Readers’ Responses Spring 2021

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Readers’ Responses Spring 2021 are letters to the editor about our print articles and may include comments to our web and social media posts.

Thank you for your wonderful publication, which has been a favorite of mine for many years. In the Winter 2021 issue a reader was concerned that Father Joseph R. Veneroso had made a serious error when he spoke of creation in the September/October issue as being the first sacramentWe are truly blessed in our faith to have access to the seven sacraments that were given to us by our Lord, Jesus Christ. It’s correct that “creation” itself is not among those blessings that we acknowledge with holy, formal rituals. However, the act of the existence of anything at all is given to us by God the Father in union with our Lord. Thus, for example, we can speak of the “sacrament” of humor in the same breath as we rejoice over the “sacrament” of creation without disrespecting our beloved seven.
Peter M. Murray
Brookfield, Wisconsin

The Winter 2021 edition of your Maryknoll magazine with the photos and meditative prose on St. Joseph the Carpenter is encouraging during these times. I like to think of St. Joseph as the worker since he works in our hearts and minds to give us courage. We don’t know too much about Joseph in Scripture. What is known is that he was summoned to be an obedient servant to God as well as a chaste spouse to Mary and a paternal mentor to Jesus. To be called in that form is quite moving to me. As Joseph did, we must gather all our fortitude and then work to prepare the way of the Lord.
Mark A. Sleboda
Redford Township, Michigan

I was sorry to see Father Gerard McCrane’s name included among those Maryknoll missioners who died during this past year. I was privileged to know Father Gerry in the fall of 1983 when I spent three months at the Maryknoll Language School, the Instituto de Idiomas in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Then the school’s director, Father Gerry was a wonderful host and friend, with a language program that included an introduction to the Latin American reality, ably assisted by Maryknoll Sister Barbara Hendricks. I am writing this on the 40th anniversary of the murder in El Salvador of Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clarke and Ita Ford and their companions, Sister Dorothy Kazel and Lay Missioner Jean Donovan. The Church owes much to your community. May they all rest in peace.
Thomas P. Rausch, S.J.
Los Angeles, California

As a longtime reader and supporter of Maryknoll magazine, but also a nuclear engineer and scientist, I found the article about well-intentioned Sister Kathleen Reiley to be entirely one-sided. Nuclear, in all of its implementations—from commercial electricity generation, to space research, to medicine, to the maintenance of world peace by the U.S. arsenal of nuclear weapons—has two sides, but only one was told and even that was misleading due to the hysteria associated with radiation.The facts are that the radiation levels in and around Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima and Tokaimura, even right after the accidents, are similar to the naturally occurring radiation levels in many parts of the world today. We scientists have not succeeded in educating society that there is no evidence that these relatively low radiation levels that people worldwide are exposed to from Mother Nature’s sources pose any health risks whatsoever. I have worked and lived here in Los Alamos, New Mexico, for over 50 years and was the chief nuclear scientist on a Department of Energy three-person team sent to Tokaimura directly after the accident. I can attest to the media hysteria and unfortunate scaring of the local populace associated with the low levels of radiation because of the accident. Unfortunately, our educational system and the popular media do not mention the science and data that support my statements herein nor do they report about all the positive sides to the world’s uses for nuclear energy today and into the future. Thousands of lives are saved yearly from both pollution-free electricity generation by commercial nuclear power plants and by applications of radiation in medicine. Yes, there is nuclear waste, but it is relatively small in volume and has been safely handled for over 70 years and poses minuscule radiation risk to the public. Sister Reiley “believes” that Japan’s 52 nuclear power plants pose an enormous threat to human life. The reality is that the science and the data show just the opposite; they are saving thousands of lives yearly because of pollution reduction alone.
Thomas McLaughlin
Los Alamos, New Mexico

Think about an article on Sister Dede Byrne. She is a wonderful Catholic nun who truly practices her Catholic faith with the poor. Her life is dedicated to the many who suffer. When Sister Byrne spoke at the Republican National Convention, she said her weapon of choice is the rosary. I pray this isn’t too controversial for your beautiful magazine. Thank you, Maryknoll. Honor the Blessed Mother and many blessings will follow.
Maureen Theresa Krepol
Media, Pennsylvania

Correction: In a Missioner Tale by Maryknoll Lay Missioner Susan Nagele in the print edition of the Winter 2021 issue, we mistakenly identified the two young men who delivered polio vaccine to a remote area in South Sudan as a Maryknoll lay missioner and a priest from the St. Patrick’s Missionary Society. In fact, the two men mentioned were members of the Toposa ethnic group, not the missioners. Maryknoll regrets the error.


Feature image: Melissa Altman (navy blue shirt) and her two children join in a birthday party with members of the co-op in El Salvador where she serves with the Maryknoll Lay Missioners. (Rafael Carranza/El Salvador)

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