Bishop Douglas J. Lucia HOMILY-Diaconate Ordination 16 June 2023

Bishop Douglas J. Lucia HOMILY-Diaconate Ordination 16 June 2023

Diaconal Service: The Heart of Christ

St. John Vianney was known to say that “the heart of the Priesthood is the heart of Christ.” Well, if I might broaden that definition a bit, I would say that the heart of the Sacrament of Holy Orders is the heart of Christ. Even more, brothers and sisters, one could liken the three levels or degrees of Holy Orders to the communion of the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – who reveal God’s presence with us today. Isn’t that then what a Sacrament is all about- an outward sign- a living sign of God’s presence in the world today?

My brother Matthew, today you have come before this community to offer yourself as a Sacrament for the Church through the gift of Holy Orders. In imitation of Christ himself you lay down your life in diaconal service to the People of God to be a much-needed living sign of God’s presence in the world today. The late Pope Benedict XVI in his own reflections on diaconal ministry spoke of it as being an “icon” of Christ, the deacon. He said in a 1977 Ordination homily in Munich: “The greatness of the diaconal ministry that you now receive consists of the fact that it is commissioned to make the deacon Jesus Christ present in the age of the Church… Making the deacon Jesus Christ present means representing and accomplishing the mission of his love in the Church.”

Matthew, it is most appropriate that you accept this commission on these days in which we call to mind the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Today’s solemnity commemorates and celebrates the outpouring of the mercy of God, often depicted by a heart with rays stream forth from it. While tomorrow’s memorial of the Immaculate Heart of our mother Mary – Queen of the Apostles – illustrates for all present here, no matter our vocation in life, the call to radiate… to magnify … the love of God to our neighbor… especially to God’s little ones.

In this particular moment of human history, it is most important for you, along with each one of us to recall that the message of Jesus appealed to those who were on the outskirts of society and religious life of his day. This was a message of good news to those who had been locked out from the benefits of society: laborers who were cheated wages; slaves who by definition did not enjoy freedom; women who were thought of as mere property and had no rights; along with all those burdened because systemic oppression kept them away from power, wealth, privilege, and status.

My brother, in your own missionary journey, you are reminded today to be a bearer of the Good News of Jesus Christ not merely by preaching the message, but even more important by making a sermon of it by the life you lead. Through your own gospel living, as a disciple of Jesus called to imitate his servanthood, you are called to place your lot with the “little ones” and accompany them on their way. Our leader, our master, is meek and humble and invites us to be the same. It has been noted that one of the founders of the Maryknoll family, Mother Mary Joseph Rogers often spoke of the Maryknoll Spirit “as being a reflection of the love of God, nothing more nor less than that, a reflection of the love of God.”

So, sisters and brothers, what is the order of deacons all about?
What is Matthew getting himself into, so to speak?

Strengthened by the gift of the Holy Spirit, he will help the Orders of Bishops and Priests in the ministry of the word, of the altar, and of charity, showing himself to be a servant to all. As a minister of the altar, he will proclaim the Gospel, prepare the Sacrifice, and distribute the Lord’s Body and Blood to the faithful.

It will be his duty, at his Superior’s direction and in union with the local bishop, to exhort believers and unbelievers alike and to instruct them in holy doctrine. He will preside over public prayer, administer Baptism, assist at and bless Marriages, bring Viaticum to the dying, and conduct funeral rites.

Consecrated by the laying on of hands that comes down to us from the Apostles and bound more closely to the service of the altar, he will perform works of charity in such a way that you will recognize him as a disciple of the One who came not to be served, but to serve.

Matthew, the Lord Jesus has set an example that just as he himself has done, you also should do. As a deacon, that is, as a minister of Jesus Christ, who came among his disciples as one who served, do the will of God from the heart: serve the people in love and joy as you would the Lord. Since no one can serve two masters, look upon all defilement and avarice as serving false gods.

You will exercise your ministry committed to the celibate state: know that celibacy is both a sign of pastoral charity and an inspiration to it, as well as a source of spiritual fruitfulness in the world. Compelled by the sincere love of Christ the Lord and living this state with total dedication, you will cling to Christ more easily with an undivided heart. You will free yourself more completely for the service of God and the human family, and minister more effectively in the work of spiritual rebirth.

Matthew, never allow yourself to be turned away from the hope offered by the Gospel. Now you are not only a hearer of this Gospel but also its minister. Hold the mystery of faith with a clear conscience. Express by your actions the word of God which your lips proclaim, so that the Christian people, brought to life by the Spirit, may be a pure offering accepted by God.

My brother, as you contemplate Jesus’ Sacred Heart and see it magnified in the life of our mother Mary, remember that his love for you isn’t meant to end with you. Through the Holy Spirit, he wants to fan the flames of his love so that you can share it with everyone you encounter. At the time of the I00th anniversary of the foundation of Maryknoll in 2011, your then Superior General, Fr. Edward Dougherty stated: “We will continue to seek first the kingdom of God, to look to the future with hope-filled anticipation and to keep alive the flame of mission. When we serve others and witness the Gospel, we continue the mission Jesus began.”

And so, Matthew, we pray this day: “Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto yours.” Amen.

Photos from the Ordination

 

Recognition to Br. Lawrence Kenning, MM

Recognition to Br. Lawrence Kenning, MM

During a live-streamed event on June 26, 2023, held at the Maryknoll Mission Center in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Br. Lawrence Kenning, MM was celebrated and honored. The occasion featured the dedication of the book titled “Catalog of Medicinal Plants of the Botanical Garden of the Fathers and Brothers of Maryknoll” in his name, which was carried out by the author, Carlos Prado. In his dedication, the author expresses that the book serves as a tribute and recognition to Brother Lorenzo Kenning MM.
In his “Acknowledgements”, the author also mentions other Maryknollers involved:

To Brother Alejandro Marina, Director of the Maryknoll Mission Center, for his decisive and significant support in giving greater impetus and continuity to the interinstitutional agreement with our organization, Kuska, in the city of Cochabamba, started about 30 years ago.

To Brother Lorenzo Kenning MM, with whom we carried out multiple activities and joint efforts in the implementation of endangered plants and species, with the main objective being the conservation and protection of the environment. One of these spaces was the garden of the [Mission] Center, as well as the Dr. Martin Cárdenas Botanical Garden in [the] Muyurina [neighborhood] of this city.

To our volunteer collaborators who have given us their time, work, and selfless assistance, all directed towards the pursuit of “Buen vivir/Live well” (non-anthropocentric), more precisely, the GENERAL WELL-BEING of the planet and the Laudato Si Encyclical, which is our main concern in this current post-pandemic situation.

To our technical counterpart collaborator in the botanical census of the [Mission] Center’s species, [Sem.] Leonard Kabaka from Kenya, who provided almost all the photographs presented in this Catalog.
Likewise, to our spiritual brother Ali Ganjkarimi from Iran, who provided us with his selfless support in all our intercultural health activities and shared beautiful photographs.

I dedicate this small work to all of them as a gesture of reciprocity, which should be published and forwarded to the appropriate recipients.
Thank you all once again.

The Author (Carlos Prado)

This work is a Tribute and Recognition to Brother Lorenzo Kenning MM.

 

He has left us many teachings in the care of nature and the environment long before Laudato Si, and yet, the joint activities we have carried out have not been in vain. Many trees planted along the path of life and during the stay of our dear and esteemed Brother here in Cochabamba are still alive and thriving.
We remember him fondly.

Wishing you good health, dear Brother Lorenzo!

Oath Ceremony

Oath Ceremony

Permanent Oath: Sem. Joshua Mutende Maondo, MM, Sem. Charles Ogony, MM, Sem. Tzong Haur Matthew Sim, MM.

Renewal of Temporary Oath: Sem. Victor O. Mutobera, MM.

First Temporary Oath: Sem. Costantine Nyanda Kasikiwi, MM, Sem. Paschal John Madukwa, MM, Seminarian Josephat W. Odundo, MM.

 

Seminarians before Mass

Prayers at the Tombs of the Founders

Seminarians preparing to take Oath

Seminarians and Members

Three new Permanent Members with Juan Zuñiga

Three new Permanent Members with Juan Zuñiga

Ordination to the Diaconate of Rev, Mr. Tzong Haur Matthew Sim, MM

Rev. Mr. Tzong Haur Matthew Sim, MM, was ordained into the Order of Deacons by Most Reverend Douglas J. Lucia, Bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse, on June 16, 2023, in Our Lady Queen of Apostles Chapel, Maryknoll, New York.

Spiritual Renewal Program

Spiritual Renewal Program

By the evening of April 30, 2023 all of the participants for the 2023 Spiritual Renewal Program had arrived safely at the Maryknoll Center in Los Altos, California. All gathered for the Happy Hour that filled the room with the Spiritual Renewal Program arrivals as well as the residents in Los Altos. Later, as we all entered the dining room there was a display set up that included a photo and CV of all of the participants in the program. It was a nice touch in welcoming all. This was followed by one of the many meals that we have enjoyed here provided by the efficient and attentive FLIK kitchen staff. Following the meal was a brief welcome by the two facilitators for the program, Wayne Fitzpatrick and Larry Lewis, making sure we knew the time and place for the first session that would begin the next day and to address any other inquiries.

The schedule called for us to meet the next three days for a morning and afternoon session. So, Monday morning began the first session that included a word of welcome from the Los Altos Staff as well as the opportunity for each Staff member to be properly introduced with their name and job title. This was very helpful especially for those coming here for the first time.
After the Staff’s departure, Larry and Wayne highlighted the next phase of the program which was for all of the participants to take the time and to recall their vocational story and to share their missionary journey/experiences. For those not speaking it was a time of respectful listening as stories were told and journeys and experiences recalled that would have easily provided bountiful material for many an article or book.

There are 11 participants in the Spiritual Renewal Program that included: Leo Shea, Bob Lloyd, Kurt Anderson, Joe Thaler, James Kroeger, John Northrop, Vince Cole, Alex Walsh, Paul Duffy, Tom O’Brien, Dave LaBuda plus the Facilitators Wayne Fitzpatrick, and Larry Lewis. All of the above mentioned shared their vocational story. It is noted that 5 of the members came from New York, 2 from Massachusetts, 2 from Michigan, and 1 each from Kentucky, Wisconsin and California.

It is not the purpose of this summary report to give full details of these sessions that occurred from Monday May 1st to Wednesday May 3rd with morning and afternoon slots. But it will be worth noting the rich history of the group and stories that were filled with years of missionary service both in and outside of the US. Missionaries who served in Guatemala, Bangladesh, Venezuela, Mexico, Jamaica, Taiwan, Philippines, Nepal, China, Irian Jaya, Peru, and Bolivia.

For those mentioned above, ministry outside of the US included leadership positions in the various local and Regional Maryknoll Structures, parish ministry, teaching in schools and seminaries, human development projects, programs with refugees, Justice and Peace directors, Labor Health and Safety Services, support to the differently abled, responding to natural disasters, coordinators and directors of various programs, working with FABC, teachers (EAPI) and professors and spiritual directors, recording the culture and history and living traditions of indigenous people, church building, controllers and internal offices, and care for street children, and internally displaced.

Also, many of the members responded to the call of Society Service that included being a member of the General Council and the US Regional Council, Directors and/or members of the Vocations and Admissions Departments, serving in Senior Care and transitions, coordinator of the Society Capital Campaign, Chairman for the 100th Anniversary. Others served in the Formation Department/ on-going Formation, and on the Admissions Boards, while others gave service to the Office of Society Personnel, Superior/First Assistant of the Senior Missioner Community. Many Served in the Maryknoll Development Department over the years covering church dates in a variety of States, teacher at CTU and Coordinator of the Chinese Project. Some have published and written and even had filmed aspects of their mission work, while others have published articles and written books and made contributions to other publications.

This Touchdown/Vocation story part of the program was a very sacred time filled with awe and wonder and amazement as we listened to each other’s story and learned so much more about our Maryknoll brothers. The common threads were there but also were the very unique and different experiences that shaped our Missionary life. It was also a special time to recall how many others walked and supported us along the way from our humble beginnings with our families to where we are now.

The next two days (May 4-5) was on Maryknoll Spirituality. The presenter was Larry Lewis.

Summary thoughts using key quotes:

It was so profound to just think and dwell on the thoughts and quotes that Larry presented to us. In some ways you need to sit in silence and meditate on each verse and sentence and paragraph in order to grasp the full meaning of what was being presented. But thankfully he shared with us his compilation of 45 pages of profound quotes and meditations and mystical words that will provide us with a lifetime of meditative material.

Larry used his engaging, challenging, humorous and storytelling approach for the next two days moving us to look deeply into ourselves and into how our vocation places us directly before God. Quoting from #64 (Iain Matthews-The impact of God-soundings from St. John of the Cross, pp. 152-153. “The most real thing he (John of the Cross) says about us is that we are created to need God – that we have an infinite capacity, for God …our incompleteness is our dignity, and when we feel it we are most truly ourselves. When we utter our appeal from there, we are being mature, being what we were meant to be.

Larry asked us to look at our Missionary Vocation as requiring radical dependency on God noting that God has a deep love for us. It is at the time that we find ourselves in our deepest woundedness and despair that opens us up to God. A cry from our incompleteness is a call to encounter God.

It is a call to know ourselves and our wounds and to live with it for this is where God encounters us with his love and compassion. God asks of us to be simply with Him in conflict and contradiction not outside of it.

Quoting the words of Francis X. Ford, MM “The hardest cross to bear in life is the thought that we are wasting time that we are useless, that the world is rushing along and we, apparently, have not yet found our feet.” Followed later by the remedy, “the remedy for this self-centered condition is contemplation and service of God…we forget ourselves in satisfying God’s needs.”

Through these and other quotes and reflections Larry left us with the assurance that “no matter how fragile we feel, God is breathing within us now.”

Maybe it is all summed up in the following quote in Larry’s booklet, “That regardless of what the impossibility of the situation is, there is a moment when you open your mouth and you throw your arms and you embrace the thing and you just say, Hallelujah!”

Beginning week two of the Renewal Program Eleven Maryknoll Missioners and two Maryknoll coordinators along with six Maryknoll residents at Los Altos attended the lectures of Father John Cecero, S.J. and Father Garrett Galvin, OFM.

Father Cecero’s topic was “Growing through Transition as Missioners: Finding God at the Crossroads.” He distributed two fine papers, namely, “Transitions” by Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation and by Ron Rolheiser, OMI “Managing an Ascension.” He also distributed reflection papers with these questions; “What are the significant global and cultural challenges that you are most concerned about, and how are you dealing with them?” Another question was “How can we foster ongoing conversion and reform within Maryknoll and in the Church?” A third questionnaire had three questions. The last one asked, “How do I want to respond to God’s call to offer the complete gift of myself (kenosis)?” Some participants were able to share their responses during a session.

Cecero focused on institutional and personal transitions. His key foci were transitions in the Church and in Maryknoll: Pursuing Synodality as the Way Forward. Synodality was a focus throughout. We all need to dialogue, namely to listen to one another. How about Maryknoll Society? Cecero asked “What are we holding on to? What is non-negotiable?” Maryknoll is decreasing in membership with aging members. Are we dying out? He added that Maryknoll Society is a gift for the church.

Fr. Garrett Galvin, OFM shared two days of scripture. He focused on the Acts of the Apostles, Old Testament (Genesis) and Luke. In the Acts he discussed the three conversions of Paul or three calls by God. (Acts 9: 1-18; Acts 22: 6 -16; Acts 26: 12 – 18). Garrett explained that the Old Testament focused on sin and goodness and blessing. In Genesis, one chapter treats goodness and four chapters focus on sin. Anthropology in O.T. points out what is humanity. We are rooted in creation. Garrett spoke about covenant as opposed to contract. Covenant is rooted in love. Garrett touched on what is a prophet. Basically, a prophet is a visionary, a man of God. Prophets try to understand the status quo. Garrett concluded with Luke’s gospel. Luke shares Jesus’ fellowship as he traveled from town to village and ate often. Luke’s gospel presents hospitality – eating meals with them. Church should be a welcoming church. In story of Emmaus hospitality finds joy in their lives they and we have the Advocate, the Holy Spirit to guide us.

Basically, both speakers were well prepared and well received by the Maryknollers. We received solid material to reflect upon as we deepen our spirituality in mission as elders in Maryknoll.

Entering week three the Sunday liturgy turned us toward Pentecost which in turn is the last Sunday before we finished. We were ½ way through our stay. The first presenter was Larry Le Noir. He is someone well familiar with Maryknollers. The basic goal as I understood it, was to be aware of the almost instantaneous reactions we can have in a given situation, often rooted in our family of origin, that take control unless we consciously pause and “tune in”. They affect the “tone” we telegraph to others.

Two thoughts stay with me. The acceptance of whatever the opening statement one makes about themselves and starting with it were if it may be illogical negativity.

The second presenter was Heather King leading a theme on Prayer. It was her first time with Maryknollers. She quickly adapted and I, for one, got what she was inviting us to from her own lived experience. She conveyed to me a deep sense of the real-life issues out there. I find the expression “spiritual homelessness” to be a good challenge to being stuck in one’s own beliefs, even rigid ones – is a freeing thought. She bespoke as a true miracle of grace, “smells of the sheep,” and confirmed God at work in the Church.

The final days of the Spiritual Renewal threw us a curve ball with active COVID in the house. A number of participants and Los Altos residents were COVID positive. We were able to meet in the Keller Room following the precautions we have become accustomed to over the years. Due to the technology in the Keller Room we were able to bring men under quarantine into the conversation on Zoom from their rooms. Wayne Fitzpatrick shared two mornings on “Meeting God in Times of Change” – focusing on the Maryknoll Document – “Change vs. Transition as Missioners” as well as a document on 15 factors to consider in the Third-Age of Life. Change challenges our inner journey and personal journey as missioners.

A retreat day originally scheduled at the Jesuit Retreat House in Los Altos was cancelled due to COVID. The retreat day was held at the Los Altos Residence. On Monday, the last day of our Renewal Program an Integration process was facilitated by Larry and Wayne that invited us to reflect on where God is guiding us at this time in our lives.

Gratitude to the Society for making these programs available to Members – it was deeply appreciated. It is an unusual experience to step back for 4 weeks for a renewal of body, mind and spirit as missioners.

Submitted by Spiritual Renewal Participants

Our Lady of Maryknoll Pray for Us!

Extended Leadership Board Meeting

Extended Leadership Board Meeting

The Extended Leadership Board met June 12-15, 2023 at Maryknoll, NY. Present were the four members of the General Council as well as Fr. Michael Briggs, Regional Superior for Latin America; Fr. Hung Dinh, Regional Superior for Africa; Bro. Mark Gruenke, Brothers’ Representative; Fr. Alfonso Kim, Regional Superior for the United States; Fr. John McAuley, Superior of the Senior Missioner Community and Fr. Joyalito Tajonera, Regional Superior for Asia. As previously approved by the ELB, two elected Representatives from the demographic, 15-Years-and-Under in Permanent Oath, Fr. Rodrigo Ulloa-Chavarry and Fr. Dae Kim were also in attendance.

Publication of Joe La Mar’s Autobiography

Publication of Joe La Mar’s Autobiography

Joe La Mar has published his autobiography, A Conversation With a Friend: Concerning Justice, Peace and Joy, available on Amazon.

Read of the journey of an infant as he matures through his birth, foster family living, normal schooling and entrance into the Air Force at eighteen. Follow through in his military activities during 20 years of wartime service involved in numerous wartime/peacetime actions as a pilot, to his retirement at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel at age 39. After retirement, he entered into a Theology program receiving a Master of Divinity degree leading to Ordination. Ordained at age 49 as a Maryknoll priest, he was assigned to work in the jungles of Guatemala. After some nine years of mission in Guatemala and the murder of one of his workers, he returned to the States. Assigned to his organization’s Treasury Department with a further assignment to represent his organization in a national organization named the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. Its purpose was to challenge Corporations to adjust their outreach among the various entities they hire/serve in a more ethically manner both in the treatment of people and creation. Through this writing, he raises issues of injustices familiar to all of us and proposes solutions that we as a people might share for the betterment of all society.

Convocation of Thanks at New York Medical College

Convocation of Thanks at New York Medical College

The atmosphere in the auditorium at New York Medical College was filled with a mixture of reverence and gratitude. It was April 28, 2023, and the college was hosting a Convocation of Thanks, a special event dedicated to honoring the individuals who had generously donated their bodies for medical study. Approximately 200 family and friends, representing the 53 donors whose selfless acts would impact the education of future doctors, attended the event. Among the guests, were four Maryknoll Sisters and two Maryknoll Society members, Br. Brendan Corkery, MM, Coordinator of Assisted Living, and Fr. Juan Zuniga, MM, of the General Council. Jacqueline Perrier, a social worker who accompanies our men in assisted living, also attended.

As the ceremony commenced, a series of short speeches began, each student taking the stage to express their heartfelt appreciation. A first-year medical student paid special tribute to Fr. John Sullivan, MM, and wondered if he had ever imagined the magnitude of his contribution to their education, and the countless lives they would go on to touch as physicians.

Two other Society Members, Fr. Clarence Engler, MM and Fr. Robert Lilly, MM were also among those being honored and remembered during the convocation. The ashes of a third Society Member, Fr. Ernest Brunelle, were returned on this day to be interred in our columbarium. The room resonated with gratitude as the students acknowledged the invaluable contributions of all the donors.

In another poignant moment, a student named Emily paid special tribute to Sr. Mary Grenough, MM. She expressed deep admiration for her generosity in considering others even in death. Alongside Sr. Mary Grenough, two other Maryknoll Sisters were also remembered for their remarkable act of kindness. It became evident that many students had taken the time to research and learn about the individuals whose bodies they would be working on, fostering a deeper connection and sense of gratitude towards them.

One student explained that the anatomy lab teams consisted of four individuals, each team responsible for dissecting one side of the body. The collaboration and shared responsibility allowed the students to gain a comprehensive understanding of human anatomy. They also studied the bodies that had been previously dissected by other teams, fostering a collective learning experience.

As the speeches drew to a close, the ceremony took a heartwarming turn. The attendees were invited outdoors to witness the planting of a memorial tree—a symbol of gratitude and remembrance. The tree would serve as a living testament to the profound impact the donors had on the education and future endeavors of these aspiring medical professionals.

The gathering of family and friends at the planting of the tree was a powerful reminder that life, even after death, could continue to touch and transform the lives of others. The students, now equipped with a deeper understanding of the human body and the immeasurable gift given to them, felt a deep sense of responsibility to honor the donors’ legacy by dedicating their lives to medicine and to the service of others.

The Convocation of Thanks at New York Medical College left an indelible impression on the hearts and minds of all who attended. It was a moment of reflection, a moment to honor the selflessness of those who had given the gift of their bodies for the advancement of medical science and the betterment of humanity.

May all Maryknollers who have been so generous, now live in the fullness of God’s generous love for them.

La Amazonia II: Mission as a Cultural Experience and Act of Incorporation

La Amazonia II: Mission as a Cultural Experience and Act of Incorporation

Whenever we are talking about mission, inevitably we bring in the aspect of a people’s culture. Talking about the culture of a people includes their language, their history, and most important, their lifestyle. Even in the life of Jesus and his teachings, all these aspects are central to his life as a real human person. The same applies to every human being, no matter the person’s religion. Human beings are God’s language to us not only as Christians or Maryknollers, but simply as human beings. The fact that human beings are God’s language means that culture is an important reality in mission.

We OTP students experience mission with a people, a cultural community. This means we have to deeply experience their culture and lifestyle. The missioner and the welcoming community learn from each other as God mysteriously evangelizes both of us.

Under the guidance of Fr. Alejandro Marina and sometimes accompanied by Fr. Paul Sykora, we OTP students often visit the zone of TIPNIS in the Amazon. TIPNIS stands for Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Secure. TIPNIS is a protected area and Native Community Land situated between the Cochabamba Department and the Beni Department (Chapare, Moxos, and Marbán provinces).

 

Our visits to TIPNIS give us an opportunity to experience mission with the many communities living in the Amazon. TIPNIS is home to the Moxeño, Chimané, and Yurakaré indigenous groups, who live from the land and are mostly hunters, fishers and gatherers. Meeting the people of these communities helps us to develop greater sensitivity to the importance of culture in misión. As part of the project of reforestation in the Amazon, we participate in tree planting in some communities that we visit.

 

During the weekend just after Pentecost, the Santissima Trinidad community holds a big celebration of three days to commemorate their founding in the Amazon. The celebration includes colorful cultural dances from the different communities inhabiting the Amazon and honors the creator and protector of these communities, in Christian terms the Holy Trinity. The celebration, which precedes a novena, has the Eucharist as its key event. In addition, families take this opportunity to introduce their sons and daughters to the Christian family through the sacrament of baptism.

 

The members of the community also observe and respect the liturgical calendar. They always ask for Mass during the special days in the church calendar; therefore, the absence of a priest or Eucharistic minister in these areas disappoints them. Here is where the catechist comes in to lead the people in prayer and celebratory processions. Whenever we OTP students visit these communities, we always try to help in the services and offer catechism classes to the children. Just recently, we participated in the procession and celebration of Corpus Christi in Santissima Trinidad which turned out to be a really beautiful celebration. It is always amazing to see how devoted the people are in reverence for God and mother nature.

 

Our faith in Christ and confidence in mission is strengthened when we are blessed with seeing the Christian faith manifested through the traditions, customs, and heritage that still exist in the indigenous cultures of the Amazon. The richness of a people united, living as one community, and taking pride in what the ancestors left behind. For the people living in the Amazon area, this is the heartbeat of their existence. In every communal activity, the entire community is happily involved and participates with pride in their rich heritage. A person from Africa could not be any happier than just experiencing this simple, humble, and kind encounter of life in the Amazon. We miss our homelands. We miss our families. But joining in Christ’s mission and experiencing life with the communities here gives us a taste of home and family in these beautiful and blessed fields afar. That is what mission is all about: getting to experience mission with sensitivity to culture, sharing in and listening to the stories of others though different from us, and ultimately learning the beauty and richness hidden in our cultures. Mission always is about God’s beautiful language: human beings.

This is the gift, the charism, that Maryknoll as a missionary society gives to us and the many people we encounter and interact with through evangelization. A gift that our Founders first received and passed to us to continue experiencing in the fields afar. Although it is not that easy to guard this precious gift for the generations to come, you can agree that there is beauty in the gift itself thanks to our Founders. There comes a time when once again this gift needs to germinate in the peripheries and the communities in the Amazon. The people of the Amazon show us that all humanity is in need of this gift. Shall we, then, pass it on for its growth as God continues his new creation in Christ?

Tom Tiscornia and friend in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan

Tom Tiscornia and friend in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan

You might be aware that there is a full-blown war going on in the north and western parts of Sudan since mid-April. It is between the government sponsored Army and Rapid Forces, an independent well supplied fundamentalist military. Hard to appreciate or realize who is in the lead. Both sides claim control of parts of Khartoum.

Rapid Forces has grown out of Darfur in the western part of the country. There many of the people have been evacuated and taken refuge in neighboring countries especially Chad and Central African Republic.

As soon as the fighting began most foreign nationals fled the country. Embassies closed and since some have been looted. Schools and hospitals have ceased to function, water and electricity in most areas are no longer available and food is scarce. Banks and industries have ceased to operate.

The Church too has suffered. In Khartoum many or most of the religious have fled. The Christian churches have been looted and occupied by the forces of both sides. The parish in Nyala in western Darfur was looted and its two vehicles taken by Rapid Forces. The priest’s guesthouse in El Obeid was bombed and destroyed and gun shots were fired into the cathedral. Both sides are sincere Islamists, who can tell what the future for the churches will be once it is settled.

Here where I am, the Nuba Mountains, is in the southern part of Sudan. We are a liberated area under the governance and protection off the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army so we are not directly affected by the war only we feel it by the increase of costs for items as fuel which comes from the north – nothing is coming but traders are hoarding what they have.

The tides have changed. In the past we here in the south we’re victims of the north. For over thirty years we experienced suffering and killing, bombing and migration. Not to say we are happy to see that the people in the north are now suffering. They still are our sisters and brothers.
So please keep Sudan and its people in your prayers that sometime in the future we will know the Peace that the Lord offers.

Tom Tiscornia

ABOUT MARYKNOLL

We are a Catholic Society of priests and brothers based in the United States. We are dedicated to missionary work overseas in over 20 countries. Additionally, we animate Catholics in the United States to follow their own baptismal call to share God’s compassion and love with the poor, the sick, and all those in need.

OUR GENERAL COUNCIL

L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier

(Fr. Lance P. Nadeau, Fr. James M. Lynch, Fr. Timothy O. Kilkelly, Fr. Juan Montes Zúñiga)

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers is overseen by our General Council, led by Superior General Rev. Lance P. Nadeau, M.M.

OUR FOUNDERS

L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier

(Our Co-Founders Father Price and Father Walsh)

PLACES WE SERVE

EVANGELIZATION, PARISHES, AND PROJECTS

USA

STORIES OF MISSION

(Africa) Education and Formation of African Clergy

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Africa Region will provide tuition assistance to African clergy, male and female religious at institutes of higher education or specialized training. Read More

Stories of Our Global Mission

The calling of a lifetime

The life of a Maryknoll missioner is challenging, fulfilling, and deeply rewarding. Follow your baptismal call to mission by sharing God’s compassion with the poor, the sick, and people most in need.

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