what they thought of when they saw an image of the crucified Christ. One man replied, "A loss of face." Face is a very important concept among Asian peoples. What does it mean that the Son ofGod willingly suffered this terrible loss of face for us?

Larry recounted meeting women who were trying to get away from situations of abuse and prostitution. One woman had a terrible history of abuse. She andLarry became friends. They lost contact but after 20 years she contacted with him again. On his 25th anniversary she was among the guests. Larry's mother asked him, "After 25 years of being a priest, are you happy?" Maria, the woman, indicated the circle of friends who remained after the meal and said, "This, this talking together with friends, this is happiness."

The stark emptiness and darkness of the church on Good Friday and Holy Saturday symbolizes our existential emptiness.

There is a certain freedom in accepting our emptiness. It may not feel as good as the dopamine squirt we get from alcohol or various addictions, but it is longer lasting.

Moments of failure, disappointments, confusion, fear and sorrow are all part of the human experience and we do ourselves an injustice by avoiding or disguising our darker moments. These can be very fruitful moments precisely because they are painful.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Catholic songs - "Lamb of God" Maryknoll

Guys! Click on the link below to view first of six musical video reflections I've been working on with Ms. Emily Ruiz based on the Missa ad Gentes by Michael Joncas for Maryknoll's Centenary.

Many thanks to Ms. Jennifer O'Halloran from Archives and Ms. Myrna Rodrigues from New Media for help putting this together for YouTube.

Check out this video on YouTube:

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Huffington Post: FR. RICHARD ROHR: Life On The Edge: Understanding The Prophetic Position

As fine a description of what a Missioner SHOULD be as I've ever read. This raises a more disturbing question for Maryknoll: is it too late for us?

FR. RICHARD ROHR: Life On The Edge: Understanding The Prophetic Position
A doorkeeper must love both the inside and the outside of his or her group, and know how to move between these two loves.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Employees gather

About 250 employees gather to here Centennial plans. They were rewarded with cake and coffe.

Morning meetings @ Maryknoll

An early spring snowfall did not dampen spirits as the Committee for the June 29th REAL Centennial Celebration met to solidify plans for our 100th. Three entrees (representing our three mission areas) will be offered in the tents set up in our quadrangle. Figuring out whom to invite and who will attend combines the chaos of wedding planning with the frantic urgency of the Iditarod. (I'm not sure what that means, but it strangely captures the atmosphere.)

Br. Kevin Dargan suggested setting up a large-screen TV in the corner with some vintage Maryknoll films showing throughout the day. Photographs from "way back when" could grace both the tents and the dining room. Channel 15 will broadcast (is that the right word? Live streaming?) to guys in St. T's and those in their rooms here.

But all this was a run-up to the REAL meeting from 10:00 ~ 11:30 for the employees to learn about all the festivities planned this year. It is hoped that they will, in turn, inform us Maryknollers.

Fr.Leo Shea, as the new head of all Centennial events, ran both gatherings. Ms. Bernadette Price, Orbis, and on the Executive Cenntennial Committee, led in the singing of Happy Birthday.

Ms. Nina Planamenta blew out the candles on one of many birthday cakes.

A slide presentation of some of our many dedicated employees followed, along with a montage of images and music from our Opening Liturgy last January 25.

The long-term goal of all these events is also to focus on the future. It was noted that unless all Maryknoll entities work together in the future, each will be hard-pressed to survive independently.

Some bishops availed themselves of a mission exposure trip to Africa last month.

June 29th will, of course, be the big event here for Society members, Congregation, Lay Missioners, Affiliates, employees and some guests.

September 15-18 will host a "welcome home" gathering of Maryknoll alums and formers. Possibly 800 will attend, with three speakers, Fr. Gene Kennedy (a former Maryknoller), Philip Jenkins (professor of religious history at Penn State) and Miguel Diaz, U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.

October 6~8 will see a mission symposium at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. The audience will be both academicians and missionaries, as well as students, diocesan directors and certain Maryknollers. The theme is "Mission ad Gentes", mission tp people's everywhere, including here in the U.S. Father Steve Judd will offer the keynote address, with Sr.Janice McLaughlin, Br. Wayne Fitzpatrick and Mr. Merwyn DeMeol will offer a response to Steve's talk.

On October 30 at 3:00 p.m., St. Patrick's Cathedral will be the venue for our big liturgy open to some 2,000 guests. Br. Wayne Fitzpatrick explained how a procession of flags will take place as it did on our opening liturgy. We will supply our own choir, guest master, altar servers and ushers. Our seminarians may be altar servers. A booklet will be prepared. VIP seating will be provided and buses will transport MKers from the Knoll to the cathedral. The Mass may be streamed live to those at the Knoll. Guests will receive a gift bag.

Maryknoll will be represented at the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis, where 20,000+ young people are expected.

There are 14 committees working on all these events. A Centennial website, scheduled to be up by April 15, should keep everyone abreast.

Monday, March 21, 2011

High School Workshop

Seniors from St. Paul's church in Queens planned and organized this year's student workshop at the Knoll. They chose the theme of coping with stress. We gave them practice.

Asian invasion?

Well, it seems that the residents once again survived 45+ Korean-American high school students and teachers from St. Paul's in Queens last weekend attending a workshop here without too many glitches. Oh sure, their praise band drumming and strumming after 11:30 p.m. did awaken some guys, but he politely asked them to be quiet and they were, for the most part. And a few other students forgot the rule about closing their doors quietly and not running down the halls, especially at 2 a.m.

Perhaps the biggest snafu was we forget about the quantities of food teenagers can pack away. Luckily, we adhered to the policy of not descending on the food line until 30 minutes after it opens. This allows Members to get their desired portion of spaghetti and ice cream. To be fair, the kids were very good about not wasting food, but, yes, they can eat!

Many thanks to Fr. Stephen Taluja who gave them a talk and helped with confessions, as did Fr. Kevin Hanlon. And thanks too to Br. Kevin Dargan for helping prepare hot water for the late snack of Ramen noodles after the students were shriven.

While the students and teachers enjoy coming to the Knoll, I'm wondering whether it's worth the √°gita for all concerned. We had to hold back on the number of participants because of a rule somewhere that says we have to cut back on the number of participants. That is, we have rooms to accommodate as many as 60 but I was told no more than 45 could attend. Luckily, some agreed to day-hop. Also, due to insurance liabilities, the students were told not to use our gym again, even though they bring a certificate of insurance covering an aggregate of $2 million. For the record, Graymoor requires no such certificate; neither does Marian Shrine that also has a gym. A tired student is a quiet student! Also, St. Josaphat's in Oyster Bay is a stand-alone building where noise or numbers are not an issue.

My thinking for bringing them to the Knoll was that it was an opportunity for the students to visit and learn more about Maryknoll, but I'm afraid what they may be learning might not help matters. (For the other record, Fr. Alfonso Kim came from this parish as did Seminarian Dae Wook KIm, currently on OTP in Bolivia. In addition, five young men from the parish who were at this weekend's workshop have expressed interest in attending the Holy Week retreat here for vocations.)

It seems that, with the growing number of retirees moving to the Center, it may no longer be feasible for the foreseeable future to have large groups stay over. This underscores the need once again to consider what to do with Bethany. Between the Koreans, the Haitians, the Vietnamese and the Hispanic communities, we should have little trouble keeping the place occupied. Provided of course we spring for the big bucks to bring the building up to code.

Or perhaps we should revisit the whole idea of limiting the number of retirees who live at the Center, and those that do, living in places other than the R-Wing. This had been the suggestion when we remodeled, but some R-Wing residents didn't want to relocate. As a result, retreatants are scattered among the residents on all the floors and wings and the potential for noise and disruptions increases. Why not close off the R-wing to residents via attrition? That is, once a permanent resident vacates a room in the R-Wing, it remains available only to outside guests?

Or we can take the opposite approach and simply become a retirement home with only a few rooms for guests.

Just like last year when there was a similar noise disruption, the Korean student workshop ended yesterday with the disturbors of the peace making the rounds during lunch time to apologize to Maryknollers. Of course, by that time, only three tables of missioners remained and those who were there weren't the ones whose sleep had been disturbed. Luckily, the Maryknoll Grapevine is such that I trust word will spread around the Knoll fast enough.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A leprechaun

Glory be! It's one of the little people
...and a leprechaun in front of him.

St. Patrick's Day festivities

Sure and a grand time was had by all.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

House Meeting 2011.3

Forty men attended the monthly house meeting this afternoon, focusing on "manners" or the lack thereof, especially in public areas like the dining room. Margaret Sheehan, Sodexo manager, invited comments as the regular surveys do not render specifics. "Too spicy" can mean different things (I presume depending on whether the man is of Irish or Italian-American heritage.)

The first comments surrounded ground pepper, the absence of fresh garlic, and some dissatisfaction with the coffee (not from the same person, btw.) A regular rotation of fresh fruit in the kitchenettes was suggested, and perhaps root beer like that offered in the 39th St.House.

[Blogger's note: given the on-going catastrophe in Japan, life must be pretty good here.]

The next topic was the all-encompassing heading of "manners." Some common-sense behaviors seem to have been lost during years of lonely living out in the African bush or the desolate altiplano. Fr'rinstance: Guys who handle food (fruit, sandwiches) then put it back, guys who use half a portion of jam and return the unused portion, sneezing or coughing without using your handkerchief or sleeve, putting up chairs to reserve seats (causing a tripping hazard).

Monopolizing the public computers (especially by guests), non-enforcement of the non-smoking policy in the house, watching TV with one's door open, using the 2nd & 3rd Floor washing machines and dryers (with buzzard) after 10:00 p.m. at night, and the perennial disappearance of Magnificat and America magazines from reading rooms. These were among some of the grievances.

On Lenten themes: the Stations of the Cross are prayed every Friday in the main chapel at 4:00 p.m. Fr. Larry Lewis will offer a day of reflection on "The Empty Tomb" on March 24, followed by Stations and Sacrament of Reconciliation.

An outside liturgist will come in to explain the new Roman Missal. One man wanted to express frustration that the whole process was foisted upon the US church. Our house liturgist shared the frustration but said Cardinal George had closed off any further discussion so we are stuck with it.

Tuesday of Holy Week there will be an anointing service.

Monday, March 14, 2011

New Roman Missal (Missile?)

Many thanks to Fr. John Sivalon and Fr. Don Allen for bringing this article in America magazine to our attention. (I use the royal "we" because I received it as part of a mass emailing). Maybe this will be the R.C. Church's opportunity for a Facebook, email, or Twitter revolution.)


An Open Letter to the U.S. Catholic
Bishops on the Forthcoming Missal

Your Eminences, Your Excellencies,

With a heavy heart, I have recently made a difficult decision concerning the new English missal. I have decided to withdraw from all my upcoming speaking engagements on the Roman Missal in dioceses across the United States. After talking with my confessor and much prayer, I have concluded that I cannot promote the new missal translation with integrity. I’m sure bishops want a speaker who can put the new missal in a positive light, and that would require me to say things I do not believe.

I love the Church, I love the sacred liturgy, I love chant in Latin and English, and I treasure being involved with all these as a monk and priest. It has been an honor to serve until recently as chairman of the music committee of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) that prepared all the chants for the new missal. But my involvement in that process, as well as my observation of the Holy See’s handling of scandal, has gradually opened my eyes to the deep problems in the structures of authority of our church.

The forthcoming missal is but a part of a larger pattern of top-down impositions by a central authority that does not consider itself accountable to the larger church. When I think of how secretive the translation process was, how little consultation was done with priests or laity, how the Holy See allowed a small group to hijack the translation at the final stage, how unsatisfactory the final text is, how this text was imposed on national conferences of bishops in violation of their legitimate episcopal authority, how much deception and mischief have marked this process—and then when I think of Our Lord’s teachings on service and love and unity…I weep.

I see a good deal of disillusionment with the Catholic Church among my friends and acquaintances. Some leave the Catholic Church out of conviction, some gradually drift away, some join other denominations, some remain Catholic with difficulty. My response is to stay in this church for life and do my best to serve her. This I hope to do by stating the truth as I see it, with charity and respect. I would be ready to participate in future liturgical projects under more favorable conditions.

I am sorry for the difficulties I am causing others by withdrawing, but I know this is the right thing to do. I will be praying for you and all leaders in our church.

Pax in Christo,

Fr. Anthony Ruff, O.S.B.

Anthony Ruff, O.S.B., is a Benedictine monk of Saint John’s Abbey and a professor of liturgy and Gregorian chant. He was on the committee which drafted the 2007 document “Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship” for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is founder of the National Catholic Youth Choir and blogs at Pray Tell. His letter above to the U.S. bishops is printed in its entirety.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

From Fr. Roberto in Japan

I am sure you all are following the news of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan two days ago. Although Maryknollers received the following email from Fr. Roberto Rodriguez, I post it here precisely because many who read this blog are not Society members but are nonetheless concerned about Maryknoll. Let us continue to pray for the Japanese and all who suffer from this disaster.


Dear friends:
Thank you for all your messages of Solidarity and Prayers for the people here in Japan. 
It is very comforting to receive them and to count on your prayers during such terrible situation here in Japan.
The earthquake, which measured 8.9, and the tsunami had been devastating for many people and communities here in Japan. Some places close to the Sendai Prefecture, where the epicenter of the earthquake was, had been covered up with water and destroyed due to its impact. At the moment there are many fires burning in several places throughout the country, trains are no running and other public services are down too. There is fear that one of the nuclear plants is not shutdown totally and radiation may be leaking. There had been more than 30 after shocks and they are continuing. Some of them are very strong measuring more than 5.0 in the scale and last for a long time.  People are afraid and trying to cope as well as they can.
Personally I am doing fine and everyone here in the house is good too. Thank you for your messages of concern regarding myself, the Maryknollers in Japan and the people of this country.
Let us continue to pray for all the victims of this terrible earthquake and that calm/peace may return soon to this beautiful land of the Rising Sun.  
Ever grateful your friend Roberto

Rev. Roberto Rodriguez, MM
Maryknoll Missioners
6-2 Kioicho
Tokyo 102-0094 JAPAN

Tel.: 03-3261-7283
Fax.: 03-3222-0726

Friday, March 11, 2011

Waterfront property?

No, this has not been photoshopped. This is our quadrangle after a second bout of torrential rains in four days drenched the Northeast and closed highways with a "Brook" or "Steam" in their names (Bronx River. Saw Mill River and Sprain Brook) by changing them into rivers and brooks.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fat Tuesday & Bethany

Maryknoll welcomed 35 members of the U.N. Faith Decade for Peace committee, giving us a truly international flavor matched only by the 43 national flags currently in the Spellman room. Add to this the colorful national costumes warn by our visitors: Korean hanbok, African kanzu, Seikh turban and , of course, Jewish yarmulka, and for a few days the Knoll really does look like a place of prayer for all peoples.

Tonight, of course, was Mardi Gras and once again the Sodexo staff outdid itself with food, refreshments and decorations. There were plenty of beads and balloons to go around, New Orleans jazz music and even a King Cake. Tomorrow's Ash Wednesday Mass will be in the main chapel, since many employees also attend.

Now for the good stuff! (You really didn't expect me to confine my comments to banalities, did you?)

Work in refurbishing the Walsh building for its next incarnation as the lay mission offices continues apace, with their trainees to be housed here and at the Sisters'. This, of course, begs the question: what's to become of Bethany, now that ownership has reverted to the Society?

To bring Bethany up to code with much-needed repairs and remodeling would cost a cool $4 million, says someone in a position to know.

Another knowledgeable person opines it would be easier and more economical to level the place and build from scratch.

At this point I chimed in and suggested a retreat house might be nice, given that more and more retirees are moving into our Center, which might soon render our place impractical for groups larger than ten.

This is where it gets intriguing. Nowhere in our Constitutions does it say a Maryknoller has a right to live here at the Knoll, but only that the Society owes its members a place to stay. Above mentioned knowledgeable person suggested we might put a limit on the number of retired members living here at the Center. And lest that sound extreme, if not Draconian, he pointed out that the Paris Foreign Mission Society FORBIDS its retired members from living at their headquarters in Paris. If you live at their Center, you must have a job. They do have two houses in the south of France for their retirees.

Now, given that they are our spiritual forebears, might we consider emulating them? Let me be the first to propose a compromise: a limited number of retirees can live here as long as we also buy a house for our retirees in the south of France. Or Italy. Or Hawaii. (Hey, if we can rebuy a house in Washington, why not check out the real estate in Honolulu?)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Civility 101

Several Maryknollers at breakfast expressed disgust at having witnessed rather unsavory behavior by fellow missioners in the food line. To wit: guys who drop silverware on the floor and then just put in back (the three-second rule notwithstanding); guys who use half a package of jam and then return the uneaten portion to the condiments bar; guys who spill food on the counter or floor and simply walk away without informing the kitchen staff; guys who cut bananas into three parts and take the middle; guys who left their various used bandages and bandaids on the counter... You get the picture.

Granted, hygienic standards out in the bush, outback or alti plano may not equal those of Boston or even Westchester high society, but good grief. Add to this the penchant some have for viewing Society property as their own personal stash, guys who stake out the TV room every evening never let anyone chose a program and guys who (how to put this delicately?) need to reacquainted themselves with the benefits of frequent bathing and doing laundry and I'm beginning to appreciate why there are some guys who NEVER come to the Knoll, except for medical purposes and....

[Disclaimer: the above post shall not be construed in any way as indicative of life here at Maryknoll, where everyone is happy, mentally stable, well-balanced and filled with love and good cheer for all they encounter.]

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fr. Price's spirituality

Father Kevin Hanlon gave a presentation on Fr. Thomas Price, Maryknoll co-founder at 3:00 p.m. this afternoon.

Thirteen Society members risked life and limb to make the hazardous trek from the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors to the Asia room to hear about Father Price and his spirituality. Who knows how many more might have attended were the weather less freezing, or if this talk did not pose a conflict with some series nap time, or had the library staff, who is sponsoring this series of talks for our Centenary, had sprung for some coffee and doughnuts. To be fair, many men might watch this from the comfort of their rooms on the in-house Channell 15.

Be that as it may, Kevin divides Fr. Price's spirituality into Pre- and Post-Lourdes.

Prior to going to Lourdes, Fr. Price's prayer life was almost Ignatian. Something happened in Lourdes that both greatly disturbed him but then transformed him. Thereafter his spirituality can be described as Bernadettian.

Kevin quoted extensively from a previous work on this topic by our own Fr. James Najmowski, formerly of Korea now of China. (Hi, Naj!)

Meanwhile, back at Lourdes Price experienced a profound mystical experience, the full nature of which Naj et al. can only speculate about from reading his letters.

The missionary connection, Kevin contends Fr. Price sees the mission given to Bernadette was to be an instrument of both Jesus and Our Lady for nothing less than the destruction of sin in the world. Conversion so that the grace of God might enter and transform a person was his goal and he wanted the United States included in this grand missionary endeavor.

"Poor, humble and pure" became the characteristics for Price to model his mission life after the BVM, Bernadette and ultimately Jesus.

A quick look around the room showed that several men were still able to catch some quality nap time during the talk, but at least they get good karma for attending.

A graphic description of Fr. Price's final agony was read from a work by Bishop Patrick Byrne, quoting a letter from a certain Fr. John Tour who attended Price's death in 1919 in Hong Kong.

This blog is submitted with the fervent hope it does not violate the sensitivities of certain members who expressed their concerns that previous posts might have exposed Maryknoll to the critical eyes of non-members, leading them to conclude we are normal like everyone else. If it does, such was not my intention. Get over it and get a life.