Posts

Showing posts from February, 2011

Reflections on My Volunteeering in Oaxaca Mexico

Image
Below is a message from Pat Bader, a Maryknoll Affiliate from Seattle


Hi Family and Friends,

My two-week volunteering trip this month centered on the Oaxaca Ecology Project ranch in the hills above the city of Oaxaca that former Maryknoll Lay Missioners Pat and Mary Denevan started a few years ago. The city of Oaxaca lies in the central mountain range of the country about 300 miles south of Mexico City.
The 5-acre ecology project "combines principles of Permaculture, modern technology and the wisdom of indigenous cultures of Mexico to promote efficient uses of natural resources and organic, sustainable agriculture" (from the Ecology Project mission statement) and includes over 30 fruit trees watered by a drip system, solar cells to generate electricity, solar water heating system, thermally efficient adobe home, rain collection ditches and roof collection system, composting system, ecological dry toilet system, biointensive gardens, and raising small farm animals such as chicke…

Forgiveness: Heart of the Matter for Mission

Image
Don Henely’s song “The Heart of the Matter” talks about forgiveness, even if you don’t love me anymore.   We used that song as a mediation at our liturgy during our Forgiveness Retreat this weekend.   As it played in the chapel, the fifteen of us on the retreat together hung homemade peace cranes on a bare branch.   The visual image as the branch came alive with the color of the birds was stunning.   Perhaps what made it so impressive to us was the hard work and frustration that went into making the cranes.   While I thought I was quite skilled at making paper airplanes and those little triangular “footballs” we used in school, the cranes were surprisingly difficult.

In many ways the cranes symbolized for us the process of forgiveness that we focused on during the retreat.  We watched the film, Power of Forgiveness, which stimulated good discussion on what forgiveness is about and what happens when we fail to forgive.    Did you know that forgiving people have lower blood pressure?

Usin…

Leading By Example

I was walking on a Friday night in a busy stretch of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, and ended up waiting at a crosswalk next to a man with two very young children.As we waited, a number of other pedestrians decided to cross the street without waiting for the signal to change.Seeing this, one of the man’s children asked his father, “Why don’t we just cross?”The man replied that they needed to wait for the light to change.The boy countered, “Then why are those people crossing?”The father struggled to offer an explanation.As he did so, another pedestrian crossed towards us, smiling sheepishly and apologizing as he noticed the conversation.The man explained to his son that kids always need to wait for the signal, but sometimes adults can cross if they look both ways and know that there aren’t any cars.The boy wasn’t swayed.When we finally did cross, we again found ourselves waiting at yet another crosswalk. The boy huffed, “Oh, let’s just cross!”.That boy learned more from watching …

Missioners in Bolivia

Below is a letter and slideshow of pictures from Karen and Jim Halberg, Maryknoll Lay Missioners in Bolivia.

Click here for the slideshow: https://picasaweb.google.com/halbergweaver/February2011Newsletter?authkey=Gv1sRgCJ2b44X3yoDudg&feat=email#slideshow/5566589716740423010

Summer greetings from Cochabamba, Bolivia!
For some great pictures of our family and life in mission, we invite you to our web page. Just click on “Play slide show” above.
The Bolivian school year began this week, on February 1. Dan is starting 5th grade and Emma 2nd in a Fe y Alegria elementary school down the street from our home. The Fe y Alegria schools were started by the Jesuits and have a good reputation. Dan and Emma enjoyed their seven months of double summer vacation, but are now eager to make new friends at school.
I began work on February 1 as well. I have joined a newly-formed team that will provide spiritual accompaniment to the students at the Fe y Alegria high school that is part of our parish. As a …

Christianity is not a spectator sport: Called to be salt and light

Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Mt 5-13-16)
Homily by Deacon Matt Dulka, Our Lady of Grace, Castro Valley, 2/6/2011

I was born in Wisconsin, so I’m a cheesehead by birth. So as you might guess, this Superbowl Sunday is a big day for me and my family. The Superbowl is one of the largest spectator sports events around. I don’t know how many people will be gathered around TV sets watching the the game today.

By contrast, in the Gospel today, Jesus couldn't make it much clearer. Being a Christian is not a spectator’s sport. You can’t be a Christian and sit by on the sidelines and watch life go by. Jesus expects his followers to do what he did. Wherever life has lost its flavor or meaning, we are called to get in there and be salt. Wherever there is darkness, we are called to be light.

But how can we be salt? How are we to be light? And what happens when we do?

The first reading from Isaiah is helpful.  He speaks very concretely about what it means to be light and what happens when we …

Celebrating Catholic School's Week Part II

To end Catholic Schools Week on a lighter note, we pass these on.   Who knows whether they are true, urban legend or just made up...
__________________________________________________________________________________________
PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE WORDING AND SPELLING. IF YOU KNOW THE BIBLE EVEN A LITTLE, YOU'LL FIND THIS HILARIOUS! IT COMES FROM A CATHOLIC ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEST.

KIDS WERE ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS. THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS ABOUT THE BIBLE WERE WRITTEN BY CHILDREN. THEY HAVE NOT BEEN RETOUCHED OR CORRECTED. INCORRECT SPELLING HAS BEEN LEFT IN.

1. IN THE FIRST BOOK OF THE BIBLE, GUINESSIS. GOD GOT TIRED OF CREATING THE WORLD SO HE TOOK THE SABBATH OFF.

2. ADAM AND EVE WERE CREATED FROM AN APPLE TREE . NOAH'S WIFE WAS JOAN OF ARK. NOAH BUILT AND ARK AND THE ANIMALS CAME ON IN PEARS.

3. LOTS WIFE WAS A PILLAR OF SALT DURING THE DAY, BUT A BALL OF FIRE DURING THE NIGHT.

4. THE JEWS WERE A PROUD PEOPLE AND THROUGHOUT HISTORY THEY HAD TROU…

Bus From Chipole

Here is a blog from lay missioners and Seattle Maryknoll Affiliates Kitty and Roger Shiltz who are currently serving in Africa:

January 30, 2011

Dear Friends,"If you don't see be at the back of the bus, you can't find me nowhere, come on over to the front of the bus. I"ll be riding up there."We left Chipole a few days ago. It's the home of the Benedictine Sisters of St. Agnes. What a beautiful experience and the beginning of a beautiful relationship with them. Working, singing, dancing and praying with them is a meaningful spiritual experience. It took us 21 hours to reach Chipole from,Dar es Salaam so in leaving, we decided to stop in a few places on the way hoping to have no breakdowns.We started in Songea with peanuts and Maandazis (doughnuts) for the bus ride. It's a 3 hour ride by Tumaini (hope) bus from Chipole. We were with Deo Gratias who was the pre school teacher at Chipole. She is now beginning secondary school in Songea. She is sponsored by two…

What is mission?

Image
We come from God, created in God's image. But we are so immersed in God that we can lose sight of that. Sometimes mission is simply helping each other stop, take a breath and become aware of that.

Catholic Schools Week

Image
This is Catholic Schools Week.   Although I haven't done a poll, over the years, I've heard more than a few Maryknollers talk about who influenced their decision to become a Maryknoller.  Especially with the older veterans, over and over again, they said that their grade school teachers played a significant role in their wanting to become a missionary.   Most, if not all of those teachers, were nuns.   Not Maryknoll Sisters, but women religious from various communities that got them enthused about mission.

My three kids went through Catholic School K-12.   They never saw a nun in the classroom in all their years of education.   They had great lay teachers and received a wonderful and solid education.   But I did notice one thing.  Because of my work with Maryknoll I'd quiz them about whether they ever talked about mission in their classes.   Not very often, they'd tell me; except of course the time I came to their classroom to give a mission education presentation and …