Showing posts from March, 2012

Bringing Mission Home

When we experience the love of God, we almost cannot help but share it with others. I was struck by this when a local Catholic school teacher wrote to ask if I could deliver the money that her students had raised during Lent to the Maryknoll Little Sprouts program in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Little Sprouts program cares for children that have lost both parents to AIDS and have no relatives available or willing to take them in. What struck me is how this donation came about: the teacher had served in Cambodia five years ago, and had met the Maryknollers heading this program. She was so inspired by what she saw that, as a teacher in the Seattle area, she shared these experiences with her students. Every year since her return from Cambodia, the school has raised money to support this work. The project is headed by the student council.

In stepping outside of herself and crossing borders, this teacher was exposed to her brothers and sisters in Christ across the globe. Her experience…

Volunteering at a Migrant House in Mexico February 2012

Maryknoll Affiliate Pat Bader shares his recent experience volunteering in Tijuana, Mexico.

Three miles from the US/Mexican border in Tijuana the Scalabrini Fathers welcome migrants to their Casa Del Migrante. With a capacity of over 100 men, the Casa offers meals, sleeping dormitories, clothing, medical care, and help for those trying to put their lives back together after being deported and separated from their families in the US.

Set up over 25 years ago for migrants either going to or returning from the US, the Casa guests are now almost exclusively people deported from the US by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In many cases, the undocumented Mexicans have been picked up for some infraction such as expired driver's license, driving without a license, DUI, a "burned out" tail light, etc. In other cases, the offense may be more serious.

Many of those arrested have lived in the US for many years (some since they were babies) and consider Mexico to be a "for…

Maryknoll Affiliates Share Signs of Hope in Uganda

In 2009, three Maryknoll Affiliates witnessed work by Catholic Relief Services, the Comboni Missionaries, and the local people to reconcile members of the LRA with communities that they harmed. They shared this letter:

December 5, 2009

Dear Family and Friends

Courage is not an infinite resource. It can be burned up by exhaustion, too much danger or exposure to the enormous task of putting Northern Uganda back together after 23 years of war.

Kitty, Judy and I visited Gulu in Northern Uganda meeting many courageous people. We stayed with the Comboni Sisters. The Comboni Missionaries began their mission in Africa in Egypt and along the Nile in 1864. The first missioners encountered many hardships including disease, long journeys up the Nile and difficult languages. They witnessed the slave trade, were imprisoned and many of the first missioners died along the way.

When I asked a Comboni sister with 40 years experience in the Sudan and Uganda about the hardships of early Combonis, she said “…

Lenten Reflection: Letting Ourselves Be Changed Through Christ

"Are you open to the possibility that your life may change?" When Jack Jezreel developed the initial JustFaith program for his parish in 1989, he wrote this question on the flyer. What started with a group of 13 interested Catholics soon spread like wildfire to churches across the country - Catholic and otherwise.
The ministry of JustFaith is rooted in the love of Christ, which, as Jack notes, is more than a love without conditions, but is also a love without exceptions. Not only are we called to love our friends, family, neighbors, and fellow citizens, but all people. We are commanded to love them, be they rich, poor, immigrants, thieves, Muslims, Christians, liberals, conservatives, murderers, ill, homeless - whether they burden us, hate us, anger us, confuse us, frighten us, or even harm and kill us. We are commanded to love without condition or exception.

As we continue down another Lenten journey, Jack Jezreel's question is one that we should ask ourselves. Ar…