Showing posts from May, 2011

Crossing Borders: the Mission Rosary

I don't typically attend the Saturday morning Mass at my local parish. For one thing, it starts at 8am on Saturday morning. This past Saturday, though, I had the opportunity to lead a Mission Rosary immediately following Mass. So I went to Mass first, and the moments leading up to the Rosary itself were a little nerve-wracking. I had never led a Rosary of any kind, let alone a Mission Rosary, let alone a Mission Rosary requiring the use of a laptop and projector. Because the Rosary is prayed in the church immediately following Mass on Saturday mornings, I needed to do all of my set up right before we were to begin. Naturally, this took longer than it should have, leaving everyone waiting for me in the pews.

By the time that I stood to introduce the Mission Rosary to the expectant parishioners, I was fairly frazzled. Still, almost immediately after I began praying the Apostles' Creed, all of that nervousness melted away. We continued with our prayer, each decade of the Rosary pr…

Sunday readings: In response to injustice the community calls forth first deacons for mission

The first reading this Sunday finds the first Christian community confronting an internal social justice.   The Greek speaking widows were getting treated unfairly in the daily distribution of the communal food and supplies.   They had a number of strikes against them.  Not only were they women in a patriarchal society, but they were widowed, without a man's voice.   Moreover, in the Jewish community of disciples mostly from Galilee, they were minorities, who likely came from places other than Palestine with a different language and culture.
The response of the community, after prayer and direction of Holy Spirit is to lay hands on seven Greek speaking men.   They are seen in our tradition as the first "deacons."   Although the passage talks about their ministry as being primarily service at table to address the injustice, it's important to note that two of them, Stephen and Philip, become immediately involved in missionary activity.   Stephen goes out into the street…

The Value of Feeling Valued

One of the best parts about my position at Maryknoll is that I am constantly reaffirmed in the work that I am doing. Just this morning, I received an entirely unexpected thank you card from members of a JustFaith group at which I spoke recently, with handwritten messages from each member of the group. I also sent out the monthly newsletter from the Maryknoll Northwest, and almost instantly received positive feedback, first from a priest with whom I am friends, and then from the director of our Maryknoll Western Region.

I mention these things to highlight the value of this sort of positive reinforcement, and to contrast it with the lived experience of so many. When I was a teacher, positive feedback was often difficult to come by. Schools can be very isolated environments for the people that work in them. In too many, teachers do not get many chances to observe others teaching or be observed in the work that they do. The only people that really see how these teachers are performing on a…