Almost 70 Maryknoll missioners, Affiliates and staff members gathered in Washington, D.C. on May 16-17 for a special event to help mark the Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers' and the Maryknoll Sisters' centennial years (2011-2012).
For many years, the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns (MOGC) has brought the lived experience of Maryknoll missioners and the people with whom they live and work to the decision-making tables in our nation’s capital. The authentic understanding that Maryknoll brings to discussions of international policy is deeply respected by our colleagues and by lawmakers alike. This significant presence of the Maryknoll family helped to raise awareness of the critical issues of justice, peace and the integrity of creation, and illuminated the work of the MOGC and its efforts on behalf of the Maryknoll community.
We started our time together with Mass on Wednesday, May 16, at Holy Redeemer Parish, 206 New York Avenue, N.W., where the MOGC is located. Fr. David Bava, the pastor, celebrated the Eucharist. Following Mass, we shared dinner together in the church's social hall; Robert Ellsberg, Orbis Books publisher and editor-in-chief, spoke about Maryknoll's corporate commitment to justice and peace.
After Robert's speech, the MOGC executive committee -- Sr. Janice McLaughlin, Fr. Paul Masson, and Sam Stanton -- presented a token of appreciation to Marie Dennis, the longtime director of the MOGC who "retired" from Maryknoll after 22 years on staff. Watch the presentation here.
On Thursday, May 17, our entire group gathered at the White House Conference Center for a briefing by White House and administration staffers on a number of issues, including overcoming the marginalization of women (with Ambassador Melanne Verveer, U.S. Department of State); immigration reform (with Felicia Escobar, senior policy advisor, White House Domestic Policy Council); addressing HIV and AIDS (with John Monahan, office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, U.S. Department of State); and environment and climate change (with Celeste Connors, director of Environment and Climate Change, National Security Council.) The staffers presented their work on their respective topics, and Maryknollers were able to ask some questions and raise a few issues during the briefing.
Following the White House meeting, we regrouped at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church for a time of reflection; Sr. Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby, helped prepare us for visits with members of Congress. During the afternoon, folks visited Capitol Hill, had some good conversations with a few members of Congress and with staffers, and were able to deliver Maryknoll's statements on immigration, trade justice, and nuclear power/weapons. [Photo above shows a portion of the group from New York's 18th district who met with Rep. Nita Lowey (seventh from the right.)]
We wrapped up our time together that evening with a relaxing reception with colleagues. Marie Dennis, who recently resigned as the director of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns after 22 years with Maryknoll, gave a brief talk about how Maryknoll's lived experience has shaped its analysis and advocacy work. Watch her remarks here.
We were honored to have Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) join us for a minute during our reception - it was a busy evening in Congress and he had to dash over to say hello before heading back for more votes. Watch his remarks here.
Thank you to all who attended. Our time together was a great blessing and a positive effort to continue to promote Maryknoll's work for justice and peace for our global family.
In photo above, l-to-r: Fr. Bob Jalbert (director of Maryknoll Society Mission Education and Promotion); Sr. Roni Schweyen (volunteer with Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns); Sr. Ann Hayden [member of Maryknoll Sisters' Congregational Leadership Team (CLT)]; Sam Stanton (executive director of Maryknoll Lay Missioners); Debbie Kair (Maryknoll Affiliate); Sr. Rebecca Macugay (CLT member); Lynn Monahan (editor of Maryknoll magazine); Sr. Bitrina Kirway (CLT member); Rep. Lowey; Fr. Tom Henehan (Maryknoll Society Hispanic Outreach/Maryknoll Mission Center, Bolivia, behind Rep. Lowey); Sr. Claudette LaVerdiere (former president of Maryknoll Sisters); Fr. Paul Masson (member of Maryknoll Society General Council); Cecilia Espinoza (director of Friends Across Borders, a Maryknoll Lay Missioners project); Sr. Rosemarie Milazzo; Sr. Ann Braudis (Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns/UN representative); and Larry Rich (content coordinator, Maryknoll Society Mission Education and Promotion).