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The account of the course of Maryknoll Father Joseph Cappel’s life as observed by Maryknoll Father Kevin Hanlon in your May/June 2020 issue of Maryknoll magazine is indeed a saintly suggestion. As this priest ministered to the rural inhabitants in remote regions of Chile, he did so with a sustainable practice in mind. By riding his bicycle, he practiced an alternative form of transportation. Father Cappel in a sense was ahead of his time and a forerunner to Pope Francis’ announcement in Laudato Si’ that to care for our common home is essential.
As an avid cyclist myself, I’m all in with this ecological effort. Protecting the biome of rural Chile may or may not have been what Father Cappel had in mind. Although, in this particular South American region, where protective measures for the environment are necessary, such steps to prevent erosion and pollution are a blessing. Here in the southeastern sector of Michigan, we just have too many automobiles. I, like that young man who tried to keep up with this missioner on a bike, “would love the company” as well.
Mark A. Sleboda
Redford Township, Michigan
I was a Maryknoll seminarian for six years and attended the high school and college preparatory educational seminary called the Venard, located in Clarks Summit, Pa., from 1963 to 1967. Upon graduation, I went to Maryknoll College in Glen Ellyn, Ill., for my first two years of college seminary. I left at the end of my sophomore year, knowing someday I would want to be married and have a family. On May 1 of this year, my spouse, Ann Marie, and I celebrated our 49th anniversary. We raised four children, each of whom have lived and studied abroad—India, England, Spain and Costa Rica.
One of my classmates while at Maryknoll College was Maryknoll Father Joseph Thaler. He and I were roommates for a semester during our sophomore year. As you know, he has been in Nepal for 40-plus years and was recently featured in the online Maryknoll magazine.
My wife and I have traveled internationally over the years, and when we were planning a trip to India and Nepal, I contacted my former classmate to see if we could connect with him on our trip. Last November, we visited India for 12 days and then traveled to Nepal, where we linked up with Father Joe in Kathmandu. Based on our advance conversation with Father Joe, we brought with us 70 pounds of school supplies in suitcases for the teaching staff at one of the schools that he supports.
We spent a day with Father Joe, touring the Tibetan refugee camp and the handicraft center, the health clinic and the early child development center, delivering the school supplies to the Shree Panauti Basic School, then seeing the brick factory and the water filtration system in Bagmati, and meeting many of Father Joe’s friends and the people he works with.
The mission, vision and spirit of Maryknoll is alive and thriving! That is, serving others and making a difference in their lives was most evident in the long-lasting projects and long-term relationships that he has established and fostered throughout his time in Nepal. Most importantly, Father Joe has supported and sponsored individual Nepalese to lead and manage each of these projects, knowing he will transition from Nepal in a few years. Every project has been sustained over the years through Father Joe’s insight and collaborative relationships. The projects will continue, and his vision of launching social service and health-related projects and self-sustaining employment projects, led by local Nepalese, demonstrated to us the true mission of Maryknoll missionaries—putting a punctuation mark behind the “social gospel.”
Ann Marie Michaels-Weinburger
It was such a joy for me to read Father Joseph Veneroso’s Spirit of Mission column in the March/April 2020 edition of Maryknoll. He understands that Jesus suffered most when he felt abandoned. Very few people realize this and it made me grateful to see it expressed so well in Father Veneroso’s essay. Thank you.
Via Maryknoll magazine website
In the past I have sent contributions to Maryknoll to be used at your mission in Santiago, Chile. Now I would like for you to use my gift where it is most needed. When Maryknoll magazine arrives, I read every article. The accounts of the missioners and volunteers are totally inspiring. Faith plays a major role in their lives and in those lives of the people they serve. Miracle upon miracle! Thank you for your tireless work and prayers.
I am so far behind in my reading, but I want to respond to the article in the September/October 2019 issue of your magazine titled “How I became a missionary disciple.” The two-page autobiography was by Maryknoll Father Joseph R. Veneroso. Over these past years I have been collecting his prayer cards, most recently the lovely “Christmas” and undated “Prayer for a better world,” so current for today. Father Veneroso speaks to God in such a beautiful way in words that become mine. Thank you, Father Veneroso.