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Monday, April 30, 2012

Urgent prayer request for Fr. Bill McNichols

Fr. James Martin, S.J., posted an urgent appeal on his Facebook page for Fr. Bill McNichols who has suffered a massive heart attack today and may be near death. A noted iconographer, Bill wrote the icon of Our Lady of Maryknoll for our Centennary. Among his many icons are Mother of God Light in All Darkness (The "AIDS icon") commissioned by the Catholic Aids Network as well as an icon of Oscar Romero and The Passion of Matthew Shepard. A student of Robert Lentz, Bill's work has appeared in several Orbis books as well as Maryknoll Magazine. He was about to embark on a speaking tour for Orbis when he had his heart attack. Please join with his many friends, supporters and fans in bombarding heaven on his behalf.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Tom displays a pictorial montage of the Greatest Events in the Life of Father Tom McDonnell in the Last Six Years.

Ms. Denise Schneider, assistant to both Tom and U.S. Regional Superior
Fr. Mike Duggan, put great effort into creating this tribute.


Maryknollers, employees and friends gathered last Wednesday to say Thanks to Fr. Tom McDonnell (a.k.a. Hopi's other Dad) as he completes his service as head of the Retirement Community.

Congratulations to Fr. Emile Dumas who was elected as Tom's successor.

Goings-on at Mother Knoll and beyond

Preliminary evaluations indicate that most men like the new arrangement of the main chapel, including the much-maligned and misunderstood ambo, or at least they are getting used to it. The Triduum was described by many members as the best ever. This year we even dusted off a Tenebrae service for Good Friday Night.

Several things required tweaking as the week unfolded, followed by not one, but two wakes and funerals. The oversized paschal candle reigns from mid-aisle. The ambo with the Liturgy of the Word at the entrance to the chapel balance perfectly with the altar and Liturgy of the Eucharist on the opposite. It looks, sounds and feels like a community at prayer.

Our next big event in the chapel will be the U.S. Regional Assembly at the end of May that will include the renewal of temporary oath by Seminarians Dae Kim and Daniel Kim.

Today, even as I type, about 60 people from the area are participating in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. It will be interesting to hear their reaction to Mass in our newly arranged main chapel.

Tomorrow, Orbis author and editor emeritus and good friend, Michael Leach, will speak in the Asia Room on his book "Why Stay Catholic?"

Given the gathering storm between the Vatican and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Mike's premise may be tested.

A Huffington Post article opined that the actuarial tables make this confrontation unnecessary, as the progressive groups are not attracting new vocations in comparison to their more conservative and traditional Sisters. Well, actuarial tables work both ways: those running our Vatican bureaucracy are no spring chickens.

My money is on the Sisters.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Better pic of the ambo

Now, an appropriate place from which to celebrate, proclaim and preach the Word of God.

Chanting the Exultet

Standing on the new ambo, Fr. Ed Szendrey chanted the ancient hymn to Christ our Light during the Vigil Mass last Saturday.

Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia!

OK, the Triduum is over, the Mission Awareness Retreat finished, my Easter duties at the Korean church complete and I am slowly emerging from the recently vacated tomb to walk among the living once again.

First, the Triduum. Thanks to Theresa Rodrigues, Mario Cerdas, and the housekeeping crew who literally put their backs into the task of transforming our main chapel into a truly inspiring place of communal worship, introducing the much-maligned AMBO!

Yes, folks, after 13 YEARS and 12 months (to allow for our Centenary) Fr. Dougherty authorized a ONE YEAR experiment of the new (?) ambo. Commissioned and custom designed to complement our Queen of Apostles Chapel, the ambo became the center of controversy and dissent back in the late 1990s when some protested the cost (most of which was donated or designated) while others the design and still others (myself included) the placement. It cannot be anywhere near the altar.

Holy Week, when we traditionally rearrange our chapel into quasi choral style, seemed the best time to begin the experiment. As the newly appointed director of liturgy for the Society and Center (like I need another hat to wear) I invoked the principles of Fung Shui and together with above mentioned crew plus added input from Fr. John Kaserow and Fr. Mike Walsh, we all pushed and tweaked and rearranged until we got things where they now look FANTASTIC!

"The Word of God finally gets the respect it is due" is the effect we aimed for—and got. Several people, upon walking into the chapel seeing the new arrangement and ambo, simply said "Wow."

Of course there is still some tweaking to do, namely lighting and audio work. Complaints were about readers not speaking into the mic or speaking too fast. But in all due humility I can report: it works.

So during the three holy days when we accompanied our Lord through death to resurrection, it seems for the coming year, at least, the ambo is also back up from the dead. And, you ready for this? I have heard only positive comments. Who says miracles don't happen any more?