Showing posts from July, 2013

U.S. Deacons Travel to El Salvador with Maryknoll

by Deacon Bill Batstone  Bill is a deacon of the Seattle Archdiocese and member of the Maryknoll Deacon Mission Partners )
In July of this year, my wife JT and I participated in a one week mission immersion to El Salvador with the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers as part of their Deacon Mission Partners Program. I have made two prior trips with Maryknoll to El Salvador, but being able to make this trip with my wife was special because we were able to share this experience of the holy together as a couple.

The first part of the trip was a pilgrimage focused on visiting the sites where the Catholic martyrs died. These places are truly holy ground. We celebrated Mass in the chapel where Archbishop Romero was assassinated and at the location where the four church women were murdered. JT was the lector at both of these Masses, which was a great honor for her. We also visited the University of Central America (UCA) where the six Jesuit priests were executed and prayed at their tombs. We…

Moving Forward: A Gospel View of Community

Although we in the US are no strangers to political and social division, the divisions exposed by the death of Trayvon Martin and trial of George Zimmerman seem especially raw.  They speak to long-simmering conflicts of the past and present, never fully reconciled.  Spiritually, I have struggled in a very personal way with how we move forward together.  In many ways, I often feel caught between two worlds: the white, middle-class world of my upbringing, and the ever-expanding world of my work and ministry.  But this conflict is at least tempered by being rooted in choice.  My non-white friends and relatives are born into a much greater conflict of belonging.  This consciousness now touches my own life in a much more real way, as I wonder about my eighteen-week-old son, whose complexion more and more matches that of his Hispanic mother.  What world do I hope exists for him as he grows?
I think that the answer lies in Jesus' view of community.  When we take a hard look at ourselves…

We Found Mission in Guatemala

In mid-June 2013 I was blessed with the opportunity to accompany a group of teachers, catechists, and other parish ministers on a mission immersion experience to Guatemala City and Esquipulas in Guatemala.  Everyone was touched in a profound way.  This post is one of those stories.  Written by Chuck Kennedy for the parish bulletin at All Saints, its intent was to publicize an evening of sharing and photos which many in the group attended.  It embodies the essence of mission and answers the question: "Why do you want to go to Guatemala?"  It is my pleasure to share it with you!

by Chuck Kennedy, July 7, 2013

My "vacation" wasn't the typical trip away.  It was spiritual and life-changing.  I, along with 11 other people, spent nine days in Guatemala with Maryknoll Missionaries.  Maryknoll is a Catholic Organization that does work all over the world. I called this my journey of faith, because I had no idea what to expect, what we were goi…

Why We Need to Know the Poor and Marginalized

As a mission educator, I am blessed with opportunities to spend time with people beyond my borders.  But I don't see the fact that I get to go to Haiti or Guatemala or Bolivia as a distinction that puts me above anyone else, or as "the thing" that makes me a missionary.  It is simply one of many blessings that God affords me, which helps me to better know Christ.  The early Christian communities were not formed only by those who went out to share the Gospel, but primarily by regular women and men who shared the Good News of God's love by building relationships among people in their own communities - from the privileged to the widowed and orphaned - at a time of brutality and social division.  The mission is to build one human family in Christ, and it is shared by each and every one of us.

The temptation, of course, is to see the mission as "us" bringing the faith to "them."  But, if you look at the Gospel, Jesus is often pointing his disciples to t…

Why Don’t I Do That at Home?

When I am out of the country on mission immersion, my daily routine gets into a rhythm that feels so natural. I watch no television, rarely email anyone, and spend maybe 10 minutes per week on the internet. I spend much more time developing relationships, going for walks, greeting people on the street, listening to other’s stories. I eat healthy foods, go to bed early, get up early, and get more exercise.

Visiting program sites, schools, orphanages, and the like gives me a whole flood of ideas about what I could do if I lived there. I have always gone to Latin America where it’s hot, humid, the bugs are enormous, the dogs on the streets are wild, and the air pollution level is subject to the blowing of the wind. There often is no hot water, and during this last immersion to Esquipulas in Guatemala, often no running water at all. The sweat gets so intense I think I’ll never be able to peel my shirt off at the end of the day. I bunk with roommates and have almost no time to myself…and I…