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.