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Friday, May 18, 2012


Emerald City (a.k.a. Mother Knoll) transformed into Munchkinland this afternoon when 800 (!) Munchkins from Brookside School across the street staged an emergency evacuation drill for their students K-2nd Grade.

This has been in the works for quite some time as our people and their people negotiated details of the drill. Should (God forbid) a natural or human-caused disaster require the school to evacuate the students, they and their teachers and support staff would be escorted here to Maryknoll to the R-Wing Ground and First Floors to await buses, parents or further instructions.

Ossining Police participated in the drill, which effectively closed off Pinesbridge Road in front of our Center for about an hour. Fr. Ed Szendrey, internal auditor and an official observer, reported that many Maryknollers commented to him on how quiet and well-behaved the students seemed. No doubt this was an exciting diversion for them to finally get to see the inside of this great Chinese building that looms over them. For Maryknoll's part, it is just one way we are trying to be good neighbors and actively participate in the local community.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gathering of Musical Eagles

The Sound of Music

The three biggest names in Catholic liturgical music in the (endangered) Post Vatican II Church in the United States will be in our main chapel (Queen of Apostles) this coming Sunday, May 20, 2012 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. for a "Festival of Music for Worship."

MARTY HAUGEN ("Eye Has Not Seen", "All Are Welcome", "Gather Us In", "Taste And See", "Shepherd Me, O God," "We Remember") will team up with

DAVID HAAS ("You are Mine", "The Servant Song", "We Are Called", "We have Been Told", "Wherever You Go", "Magnificat") and last but certainly not least

MICHAEL JONCAS ("On Eagles' Wings", "We Come to Your Feast", "I Have Loved You", "Come To Me", "We Come To Your Feast" and of course, the Missa Ad Gentes commemorating our Society Centennial).

This celebration is part of the Maryknoll Sisters' Centennial and is open to the public and free of charge, although free-will offerings will be accepted.

More than 600 people are expected to jam our main chapel, as well as the Lady Chapel and Spellman Room to hear these giants of contemporary Catholic worship together in ONE PLACE.

Channel 15 will be recording this for guys at St. T's or for those with agoraphobia in their rooms here and hopefully we will soon have a DVD available for others.

Speaking of which, (how's this for a segue?) Today, more than 200 Society employees gathered in the Asia/Africa rooms for a "Thank You"party for all the good work they did to make our own Centennial celebrations a success last year.

Ms. Leah Mahnken has put together a most excellent 5-minute DVD presentation of all the celebrations last year around the world with voice overs from Fr. Dougherty and Cardinal McGarrick. She showed this to the assembled employees. The DVD will also be shown next week at our U.S. Regional Assembly and Fr. Bob Jalbert says he hopes to also have it posted to our Maryknoll Society website in the near future.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Some video (I hope)

Joyous burden

Our Lady of She San procession

Vicarious gathering

From Monday of this week until this afternoon, 18 vicars for clergy personnel from dioceses around the northeast gathered here at Maryknoll for their biannual meeting. You can imagine the serious nature of their discussions and deliberations, given the current state of the clergy, parish consolidations and closings. Yet the men seemed most amicable and mingled with us at meals, happy hour and attending our daily liturgy.

Rev. Mr. Stephen De Martino from our vocations office was instrumental in getting the vicars to have their meeting here at the Knoll. It seems that he alone is taking seriously the direction of the last Chapter that called for closer cooperation between Maryknoll and the Church in the United States.

Of course that's on the official level. Unofficially there was a lot of cooperation last Sunday as about 900 Chinese Catholics held a procession through Flushing, Queens, complete with live band, acrobats, float and huge statue of Our Lady of She-San (China). The procession started at St. John Vianney Church, wound its way toward St. Paul Chong Ha-Sang Korean parish on Parsons Blvd, then to St. Michael's farther down parson before ending up back at St. John Vianney's for benediction. Haitian Bishop Guy Sansaricq was aboard the float and blessed those gathered in front of St. Pauls

The Maryknoll connection? I was still at St. Paul's Sunday afternoon, getting ready for the Confirmation Mass, when the Chinese came calling. Hearing the band, I and the confirming prelate, Vincentian Bishop Alfonso Cabeza from Colombia went outside to see what was up. There, among the gathering throng, was none other than Maryknoll Fr. Ray Nobiletti who came with a contingent all the way from Transfiguration parish in Chinatown.

So, from grassroots to diocesan vicars Maryknoll is forging bonds with the local Church.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mary, Queen of Apostles & Mission

Yesterday St. Joseph the Worker got bumped in favor of a solemn liturgy honoring Mary, Queen of Apostles in the Maryknoll main chapel bearing that name. True, the regular feast of MQOA falls on the Saturday following the Ascension of the Lord, but in recent years the May Crowning of the statue of Our Lady of Maryknoll in the Spellman Room has become increasingly popular, especially among our employees.

Plus since Monday we have been honored to have 28 Missioners, educators and diocesan workers in attendance from around the country to discuss ways to rekindle the spirit of mission in the Church in the United States. This conference was organized by Fr. Jerry Kelly and Fr. Dave LaBuda. So we moved our daily liturgy to 11:15 a.m. and held it in the main chapel, as the Lady Chapel could not accommodate so many visitors plus our regulars.

Following the Mass, the main celebrant (moi) led the congregation out to the Spellman Room while chanting the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Once regathered there, we read the dedication to Our Lady of Maryknoll by Bishop James E. Walsh. Then as we sang "Bring Flowers of the Rarest" Ms. Susan Aniello, supervisor of our health services, did the honors of crowning the larger-than-life statue. Susan was chosen partly in thanks and recognition for the wonderful job all our nurses and assistants did during the Nora-virus crisis. Our ceremony ended with the chanting of the Regina Caeli.

Here, for your reflection and meditation and hopefully edification, is the homily I delivered: 



It is good to celebrate Mass in honor of Mary, Queen of Apostles in Maryknoll's main chapel dedicated to Mary, Queen of Apostles. Bishop James A. Walsh wisely put us under the patronage of both the Blessed Mother and the Apostles who were the first sent out into the world to announce the Good News of the Risen Lord.

For from this very chapel, wave upon wave of modern Missioners would follow their example. Of course, in recent years those waves have been reduced to a dribble but we should be inspired by the example of the Apostles who did not let the threat of extinction stop them from their ministry to announce the good news to all nations. 

Apostles, like Missioners, are ones who are sent. In this regard, Mary is also the Queen of Missioners, all the more so for us who bear her name. Mary is more than a monarch, she is our mother and role model. We show ourselves as beloved disciples of the Lord when we take the Blessed Mother into our homes and lives.

We do this by doing what she did:

Submit completely to the will of God.

Receive the Holy Spirit into our lives.

Treasure the word of God in our hearts.

By our actions, our words and our lives, give flesh to that word.

Give the Word-made-flesh to the world.

Point to our Lord and say, "Do whatever he tells you."

And then perhaps the hardest part of all: stand at the foot of the cross as we watch those we love suffer and die.

To do all these things, we must make Mary's Magnificat our own:

Our souls must magnify the Lord, which means our lives, our very beings must shine forth the forgiveness, mercy, compassion and love Jesus has for the world.

Our spirits must rejoice in God our savior, which means joy, deep, irrepressible joy should be the bedrock of our lives, even when we feel sad, discouraged or even depressed.

As Maryknollers we seem to have readily taken to the part in the Magnificat about casting down the mighty from their thrones and lifting up the lowly.

And in a few minutes we will all go down to the dining room where God will fill the hungry with good things. Now we must also be believers in the promise made to our father Abraham. We too have left family and homeland to sojourn in foreign lands. Like the Apostles, we too face an uncertain future, but under Mary's patronage, God willing future Maryknollers will number more than the stars of the heavens or sands of the sea.