Maryknoll Memories

“100 Years of Maryknoll,” by James T. Keane, S.J. (6/20), stirred memories. My uncle, Joseph Connors, was a Maryknoll priest in Korea until the Japanese imprisoned him after Pearl Harbor. Eventually released, he headed two Maryknoll seminaries in the United States. When the Korean War broke out, he returned to Korea for another 15 years.

My uncle’s tales stirred my childhood imagination with visions of suffering missionaries and their people. To his nephews and nieces, he was warm-hearted, funny and serene. Though Father Joe was more pastor than prophet, I listened to living room conversations with visiting Mary-knollers about the politics of China and Korea and the militant anti-Communism in Washington and down the street. I was (and probably remain) something of a cold war Catholic, but I picked up the Maryknoll brand. Like many others, this brand led me to political and religious experiences that triggered faithful but chastened reconsideration of Catholicism, the United States and much else.

Today, some bishops have decided they can do without Maryknoll, viewing its pastoral commitment to the poor as quaint but a bit out of fashion. But Maryknoll’s work continues, and its missionaries (now including young couples) can still teach us about the peaceable kingdom we all seek, and the pastoral care and political truthfulness that might someday get us there.

David J. O’Brien

Worcester, Mass.

A Daytime TV Education

Agnes Nixon’s “All God’s Children” (7/18) reminds me of a department at my workplace in the 1980s that took their lunch during “All My Children.” One character contracted AIDS despite the fact that she was neither gay nor a drug addict. The script was written to show the outrage of the townspeople, their fear of her and their desire to isolate her out of sheer ignorance about AIDS. It also included experts mixed with actors to “teach” townspeople all about the disease. I remember thinking that probably more people learned about AIDS from that one show than anywhere else.

A. F. Johnson

Arlington, Va.

Should I Stay or Go?

Thank you for Cynthia Reville Peabody’s “Staying Power” (7/18). I am a Providence associate, connected to the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind. We lay associates were privileged to be part of the congregation’s recent chapter. The sessions exuded trust and servant leadership at work. These women are grown-ups acting as grown-ups, with integrity that is palpable. As I see it, they exemplify what is needed if we are, in the author’s words, to “rebuild the church that we long for.”

Tracy Schier

Hudson, N.H.

Dispatch From Memory Lane

Francis X. Hezel, S.J., has an odd way of making his point about hope and rebirth in Of Many Things (7/4). He writes of a “sentimental journey,” but all I heard was frustration over being cheated out of something by a city he left behind. On my reading, his fond memories were overshadowed by criticism and innuendo, suggesting a city full of blight and crime. Though his words about Buffalo might be taken innocently by some readers, he unwittingly did us and our struggling city a grave disservice by his expressions of nostalgia. Thanks for the memories!

Paul Emerson

Buffalo, N.Y.

Islanders and Steelers

As the pastor of a parish with a large Filipino community, I want to thank you for “That Other Minority” (6/20). Our sisters and brothers from the Philippines greatly enrich our parish. Their vitality and faith commitment inspire and encourage.

As a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, however, I must point out that Troy’s last name is Polamalu (not Palomalu), and he is a safety, not a linebacker. Plus, Hines Ward is a wide receiver and not a running back. I hope, as your comment suggests, that you do give more attention to Asian Pacific Islanders. As for coverage of the Steelers, I would be happy to help in any way I can.

(Rev.) John Madden

Worcester, Mass.

Nuclear Ethics

In your editorial “After Fukushima” (7/4), you failed to mention a significant moral issue. Even under normal operation, nuclear power creates large amounts of radioactive waste, with a half-life of thousands of years. Such waste cannot simply be buried and forgotten but must be repackaged every 250 years or so to avoid inevitable catastrophe. This is an enormous burden to place on future generations.

Robert E. Ulanowicz

Gainesville, Fla.

Which Church?

“Love One Another,” America’s comment on the approval of same-sex marriage in New York State (7/4), speaks about “the church” and its opposition to such unions. You neglect to mention the fact that the Catholic “people of God”—who are part of the church—do not all share the Vatican’s views on this issue. Polls have shown for several years that a majority of Catholics in the United States support gay marriage. Accurate reporting should note this distinction.

Chris Lane

Denver, Colo

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