Follow by Email

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Read the latest from Fr. Bob McCahill in National Catholic Reporter

Monday, December 24, 2012

Basses and tenors

Mike Lawrence (I.T.) and Frs. Joe Arsenault and Ed Szendrey provide balance. (With a little help from the photographer!)

Angelic voices

Maryknoll Sisters Ann Hayden and Bernie Lynch echo heavenly hymns.


The Maryknoll choir visited the residents of St. Teresa's last week to spread some seasonal music cheer.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Maryknollers and Employees Gather to Mourn

One week after the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., a memorial prayer service was held in Queen of Apostles Chapel at Maryknoll, NY. The service opened with chanting  "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" followed by a reading from Jeremiah: "A voice is heard in Ramah, Rachel mourning her children, and she will not be comforted, because they are no more." 
As the names of each of those who died was read, a candle bearing the person's name was placed before the altar as a bell tolled. Last of all we commended to the mercy and justice of God the soul of the one responsible for these deaths, "not because of who he is, but because of who we are."

 A poem "The Field Trip" was read, followed by the song "There Is A Place" where children play who were taken from us too soon.

A reading from Lamentations joined our sorrow to that of the Israelites in exile.

Fr. Dougherty gave a stirring eulogy (see following post) that captured perfectly what so many felt in their hearts.

A Wall of Remembrance in the Spellman Room showed the names, faces and short bio of each of the 27 victims, including the gunman's mother.

Following the service, people were invited to share fellowship in the Spellman Room, view the Wall and sign a condolence book that would be presented to Monsignor Robert Weiss, pastor of St. Rose of Lima parish in Newtown.

(Maryknoll Father John Scott, class of 1978, who passed away several years ago, was from that parish.)

Mr. Harry Florentine (below) was among the many to express condolences.

Fr. Dougherty eulogizes Newtown

Thank you for taking the time to attend this Memorial this morning as part of our Maryknoll Family.

Exactly one week ago, each of us began to heart the news about the tragedy that quickly overwhelmed Newtown, Connecticut.. Through last week and into this week, our collective hearts have been broken and many tears have been shed here at Maryknoll and across the nation.

During any time of sorrow, especially when something unexpected occurs, many of us are at a  loss for words. We simply do not know what to say. Life really is so precious and fragile.

This very human reaction, though possibly awkward at times, can be refreshing. It allows us to fill that silence in our own way, and we can choose to do with our tears, with our broken hearts, with our hugs and thoughts, and with our prayers. Last Monday morning on my way to n appointment, I noticed at the  school bus stops there seemed to be more parents hugging their children--or maybe you just see it differently after a tragedy like Newtown.

Today as we have done everyday since last Friday and as we will continue to do for many more days to come, the Maryknoll family asks our Lord to hear our  prayers for the beautiful children of Newtown, to listen to our words for all their teachers and the emergency responders, and to comfort all the parents, extended families and friends. And we ask the Lord to provide the community with strength and courage as it continues to pull tightly together in love and support to heal the pain.

We also pray for the soul of Nancy Lanza and others in the Lanza family who grieve through this tragedy. And our faith tells us to seek God's mercy for Adam Lanza.

We may never learn the answers to all our questions about this tragedy about this tragedy. And, when answers are elusive, or the answers we do have are difficult to understand, we often turn to God to ask Him why He could allow this to occur to us.

For those of us who have a deep faith in God, bad things often do not make sense to us. But, rather than continue to ask God "why?", let us, instead, begin too ask ourselves "who."

To who shall we tun during this time of pain? The answer to that question is easy.It is a renewed faith in our Lord. We turn to God for peace. We turn to God for comfort and we saw the people of Newtown doing this: scenes of people going to churches and other places of worship.

It our faith that tells us that GOd, at the proper time, will make sense of this moment. Our faith allows us to trust God to lead us through this difficult time and the many others that certainly will occur during each of our lifetimes.

A few days ago, I again heard the words to a prayer attribute to a former bishop in Michegan. The prayer is: "The Work to build the Kingdom of God Continues." I will not read the entire prayer to you now, but I found the first four lines may be of comfort to all of us today.

"It helps now and then to step back and take the long view. The KIngdom of GOd is not only beyond our efforts; it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our life time only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us."

Since last Sunday, a large sign has hung on the overpass of Interstate 84 where it passes through Newtown. It says simply, "Pray for Newtown."

We have. We do today. And we will continue to pray for Newtown, ourselves and the Kingdom of God.

I also saw this prayer referring to the Holy Innocents--the group of babies who were killed around the time of Christ's birth.

     "Holy Innocents, you died before you were old enough to know what life means, pray for all children who die young that God may gather them into His loving arms.

     "Holy Innocents, your parents grieved for you with deep and lasting sorrow, pray for all parents who have lost young children that God may wrap a warm blanket of comfort around them.

     "Holy Innocents, you who are now in Heaven, pray for all of us that one day we may join you there to bask in God's love forever."

O loving God and Mary, our loving mother and Our Lady of Maryknoll, we pray to you for all the victims, heroes, families and friends in Newtown.

Thank you again, for your presence, prayers and love. May you have a Blessed, Peaceful and Merry Christmas!

Edward M. Dougherty, M.M.
Superior General

Thursday, December 20, 2012

With gather in sorrow

Maryknoll remembers

At 9:00 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 Maryknollers, employees and friends will gather in Queen of Apostles chapel for a memorial prayer service for those who lost their lives last week in Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

A Wall of Remembrance has been set up in the Spellman Room with each victim's name, age and short bio.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Welpedida party

Hurricane Sandy and other unplanned annoyances notwithstanding, the Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers finally got to welcome and bid farewell to the newest class of lay missioners. They joined us for a special Happy Hour and dinner.

The 12 newbies will depart on Saturday for Fields Afar.

(Welcome + Despedida = Welpedida. Get it?)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sad news from Hong Kong

Word was received late last night of the sudden passing of Mr. A-Kao Lam (right), close friend to many Maryknollers, but especially faithful and loyal friend to Father Ron Saucci (left). Ron had gone to Maryknoll Hospital in Hong Kong overnight for blood work, and A-Kao accompanied him. Sometime during the night, A-Kao apparently suffered a fatal heart attack.

This news took so many of us by surprise as Ron has been battling a fatal disease for years and A-Kao seemed the epitome of health and vigor, even at his advanced age. Ron had worried what A-Kao would do without him and used to joke that Ron's tombstone should read: "A-Kao, go home!"

Well, it looks like A-Kao has indeed gone home and now we wonder what Ron will do without him. Such friends are rare. Cherish yours!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Another NCR editorial !

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Latest from National Catholic Reporter

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

NCR editorial on Roy

From my vantage point, it seems Maryknoll takes the brunt of this whole affair. The Vatican will not budge. Roy will do OK and will no doubt add the talk-show circuit to his speaking engagements. Maryknoll holds its tongue and loses support. *sigh*

Sent from my most excellent iPhone 5

More dust stirred up

In case you haven't had enough, here's more;

Sent from my most excellent iPhone 5

I thought it was too quiet...

Former superior general, Fr. John Sivalon, weighs in on the latest development between the Vatican, Maryknoll and Roy.

Sent from my most excellent iPhone 5

Impromptu gathering

After word went out yesterday via email to Society members about the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith dismissing Roy Bourgeois from Maryknoll and laicizing him, Fr. Jim Lynch, vicar general, invited Society members to an impromptu meeting in the Asia Room at 7:00 p.m.

Word of mouth informed those who, like me, hadn't yet checked my email, and 45 of the house's 85 residents attended (many having already left for the holiday.)

So we'd all be on the same page, Jim read the official Maryknoll statement to those present. Then he opened the floor to questions.

The mood ranged from sadness to anger, but I don't think anyone was surprised. The anger, too, was spread around from anger at the Vatican for taking this extraordinary step to anger at Roy for dragging Maryknoll through this mess. Several points of clarification surfaced.

• As with other members who leave the Society, Maryknoll will continue to financially assist Roy "in his transition" (meaning for as long as Roy needs and requests it).

• Although Maryknoll is under the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples, because of Roy's public action at the "attempted ordination" of a  woman, the CDF felt it had cause to directly intervene in his dismissal and laicization, even though the canonical requirement of a "decisive majority" of Council Members (two to dismiss, three abstentions) had not been met.

• Since Roy gave up directing the School of the Americas Watch some time ago, the action by the CDF should not prevent the SOAW from requesting funds to help with their many newsletters, all of which emphasize peace and justice issues in the Latin America.

• We do not know what canonical recourse Roy has and only he can answer whether he will continue to employ the services of Fr. Tom Doyle as his canon lawyer.

For what it's worth, Roy has already changed his voicemail message, stating his affiliation with the School of America's Watch and WomenChurch


Here is the Maryknoll statement:

The Congregation For The Doctrine Of The Faith
Canonically Dismisses Roy Bourgeois
Maryknoll, New York – November 19, 2012 – The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on October 4, 2012, canonically dismissed Roy Bourgeois from the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, also known as the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. The decision dispenses the Maryknoll priest from his sacred bonds.
As a priest during 2008, Mr. Bourgeois participated in the invalid ordination of a woman and a simulated Mass in Lexington, Kentucky. With patience, the Holy See and the Maryknoll Society have encouraged his reconciliation with the Catholic Church.
Instead, Mr. Bourgeois chose to campaign against the teachings of the Catholic Church in secular and non-Catholic venues. This was done without the permission of the local U.S. Catholic Bishops and while ignoring the sensitivities of the faithful across the country. Disobedience and preaching against the teaching of the Catholic Church about women’s ordination led to his excommunication, dismissal and laicization.
Mr. Bourgeois freely chose his views and actions, and all the members of the Maryknoll Society are saddened at the failure of reconciliation. With this parting, the Maryknoll Society warmly thanks Roy Bourgeois for his service to mission and all members wish him well in his personal life. In the spirit of equity and charity, Maryknoll will assist Mr. Bourgeois with this transition.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fiddling around

Under the pretext of attending a matinee performance of Fiddler On The Roof at Westchester Dinner Theater in Elmsford, NY, members from our assisted living group hold an unsanctioned "90 Years And Under" gathering to plot the overthrow of Maryknoll.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Results of the other election

Congratulations to Frs. Dave Smith and Larry Lewis on being elected Third and Fourth Consultants to Regional Superior Fr. Mike Duggan and First Consultant Br. Wayne Fitzpatrick.

This completes the election for the US Regional Council.

According to Mike, just a few votes separated the four men also on the ballot: Frs. Bob Jalbert and Kevin Hanlon.

Sent from my most excellent iPhone 5

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Best of luck, chef!

Chef Mike McLoughlin, who supervised our Sodexo kitchen for the last three and a half years, is moving to greener pastures with Sodexo in Connecticut.

The last three chefs were all named Michael, so that might be a requirement since it's easier on the men here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Nor'Easter on top of Sunday

A little over a week after Hurricane Sandy slammed into our area leaving death, homelessness, blackouts, gas shortages and fallen trees in its wake, we are facing this snowstorm.

Tabulating the vote

Poll watchers count the votes after the polls closed at 9:00 p.m. last night. More than 500 people are registered to vote here at Maryknoll (a.k.a. Ossining Voting District #24) but most live overseas.

The vote here was: Obama 53; Romney 22

51 absentee ballots were also received, but these are counted in White Plains.

Many thanks to our faithful poll watchers who were here from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Health Finances tricked out for Holidays


Representing Halloween (I hope!) is Laura Johnson with Kathy (Cupid) Pankey. Missing is Pilgrim Sandra Hawthorn who helped put together the winning display, but whose Mayflower got blown off-course by Sandy.

Signs of the times

This way to a Year of Holidays

Halloween, finally

Hurricane Sandy forced us to postpone our annual parade and office-decorating competition till today, when I guess they figured that election day was just as scary.

Winning the office category is Health Finances with an elaborate presentation of "Year of Holidays."

Pictured below (with Br. Don Miriani and Fr. John Moran) are (left to right)
Eileen Lomei (Easter bunny); Cindy McIntosh (Betsy Ross/4th of July); Kathy Pankey (Valentine's Day) and Robert Cabrera (Santa).

Delectable, diabetes-inducing sweets and artery-clogging munchies were offered throughout the day, along with health-conscious choices such as vegetables and fruit, for those planning to live forever.

Voting @ Maryknoll

Once again, members voted early in the Spellroom room. About 135 people are registered to vote here, some overseas by absentee ballot.

Gone are the traditional voting machines. In their place are ballots with circles next to each candidates' name to be manually filled in, á la those old SAT tests. These are scanned and counted. The results will be announced at 9 p.m.

On a topic of more import: the Cablevision has finally been restored, so I can watch my DirectTV undisturbed.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Reverse mission

The residents of St. Teresa's returned home this morning after electricity outages forced their relocation last Friday to the main building: their home away from home. Once again members and staff coordinated their efforts to re-relocate the men.

Around the area clean-up continues. Long lines for gasoline still await drivers in the city. The morning commute was a nightmare as packed trains by-passed crowded platforms. A cold snap made life more unbearable for people with homes or heat. And a Nor'easter is scheduled to bring more winds and rain this Wednesday.

P.S. Cablevision is still out in our building, even though a rep came, looked and acknowledged there is a problem. They do have Maryknoll on record as having a problem but insist all available technicians are working on other cases and they will get to us as soon as they can. Among other things, Sodexo Food Service is dependent on that system to operate their computers to do their ordering.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Blessing of columbarium

Following the Mass celebrating All Souls, the community processed down to the crypt to participate in a brief ceremony to bless the new columbarium. Fr. John Kaserow lead the prayers and invited those present to extend their hands in blessing.

The columbarium has four x eight rows of compartments to house the created remains of 32 members.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Safe haven

US Regional Superior Fr. Mike Duggan and Maryknoll Superior General Fr. Ed Dougherty are among the members welcoming residents of St. Teresa's who arrived after their power failed a second time.

About eight residents who required medical monitoring were sent to a local hospital as a precaution.

Many Maryknoll employees stayed after hours to help, notably housekeeping, physical plant, security and the nursing staff. St. T's Sodexo staff came over to help deliver meals to those members no longer ambulatory.

St. Teresa's evacuated

After the second power generator failed this morning at St. Teresa's, the decision was made to evacuate all 60 residents and bring them to the main building starting around 4:00 p.m. today. Fr. Ernie Lukaschek, paster coordinator, left that message on our voicemail, along with a call for volunteers to assist with the resettling in of members around dinner time.

Complicating things further, now the Maryknoll Sisters are also without power because Con Ed is  trying to fix some downed wired in the area. No word how long this will take or how the Sisters plan to cope, since their nursing facility is on the fourth floor of their main building.

Rte 133 (Ryder/Pinesbridge Rd.) remains closed in front of the Potter House.

Around the area, gasoline shortages brought about by gas stations not having electricity to run their pumps has created a commuter's nightmare.

NYC  Mayor Bloomberg has imposed a minimum three-person per car limit for all bridges and tunnels leading into Manhattan. This will be in forced till at least Monday. (Bloomberg lifter the 3-person restriction tonight (Friday) at 5 p.m.

This morning President Obama has declared both Westchester and Rockland Counties as disaster areas,  opening up FEMA funds for those who lost houses during this on-going crisis.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

More downed trees at MK

As the weather settles and we venture farther afield from the safety of Fortress Maryknoll, more of Superstorm's destructive ways can be seen.

Remember that wonderful, huge, old red maple that dominated the first and oldest section of our cemetery? Gone. Reduced to smithereens, pictured here.

The walkway down to that section is also blocked by three downed trees.

The roadway down to the lower sections has been blocked by top half of a spruce tree that broke off.

MetroNorth in Ossining is still closed due to a huge boat Sandy lifted up from the river and deposited across the tracks.

Yet we were only inconvenienced. People lost loved ones, homes, cars, boats ...and lives.

Fr. King finally laid to rest

After the storm and its aftermath forced postponement for the burial of Father King, a small group gathered for the simple ceremony. The grave first needed to be drained of water, an apt gesture for our cruise-loving priest.

One of the grounds crew, new to the staff, mentioned he had met a Maryknoller who served as chaplain on cruises and who took pictures. When we pointed out that the grave he had dug was for that same priest, he was visibly saddened.

Storm + 3 Days

Bethany remains without power, as does much of the surrounding towns and villages, although more and more employees report that they are coming back on-line.

Still, the MLMs are here for meals and showers, and some employees are staying over who have either no electricity or who live in NYC and have no way to get to work, as many subways are still closed. Buses are free, but Mayor Bloomberg has restricted vehicles with less than three occupants from entering the city.

The 39th Street House remains powerless, forcing guys there to walk up flights of stairs in total darkness. Apparently the very expensive generator that was installed a few years ago requires fuel to operate. Who knew?

Some groups scheduled to come here in the next few days have cancelled. I cancelled my Friday Night Meeting at the Queen church and we had to cancel the Junior High retreat this coming weekend as the retreat house in Glen Cove remains without electricity.

The transformer across from the Potter House (where Ryder Road was officially roped off because of the down tree across the power lines) blew yesterday. Thankfully the Ossining Fire Department was on hand and put out the blaze, but such incidents prolong the darkness for our neighbors.

Fr. Jack King was finally interred yesterday afternoon when the cement vault finally arrived. Remaining family and about five Maryknollers were present along with our hardworking grounds crew.

Fr. Emile Dumas was finally able to make it out of JFK at around 1:30 this morning on his way to Asia to give a retreat. Similarly, Father Mike Duggan, US regional superior, is due back tonight from Texas. LaGuardia airport was the last to reopen once the runways re-emerged from the water.

In the city and nearby, long lines of cars await gasoline—presuming the stations have power to operate pumps and they don't run out of gas. No gouging—yet.

I think it is useless to ask when life here in the Northeast will "get back to normal." Rather we would do well to accept the fact that the definition of normal has changed.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Aftermath + 24 hours

Bethany remains in the dark. Lay missioners come over to shower.

St. Teresa's has its power back.

Surrounding towns and villages still in the dark.

Cablevision still out, but four places around our building, including the library, have satellite DirectTV.

More of our employees came in to work today, although we remained officially closed. We used disposable plates and cups because the dishwasher didn't come in.

Ambulances cannot get to Phelps hospital (the other rumor is that Phelps has also been evacuated), so emergency cases are taken to Westchester Medical Center.

Fr. Jim Gilligan was relieved to learn his family and house are safe in Breezy Point, Queens, where 100+ homes burned to the ground last night.

On a human and humous note: as per Fr. Jack King's request, after the singing of the Salve Regina to end the graveside (Spellman Room) service, family members led the community on singing his life's theme song: Louie Armstrong's "It's a Wonderful World."

This is not without precedent. Years ago Br. Paul Chamberlain requested "As Time Goes By" be sung at his funeral. And we do play Taps at Maryknoll/military funerals.

So Missioners, now's a good time to consider what show tune you'd like at your send-off. (I am torn between "The Impossible Dream" and "Caberet.")

Ryder Road blocked

Traffic is being diverted through our property.

Sandy Update: St. Teresa's dark

The back-up generator at St. Teresa's failed, leaving its residents in the dark, reports Fr. Emile Dumas, director.

Emergency generators are being hooked up, providing light but insufficient to operate elevators.

Volunteers may be required to help delivery food trays during lunch.

An unsecured piece of library patio furniture blew off from the roof and crashed to the ground, luckily missing people and property.

Ryder Rd. is blocked in front of our building due to a tree across the wires.

Bethany is also without power. The lay missioners-in-training may need to come over here for showers, etc.

Welcome to mission.

Sent from my most excellent iPhone 5

Wrath of Sandy

This pine split in two and now blocks our southern driveway. Another uprooted but fell towards the soccer field. Our power went out momentarily twice during the wake service for Fr. Jack King last night, before our generator kicked back on.

Ossining and much of Westchester went dark. I could see flashes as at least three transformers exploded.

Cablevision is off (luckily I switched to satellite Direct TV three months ago! Mwuahaha!)

Rosa and Margy are the skeleton crew from Sodexo who remained to assure we get our breakfast.

More updates anon.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Like a mighty stone fortress, Mother Knoll safeguards our residents against nature's fury, a.k.a. Hurricane Sandy. So far it has been mostly a wind event, but these are picking up and the main rains are expected around 6 p.m.

The employees were sent home early. A few stalwart workers volunteered to stay on and stay over. Thankfully Rosa in the kitchen will see us through the next few meals, albeit with reheated entrees and disposable plates.

We are fairing better (so far) that the lower lying places (i.e. New York City) which is bracing for the high tides/full moon/storm surge combo. Meteorologists say flooding could go as high as Poughkeepsie.

The wake for Fr. John King will be held nonetheless tonight, although following tomorrow's funeral we'll have to wait another day for the burial.

Now that I am back from a European cruise, and attending the canonization of St. Kateri, and a visit to the ancestral Veneroso homestead, I am rested and ready to once again flood cyberspace with interesting tidbits of life here at the Center.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Book launch

Amid all the heightened security surrounding the United Nations with various and sundry heads of state, Orbis Books held a book launch for "Redeeming the Past", the memoirs of Fr. Michael Lapsley.

Lapsley is the Anglican priest who was working to end Apartheid in South Africa during the Bad Old Days. For his efforts he got both hands blown off by a letter bomb.

Apartheid now history, Michael founded the Institute for the Healing of Memories and travels around the world lecturing on the critical need and power of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Among the 100+ invited guests at today's book launch were Maryknoll Sisters President Janice McLaughlin (pictured speaking with Fr. Lapsley), Mr. Michael Lawrence, Orbis's national sales manager, Mr. Robert Ellsberg, Orbis publisher, and Ms. Emily Ruiz, videographer, and Mr. Valentín Concha-Nuñez, Maryknoll photographer and artist. Oh yes, and Your's Truly, blogmeister!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rome approved!

The election of Br. Wayne Fitzpatrick as the First Consulter on the U.S. Regional Council has been approved by Rome, according to U.S. Regional Superior Father Michael Duggan.

This means we Maryknollers here in the States may now proceed to choosing the second and third consulters to fill out our regional council.

The approval by Rome was needed since canonically and according to Maryknoll's Constitutions, a Brother cannot serve as a major superior in Maryknoll.  We are by definition a "clerical Society."

Monday, September 17, 2012

New columbarium installed

The participants in the weekly rosary for vocations were surprised to see the long discussed and much anticipated columbarium installed to the right of the
Holy Spirit altar behind the Founders' tomb in the crypt.

The bronze receptacle for created human remains (a.k.a. ashes) can house 32 canisters (4 rows across x 8 rows high). Depending on how popular (?) cremation is among Society members, a second columbarium [from Latin word "columba" meaning "pigeon", resembling the nesting boxes in a pigeon coop. I guess.] will be set up on the opposite wall.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Author! Author!

Fr. Girzone signs copies of his books following his inspiring and well-received talk at Maryknoll this afternoon.

Girzone packs'em in

More than 250 people filled the Asia and Africa rooms at Maryknoll to hear Fr. Joseph Girzone, retired but very active priest and author about Jesus today.

Ironically many "Catholic" bookstores resist carrying the "Joshua" series of books, despite their success and popularity among Evangelical and Pentacostal Christians and even Jews. Even the Vatican bookstore carries the "Joshua" books and says they are very well read, by Cardinals and popes

Jesus, according to Girzone, is little known and less understood in the Church today, which focuses too much on laws and rules and rituals.

This gets Girzone onto hot water with the chancery. Forty percent of Catholics are divorced and remarried, which by extension alienates their children. So Girzone invited all fallen away Catholics or Protestants who believe in the Real Presence to come to Communion.

He got called to the Chancery and pointed out that Jesus gave communion to Judas, even after Judas has made up his mind to betray Jesus. "Surely these people gave not sinned as much," Girzone explained.

It was these confrontations and deteriorating health that forced Girzone to consider leaving the priesthood.

He wrote to the bishop with this intention. The bishop was reluctant to let a 50-year-old priest retire as it might set a bad precedent.

Foregoing any remuneration, Girzone was allowed to give up active ministry to concentrate on writing.

He ended up with a larger "congregation" than he ever imagined: the world.

Fr. Joe Girzone @ Maryknoll

Fr. Joe Girzone, author of the popular Joshua series of religious novels, will speak today at Maryknoll from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on experiencing Jesus in our time.

We have a lot in common. Unbeknownst to many of you is that Joe, like me, is from the Albany diocese, but he also actually concelebrated at my first Mass at St. Michael's church in Amsterdam, NY on May 27, 1978! (But don't hold that against him. If you're near Maryknoll this afternoon, come anyway!)

Also like me, Joe is an author. Unlike me, Joe has made mucho dinero off his books (But stay tuned. I'm working on that!)

I will attempt to live-blog his more salient observations.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Letter of Support for Maryknoll Sisters

Following the April 18, 2012 release of the Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF—formerly known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition), members of the Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers who participate in the bi-weekly discussion group "Common Table" debated at length what, if any, response was merited from our side of the road.

After a few sessions, a draft letter went out to all Society members asking for input. Correction were made. Objections were raised. Some thought this matter was strictly between the CDF and the LCWR, to which the Maryknoll Sisters belong, but since the Maryknollers were not singled out, that it was none of our concern. One said the Sisters were quite capable of defending themselves.

A few sided with the CDF (we are, after all, Maryknollers) and thought any letter of support was misguided. A few thought our letter was too strong; others not strong enough.

Finally, an edited copy was set to Society members to sign if they so wished. Others were encouraged to write and send their own letters in their own words, and several men did this, I am told.

The letter was composed on August 8, the Feast of St. Dominic (patron of the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic) and finally sent with 104 signatures to Sr. Janice McLaughlin, president of the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation on September 8, the Nativity of Mary. (Four more men have since emailed me to add their names, so that brings the total to 108).

Below is the text of the letter and the response by Sister Janice.


Statement in support of the Maryknoll Sisters from Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers

We, members of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, express our unconditional support for and solidarity with the Maryknoll Sisters during this Centenary of their foundation.

For one hundred years we have worked side-by-side with them to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ among the poorest and most vulnerable of God’s people, both here and overseas.

We add our voice to that of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in lauding the Sisters’ unselfish sacrifice, dedication and service to others, especially the less fortunate, marginalized and outcasts of society.

The Sisters’ lives and witness therefore make other aspects of the CDF Assessment all-the-more perplexing, as it casts doubt on their integrity and loyalty to the Church.

In the noblest American tradition of open discussion and honest dialogue, and with solid conviction that our faith can stand the rigors of robust debate, the Sisters do not fear listening to speakers who express differing points of view.

The Sisters risk their safety, health and lives, and willingly forgo privilege, prestige and power, to live the Gospel and follow the laws of Christ in a most pastoral way. The unprecedented outpouring of public support attests to their effectiveness.

We therefore, the undersigned members of the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, are confident all things do indeed work together for good. A just resolution to this controversy, as that between Peter and Paul, will show the world we are all truly Christ’s disciples in our love for one another.

August 8, 2012
Feast of St. Dominic


RE: Letter of Support
McLaughlin, Janice
Sent: September 11, 2012
To: Veneroso, Joe

What a great way to begin the day! I’ve passed on your message to the other members of the team.  We are deeply appreciative of your solidarity and will send our response to all 104 of you soon! The world would be a better place if we all had brothers like you.
Peace and joy,

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New vicar general!

The General Council is pleased to announce that Father James M. Lynch (formerly Maryknoll superior in Latin America) has accepted our invitation to join the Council. During our first meeting, Jim was chosen to be Vicar General of the Maryknoll Society.

We are thankful to Jim for stepping up to serve the Society in this capacity. We ask every Maryknoller to pray that the wisdom and grace of God will see us through these days of transition.

Please join us in welcoming Jim as the new Vicar General of the Maryknoll Society.

Sincerely in Christ and
Our Lady of Maryknoll,

Edward M. Dougherty
Rev. Edward M. Dougherty, M.M.
Superior General

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

New Book about Maryknoller

The following message came to me from Lou Giansante:

Hello Father Joe,

You and your blog readers might be interested in a new book, Tov in China: Missionary Letters 1947-1952.

It's a book of letters and commentary about Maryknoll missioner Fr. James "Tov" Buttino, who served first on the mainland and then in Taiwan for 50 years. 

The book is now available through McNally Jackson at this site:

To give you more information, I'm attaching a release about the book, and pdfs of the cover, Preface, and introductory pages to the 1950 Letters.

FYI, the book has now been added to the Maryknoll Mission Archives in Ossining.

Lou Giansante

Monday, September 10, 2012

35 Years!

Ms. Nancy Kleppel celebrates 35 years with Maryknoll (starting with our Justice & Peace office in 1978, then over to the Lay Missioners, then as Center Coordinator.)

Maryknollers and employees gathered this afternoon to thank her for her enthusiastic, energetic and positive attitude working for and with Maryknoll.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Correction to the correction!

Fr. Jerry Burr writes from the Philippines:

 I am sure I will not be the only one to offer "corrections" .........and of course, I may be wrong....... (God forbid).......  but I believe others have checked out while on the G.C. Was not Fr. James Drought the VG when he crashed in a plane and died? Perhaps just a Council member......????

When I was matriculating in Theology, Fr. Gerard Grondin died, whilst on the Council. I think it went like this..... Pardy was VG and elected Bishop in Korea, Jackie Donovan moved up to Vicar slot, and Grondin was brought in to round out the Council.  I do remember being in the Rotunda during the wake, and SG Comber came in the door (from a three-month visitation trip) and asked me "Who died?"  I replied, Father Grondin..... Comber was SG and didn't know one of his Council guys died.

 Of course, if I am wrong on any of won't be the first time. 

Cheers!  Old Burr


Blogger's note: good to know you guys actually read this stuff and keep me on my toes!