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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Echoes of last weekend

When people are still buzzing about your talk or homily a full week after you delivered it, you know it has been a success.

A quotable quote from the sending ceremony last Saturday afternoon, Bishop Antonio Sherpa of Katmandu, Nepal, said, "There are two kinds of missioners, those who come to listen and those who come to teach. Guess which ones last?"

And from all accounts, newly ordained Maryknoll Father Rodrigo Ulloa-Chavvary did a fantastic job on his first Mass and homily last Sunday in Mary Queen of Apostles chapel here at Maryknoll, NY. In his homily, Rodrigo described the first time he, as a new seminarian, welcomed a visitor to Maryknoll. It was his brother.

Rodrigo showed him our main corridor lined on one side with all the ordination and Brother classes going back to 1918. (Hey! This means in 2018 we can have another Centennial celebration. Yay.) Anyway....So as Rodrigo was pointing out our historical membership, his brother's eye was drawn to the opposite wall on which the pictures of nine Maryknoll martyrs are displayed.

Father Gerry Donovan was killed by bandits in Manchuria in 1937; Father Robert Cairnes was murdered by Japanese troops in 1941; Father William Cummings died as a POW in 1945; Father Otto Rauschenbach was killed by Chinese bandits in 1945; Bishop Patrick Byrne died during the Death March to North Korea in 1950; Bishop Francis X. Ford died in a Chinese prison in 1952; Father William Kruegler shot to death in Bolivia in 1962; Father Vincent Campodanno killed in Vietnam in 1967 while administering last rites to a soldier; and Father William Woods who died in Guatemala in 1967 after receiving death threats.

"Did you join Maryknoll to die like these men?" the brother asked Rodrigo. He didn't answer. Then, last Sunday, while giving his homily, Rodrigo asked his brother to come forward. He put an arm around his shoulder and said, "Now I am ready to answer your question."

"I did not join Maryknoll to die like them, but to live like them," he said and, then pointing to the crucifix he concluded, "And to live with him forever."

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