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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.