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Saturday, June 30, 2012

101 and counting

The Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America (a.k.a. Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers) turned 101 yesterday on the feast of SS Peter & Paul. Leading the celebration at Mass in the Queen of Apostles Chapel was New York Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan with around 50 Maryknoll concelebrants.

During his homily, Cardinal Dolan, affable as ever, strolled the center aisle and spoke pastorally to the 160 Maryknollers and guests in the pews. He spoke of holiness as Pope Benedict used the word, to connote a personal friendship with Jesus. Peter, of course, knew Jesus for three years; Paul experienced the presence of the Risen Jesus. Both men's lives would never be the same. Their goal became to share that knowledge and faith in Jesus with all the world.

And that, the Cardinal said, was the same goal of Bishop James A. Walsh and Fr. Thomas F. Price and Mother Mary Joseph. And that is the goal of Maryknoll today, he pointed out, preaching to the choir (literally).

After Massed, the Cardinal did work the crowds in the dining room but didn't stay for the meal.

As you may or may not know, our Extended Leadership Board (ELB) of the Society finished their annual two-week-long meeting but without issuing any statement in support of the Sisters. But at least two superiors assured me "something is in the works." The Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) will be meeting in August and will presumably ratify a letter of support that their leadership issued two weeks ago. Maybe our Maryknoll leaders are waiting for that as "cover."

I hope that is not the case. Otherwise we who once fancied ourselves the "marines of the Church," the prophets of our time, the cutting edge of mission, the risk takers of the gospel, will seem like tired, old geezers afraid to say anything that might  offend.

But I shall reserve any harsh(er) comments till August when surely we can expect a bold proclamation of gospel values in support of the Sisters, especially on this, their Centenary.

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