The first international La Salette Shrine Rectors meeting was held from April 13 to 19 at La Salette Shrine, France. 13 Shrine Rectors participated this meeting besides the General council and the translators. Fr. Adilson Schio M.S Vicar General and the General council animated the meeting. Fr. Atico Fassini M.S from Brasil gave conferences on various themes concerning shrine ministry such as La Salette Shrine Ministry, the significance of shrine in La Salette congregation, the origin of shrines in the world and in the Bible, new pastoral dimensions for the shrine ministry etc. Fr. Manuel dos Reis Bonfim M.S the rector of La Salette shrine France shared his experiences of participating in the shrine rectors meeting in Rome and in France. Frs. Henryk Kuman, Paulino Nguli and Biju Chempottickal served as translators to this meeting. All the shrine rectors presented a report about their shrines, its origin and history, various pastoral activities, the importance of the shrine, challenges of the future etc. The meeting decided to write a letter to the whole congregation to address the importance of shrine ministry in the La Salette congregation. It is the first ministry entrusted to the La Salette community by the bishop of Grenoble Mgr. Philibert de Bruillard. The participants of the meeting appreciated very much the General Council for the implementation of General Chapter decision 12 of 2012 in organizing shrine rectors meeting and proposed to continue this sort of meeting once in 3 or 4 years in the future.
La Salette Shrine Rectors’ Letter to the Congregation
Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette, France - April 19, 2015
First Ministry entrusted by Bishop Philibert de Bruillard to our Congregation
1- In the Year of Consecrated Life 13 Rectors of La Salette Shrines from France, Spain, Poland, Ukraine, Madagascar, Brazil, USA and the Philippines gathered at the International Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette, France. We would like to share our experiences and affirm the importance of Shrine ministry in the Congregation. This statement of commitment comes as we look forward to celebrating the 170th Anniversary of the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette.
Responding to the appeal of Our Lady at La Salette, we affirm the ministry carried out in our Shrines as a core ministry of the Congregation, as it is central to our charism, identity and mission as La Salette Missionaries.
We seek to affirm the centrality of Shrines in the new evangelization of the people of God. We keep in mind the Biblical and Theological significance of Shrines as we respond to the growth in popular devotions and people’s desire to deepen their faith. We seek to provide sanctuaries of peace and hope for pilgrims by offering the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist, support groups for bereavement and recovery, spiritual direction, pastoral counseling and various retreats.
We seek to minister to the people at the ‘peripheries’* and offer welcome to all. We recognize that our Shrines are havens of hope for the poor who benefit from our charitable outreach.
We recognize and affirm the call of Our Lady to witness to justice, peace and reconciliation in our Shrines. We commit ourselves to promote respect and care for the environment. We treat our employees and volunteers with justice, thereby embodying the message we preach.
We are called to witness to our consecrated life passionately and diligently. Recognizing Christ as our source of happiness, we live out our charism joyfully so as to draw others to Christ and to the Church. Shrines can be a source of new vocations to the consecrated life by this faithful living out of Gospel values and through the ministry we offer to youth. We commit ourselves to promoting vocations to religious life and the priesthood at our Shrines.
We affirm the Christo-centric dimension to the ministries of the Shrine. It is the Word of God that is “studied, meditated, preached, lived and witnessed to”* in our Shrines. There is a “Marian style”* of ministering at the Shrines, where we care for everyone with a sense of justice, tenderness and compassion. In this task we work together as a community and collaborate with La Salette Laity, who are drawn to our charism and share our spirituality and ministry. We open ourselves to the pastoral conversion that will make our shrines “field hospitals,”* where the wounded come to be welcomed, listened to, understood, affirmed, evangelized, converted, renewed and ‘sent forth’ to be messengers of hope, justice, peace and reconciliation. We recognize that we are wounded healers gifted with the ministry of reconciliation for the salvation of the human person. We seek to make our shrines ‘islands of mercy* and reconciliation’ for the Church.
We call the Provincial Administrations to support us in this renewed understanding and appreciation of our ministry. Together we can respond to the call Mary entrusted to us at La Salette. In her tender mercy may she, Star of Evangelization and Mother of Reconciliation, continue to guide us as we seek to remain faithful.
Jean Pierre Rakotonirina- Madagascar
Manuel dos Reis Bonfim- La Salette-France
Amador Marugan- España-Italia
Pawel Raczynski- Polska
Marcos Almeida– Brasil
Marcos Reis- Brasil
Louis de Pontbriand– France
Jan Ozog- Polska
Ronaldo Guzman- Philippines
Henryk Kuman- Polska
Stanislaw Kowalski– Polska
Daniel Aguirre– Brasil
Cyriac Mattathilanickal- North America
* These terms were taken from the Joy of the Gospel by Pope Francis.