Members’ Memos January & February 2016

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I never fail to be inspired by reading Maryknoll magazine. The lives of the missionaries and those whom they serve introduce me to people and experiences that enrich my life.

In spite of the challenges in their situations, there is a message of hope, joy and gratitude. It is humbling; it makes me think twice about complaining in my own life.
Judy Kipka
Minneapolis, Minnesota


As Christians we are compelled to use our senses to aid others. In the July/August 2015 issue, the ministry of Father John Barth in South Sudan, which through a clinic there helps the blind to see, is a manifestation of what Jesus did here on earth. It causes us to ask why we who have been given so much in the Western world cannot reach out more through stewardship for the unfortunate.

While reading about Father Barth, I was moved by my own personal relationship with it. Being affected by eye ailments is something that has beset our family. My late father had glaucoma surgery and cataracts removed during the 1960s. I, too, had the cataract procedure done recently. But, for us, these are things we take for granted since modern medicine is so accessible to us.

It is true that Maryknoll missioners continue to serve inexhaustibly, albeit the harvest is great while workers remain few. I’m reminded of that Gospel account of when John the Baptist was in prison, Jesus instructed his followers to tell John that “the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them” (Matthew 11:5).
As partners in mission we should also lift up our praises for the Buluk Eye Clinic in South Sudan, which affirms our faith through action.
Mark A. Sleboda
Redford Township, Michigan


I understand that the pope has joined the man-caused climate change club, and that this is a natural cause for the social justice oriented and often economically clueless Catholic Church. I love the basic mission and message of the Church, and because of all the great work that Maryknoll does, I ignored this silly article.

Please think through your position on this for a few minutes. The climate change computer models have been substantially wrong for the past 15-plus years. If the man-cause alarmists are correct, a meaningful global change from fossil fuels to other energy sources would cost in excess of $5 trillion, which currently bankrupt Western democracies do not have. If the switch from fossil fuel were to be implemented and we survived financially, economic growth would be even slower, negatively affecting the poor. Many people, such as Bill Gates, believe a fossil fuel changeover would not even solve the “problem.” And by the way, charitable organizations like Maryknoll would certainly suffer with this massive diversion of global capital.

Let’s stick to the beautiful and effective Maryknoll core mission. And please, do not consider a hit piece on capitalism, which the pope has said he does not really understand despite writing against it.
Kevin Dretzka
Los Angeles, California


In the September/October issue of Maryknoll, I read with much interest of the friendship and influence that Father Benedict Zweber had on the lives of Wayne and Sherrill Ostergren of Shakopee, Minn. I well recall Father Zweber from my time in Korea, when I served in Inchon with the U.S. Army in 1961–1962.

I used to attend Mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral there and met Father Zweber one day early in my tour. He asked if I would teach conversational English to some of his parishioners, which I did. I came to love and understand many of the young Koreans I taught and they, in turn, gave me so much more. He also urged a friend and me to visit the Star of the Sea Orphanage, which was run by the Maryknoll Sisters. We would go every week to visit and play with those wonderful children at the orphanage. My tour of Korea was so much more enriching thanks to Father Zweber, whose legacy and spirit live on in the lives of the Ostergrens and in this letter writer.
Michael F. Gallagher
Abington, Pennsylvania


You’re all doing such good and important work, and Maryknoll magazine is one of the best sources for modern Catholic teaching.
Joseph and Ann Buckley
Kalamazoo, Michigan


I was pleased to read in the September/October issue in Members’ Memos that some members wrote to refute some of the strange and perverse criticisms of Maryknoll’s ministry by other members.

When I read Maryknoll magazine, I am filled with Christian hope by the wonderful work that all the Maryknoll missioners do and have been doing for over a century. And I am embarrassed that in comparison I do so little for others. Considering how much good Maryknoll missioners do, it appears quite uncharitable for members to criticize Maryknoll over peculiarly perceived nuances of doctrinal issues. It is perfectly clear that the missioners are doing just what Jesus asks of all of us: Matthew 25: 37–45.
Michael Howard
Palm Springs, California

The editors invite Maryknoll Members to send us their views. Write to:
Members’ Memos
P.O. Box 302, Maryknoll, N.Y. 10545-0302
Our e-mail address is:



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