Christmas: For this Maryknoll priest, Bangladesh is full happiness and reminders of how beautiful the gift of life can be.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Monday, December 24, 2012
Saturday, December 22, 2012
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.
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.
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.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
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
The 12 newbies will depart on Saturday for Fields Afar.
(Welcome + Despedida = Welpedida. Get it?)
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
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
This sheds some historical light on a very controversial subject. Too bad we are forbidden from even discussing it.
We say: Barring women from ordination to the Catholic priesthood is an injustice that cannot be allowed to stand. The call to the priesthood is a gift from God.
Friday, November 30, 2012
The Sisters of Mercy have issued a public letter of support for Roy:
NCR Today: The leadership team of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas wrote they are "saddened and disturbed" by the Vatican's dismissal of Roy Bourgeois.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012
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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:
Monday, November 19, 2012
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Thursday, November 15, 2012
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
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.
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Thursday, November 8, 2012
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
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
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.
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
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
The columbarium has four x eight rows of compartments to house the created remains of 32 members.
Friday, November 2, 2012
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.")
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.
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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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Monday, September 10, 2012
Maryknollers and employees gathered this afternoon to thank her for her enthusiastic, energetic and positive attitude working for and with Maryknoll.