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Showing posts from January, 2012

Maryknoll Father Romane St. Vil Helps His Fellow Haitians Rise Up From Crisis

Carolyn Woo, the new president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, recently told America Magazine that, "Relief work is not over as soon as you put a shelter on top of a person and they can be fed and [given] medical care." With their homes and livelihoods destroyed or in peril, she went on, we have to ask ourselves, "What about the rest of their lives?"

I noted a distressing parallel last night at an economic justice forum at Seattle's St. James Cathedral. Michael Reichert, president of Catholic Community Services of Western Washington, noted that since the economic crisis in the United States, his organization has been forced to move almost entirely from programs and initiatives of hope and growth for those struggling economically, physically, and/or psychologically, to solely focusing on meeting basic needs such as food, clothing, and housing. Obviously, these are needs that must be addressed immediately, but as Mr. Reichert noted, our concern and love for t…

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

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Yesterday I went to St. Leo the Great Parish to celebrate the Chinese New Year Mass in my old neighborhood.  Sally, a friend of Maryknoll had invited me saying she thought it was important to attend because of the special relationship between China and Maryknoll (it was the first Mission over 100 years ago).  Other than Bishops Cordileone and Cummins and one other priest, I was the only non-Asian person and nearly everything was in Mandarin, a language about which I studied for 2 semesters and never mastered even the basics.  I was warmly welcomed by several people including priests and soon felt comfortable.  I reflected on how important it is to feel accepted when in an unfamiliar environment and whether I do enough to welcome the strangers in my midst. 
 Bp. Cordileone delivered the homily.  He mentioned the hardships that the Chinese people endure in their country trying to live their Catholic faith and conceded that the people sitting in the pews could deliver his homily better t…
The best explanation I've heard for the Trinity: It is like a Father and a Son playing frisbee in the front yard.  Where's the Holy Spirit you ask?  It's the love that is shared between the Father and the Son as they commune with one another.

Are You Called to Mission?

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Bonhoeffer's Mission Year

Sometimes a book comes to you at the exact right moment in your life, when you can immerse yourself in - and even by transformed by - its words. Such has been the case in my current reading of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. When Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the great Lutheran theologian and social activist, left his home in Germany to visit the United States in 1930, he almost certainly did not see it as a "mission" encounter. Too young to be ordained as a Lutheran minister, he traveled to New York to study theology and to site-see. True to his adventurous and inquisitive spirit, he traveled much of the Eastern and Southern US with friends he had made in New York, even taking a road trip to Mexico, camping out in farmland along the way.

We tend to think of "mission" as the opportunity to do, but Bonhoeffer's year in the United States stands as a powerful example of simply opening one's heart and eyes. While in the United States, Bonho…