Readers’ Responses, Winter 2024

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This letter is in response to the World Watch column in your Fall 2023 issue, “What’s Next for Asylum?” These people are illegal aliens entering this country to do criminal acts — sex trafficking, drug trafficking, etc. These aliens are not “fleeing persecution.” Quite the contrary. Yes, innocent children are involved and the best protection for them is to remain in their own countries. Our citizens have become victims of crime on a large scale. Catholic organizations are too often not working with innocent asylum seekers, but criminals. To think otherwise is to take a naïve approach. The law is fair, so let us observe it to the fullest.

Richard Clark
San Jose, California

I just recently visited Maryknoll headquarters in Ossining, New York, and saw my classmates (Class of 1967). For over six decades they have worked for social justice and human rights. Father Bill McIntire was in Peru and Bangladesh; Father Jerry Burr was in the Philippines; Father Jack Moynihan was in Bolivia, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Another of our classmates who lives at the Maryknoll center, Father Emile Dumas, was in Japan and served as superior for senior Maryknollers. 

They are all still active in mission. From Maryknoll, they use social media and other platforms — e.g., Zoom, email, etc. — to communicate with their former parishioners and many organizations in their countries of mission.

The quiet environment of Maryknoll allows prayers, meditation and the sacraments to be signs of grace. Long distance missionary work continues, regardless of age, health, or political and social conditions in the various countries of service.

Tom Samway
Oakland, California

The last issue’s photo meditation “In the Spirit of St. Francis” by Father Joseph R. Veneroso is wondrously cogent for our times. It is beautifully crafted and emotionally uplifting.

William G. Davies Jr.
Elliottsburg, Pennsylvania

In the Summer 2023 magazine, a writer from Wisconsin writes that yoga is not compatible with Catholic doctrine. Yoga is the one exercise I have been able to do with these old bones, and now that I have aged even more, I do chair yoga. In my class there is a retired sister. I am sure if Sister Pat thought yoga was not compatible with her Catholic life, she would not be there in her chair, stretching and moving.

Never has religion surfaced in my yoga classes. My instructor is a practicing Catholic!

Arlene Veal
Oceanport, New Jersey

How I love your magazine. In a world where news is 99% discouraging, it is a tremendous lift to read of the good work of your missioners. That said, I must respond to the opinion expressed by one of your readers that yoga is not Catholic. I am both a devout Roman Catholic and a practitioner of Hatha Yoga since my 20s. At age 66, I am pain free, have full mobility and still train for triathlons.

My daughter is a certified yoga instructor who specializes in adaptive yoga, including chair yoga. She helps people with disabilities, or who have had surgery, improve and recover mobility. The breathing and relaxation portion of her classes helps them attain peace of mind. Surely, this is the work of God. I know she considers it part of her service in the name of Christ. I have never noticed that yoga interferes with love and devotion to Our Lord, Jesus.

To your reader I say, try it! You might find it improves your life and your faith.

Christiann Howard
Coos Bay, Oregon

I am writing in response to a letter expressing concern about chair yoga being taught in a Maryknoll mission. That reader stated that yoga is not a form of stretching but a form of worship, and contrary to Catholic doctrine.

I must disagree. Although when the practice of yoga was founded in India about 5,000 years ago, it was associated with Hinduism, modern yoga is not religion specific.

Western style yoga was introduced in the 1800s in America. Hatha Yoga, the most popular form, is based on traditional practices of breathing, awareness and meditation. If the breathing and body positions are simply done for exercise and health, we are not honoring any religious belief by doing so.

I recently heard a priest state that we as Catholics should devote the “3 Ts” to God: time, treasure and talent. He then suggested we could add a 4th T: our body is a temple, and we should take care of it, in order to give glory to God.

Lolita Hagio
Saint George, Utah

I read about the Maryknoll Student Essay Contest winners in the Summer 2023 issue. The one that stood out for me was the third place winner in Division 1 who wrote about the Kindness Club in her middle school.

Could you please let Olivia Volion know that she is on the right path — and to keep up the good work!

My mother used to tell me that my grandmother always said, “Kindness is the most beautiful word in the English language.” Olivia, I hope you continue your good work and maybe you can change the world. I think you are off to a great start!

Julianne Shea
Haverford, Pennsylvania

Correction: The article “A Crazy Idea” in the Fall 2023 issue mistakenly attributed three photos to Sean Sprague. Those photos should be credited to Maryknoll Mission Archives.

Featured Image: Members of the Maryknoll and Bon Secours joint delegation visit the Sanctuary of Fatima as part of World Youth Day, held Aug. 1-6, 2023, in Lisbon, Portugal. Mission Education Promoter Sarahi Unzueta (green shirt) led Maryknoll’s young adult participants. (Giovana Soria/Portugal)

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