Monthly Archives: September 2015

Understanding the African Culture

Written by Maryknoll Lay Missioner Richard Ross

At the Lubango Center where I work, in the hills of Mwanza, Tanzania, I try to help keep the complex clean. Most of the garbage we generate is burned; there are not many, if any, garbage collection services. Now Tanzania does use marabou storks to process garbage by cleaning areas via their ingestion of carrion and waste. Surprisingly, these storks can swallow anything they find on their way, but that is for another tale.

Marabou stork

The marabou stork

When the office garbage basket gets full I usually take it out and burn the contents. We have a burn area behind the Catechist’s home. Many times the area is piled high with other garbage and tree trimmings. In an effort to try to keep the area clean I try to help burn all of it. This turns out to be not welcomed or appreciated. The Catechist dries out the trimmings and uses the wood to cook his meals for himself and one of his sons. I was unaware that my efforts to keep the area clean were detrimental and wasteful.

It was also interesting on how I found this out. One of the Kindergarten Teachers, whom I have been teaching English to twice a week for almost a year, called out to the Catechist and told him in Kiswahili what I was doing. Then he yelled something to me and the Librarian also explained that he wanted to use the trimmings for cooking. Now I had been slowly stoking the fire for over thirty minutes. She didn’t want to confront me or tell me directly not to do that, but eventually called out to the Catechist and then after I had some conversations with him, I stopped feeding the fire. Because of my status as old (Mzee) and white (Mzungu), out of respect or fear, she just let me carry on and didn’t say anything directly to me, even though we had developed a good relationship in her learning how to speak English. Slowly I’m learning, things I did without thinking in the States are by no means necessarily the right thing to do here in Tanzania!

St. Francis of Assisi. Burien, WA

Church Talk, September 26 and 27


Executive Director of Maryknoll Lay Missioners MKLM Sam StantonSpeaker: Sam Stanton Executive Director at MKLM

Location: 15226 21st Avenue SW,
Burien, WA

Pastor: Rev. Hayatsu

Masses: Saturday 5:00pm
Sunday 8:00, 10:00am and 5:00pm

Website: Click here

St. Matthew. El Paso, TX

Church Talk, September 26 and 27


Speaker: Fr. Tom McCormick Maryknoll
Fr. Bill Vos Chair at MKLM

Location: 400 West Sunset Road,
El Paso, TX

Pastor: Msgr. David Fierro

Masses: Saturday 5:30pm
Sunday 8:00, 10:00, 11:00am, 1:00 and 4:00pm

Website: Click here

St. Damien of Molokai. Pontiac, MI

Church Talk, September 26 and 27


Speaker: May Anne Perrone (Returned MKLM)

Location: 120 Lewis St,
Pontiac, MI

Pastor: Rev. James Kean

Masses: Saturday 4:30pm
Sunday 8:00, 11:00am and 7:00pm

Website: Click here

Maryknoll Lay Missioners celebrates the Pope’s arrival in the United States

Sept. 22, 2015

Sharing a message of welcome with Pope Francis, Maryknoll Lay Missioners today issued this press release together with our Maryknoll partners to note the historic importance of the pontiff’s recent encyclical not only for Catholics, but for all people who care for the environment and for the poorest, most marginalized communities around the world.

In a more lengthy statement published on the website of Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Maryknoll leaders stated: “In Laudato Si’ Pope Francis shows the fundamental link between social exclusion and environmental devastation, two major concerns of Maryknoll missioners today. Around the world Maryknoll Sisters, Lay Missioners, Affiliates, Fathers and Brothers witness the manifestations of climate change in the global south that are affecting the marginalized communities they serve: lack of food security, water availability, and changing weather patterns that most often threaten lives and livelihoods of people with the fewest economic resources and options.”

Read the full Maryknoll leadership statement on the encyclical here:

Maryknoll Lay Missioners also demonstrated support for Pope Francis’ encyclical in this letter to Congress, for which we jointly participated among many faith-based organization leaders. One excerpt from this letter states: “As faith leaders across denominations and faith traditions, we resonate with Pope Francis’ concern for the poor and the planet, as with his call for a discussion of critical issues that transcends conventional divisions. We urge members of Congress – and all of us — to listen with open minds and hearts to his words and to work together, even across great differences, for the common good.”

Piano Lessons

Written by Maryknoll Lay Missioner Caitlin Reichelderfer

When I skyped my mother to tell her that I was going to be teaching piano lessons she just started laughing. “But, you haven’t played piano in over 10 years,” she said still grinning, “and you’re not a teacher.” She was correct on both accounts. I had barely touched a piano since my senior year of high school, now a good solid 13 years ago, and by profession, I am a nurse. But a piano teacher was what one of my ministry sites was asking for, and compared to their other volunteers, I was by far the most “qualified” for the job.

Thus began my weekly piano “experiments” as I somewhat secretly called them in the beginning. However, they are experiments no longer! What started off as a semi-structured do-it-if-you-want-to style of giving lessons with three girls has turned into weekly scheduled half-hour very organized lessons with nine girls. Surprisingly, I love it.


What the piano lessons have taught me is that it does not matter what I do to connect with people, nor does it matter how well I do whatever “it” is, the most important thing is that I show up and allow myself to be open to whatever connections might come my way.

Yes, it’s true that through these lessons I teach girls how to read notes, and count, and use correct fingering. But more importantly, this weekly one-on-one time has allowed me to build solid relationship with all nine of the girls. And through these relationships I have been given the opportunity to teach them more important lessons such as how to believe in themselves and how there’s more value in the “trying” than in the “getting-it-absolutely-perfect,” and most importantly how they are worthy of love no matter what—no matter what their history has been, no matter how well they play piano, no matter how well (or poorly…) they behave, and no matter how many times they have been told in their lives that they are “bad” or “worthless.”


So maybe you’ve been waiting around for the “perfect” volunteer experience to come your way, or maybe you’ve turned down opportunities to serve because they just don’t seem to “fit your talents.” However, I truly believe that God has a knack for using us in whatever situation in which we allow ourselves to be present. And maybe, just maybe, the richest rewards will come to you in places you never even imagined were possible.

Melissa Altman featured in Manhattan College Magazine

With a masters degree from Manhattan College, Maryknoll Lay Missioner Melissa Altman is featured in the school’s magazine as an alumni working to be an “agent of change” through her mission service in El Salvador together with her family. The article contains quotes and descriptions that paint a vivid picture of the outreach Melissa and her family are engaged in through their ministry with poor communities in the rural village of La India.

Melissa shares in the article that her family’s experience living among the poor  is a significant life lesson for their two young children, ages 8 and 5, “They have learned to reach out to people and in many ways are more effective missioners than we could ever hope to be. They have already learned that each person is intrinsically valuable.” Read the full article here.

Finding Lulu: The Tanzanian Connection

Update: the online magazine, Auntie Bellum, which features Southern women in its content, recently published former Maryknoll Lay Missioner Katie Reid’s excellent article that was first published as a blog for SCCADVASA. Check it out here.

Recently returned Maryknoll Lay Missioner, Katie Reid, is now Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator at SCCADVASA in South Carolina. We were proud to read Katie’s recent blog for that organization, where she shares insights and awareness gained from her time in mission in Tanzania working with the Lulu project. Click here to view the blog entry.

St. Anthony of Padua. Kenosha, WI

Church Talk, September 5-6


Speaker: Sami Scott MKLMsami

Location: 2223 51st St,
Kenosha, WI

Pastor: Rev. Todd Belardi

Masses: Saturday 5:45pm
Sunday 10:00am

Website: Click here

St. Eugene. Wendell, NC

Church Talk, September 5 and 6


debbie 80x80Speaker: Debbie Northern MKLM

Location: 608 Lions Club Road,
Wendell, NC

Pastor: Rev. Johanes Raharjo, CICM

Masses: Saturday 5:00pm (English) and 6:30pm (Spanish)
Sunday 9:00am (English) and 12:00 noon (Spanish)

Website:  Link

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