The General Council of Missionaries of La Salette, created the International Coordinating Team of La Salette Laity, composed by the National Coordinators of La Salette Laity of Provinces / Regions. To Coordinate This Team was indicated Mr. Mario Apone, La Salette Laity from Brazil. The first Team meeting happened between March 20-23,2017, in the General House of the Missionaries of La Salette , in Rome, Italy, and was attended by the Fathers Silvano Marisa and Adilson Schio, respectively General Coordinator and Vicar General of Missionaries of La Salette.
The participants of the first meeting were:
Mario Apone – International Coordinator of La Salette Team Laity.
Antonella Portinaro – National Coordenar (Italy)
Maria Clélia Pinto – National Coordinator (Argentina-Bolívia)
Vilmari Aparecida Pedrozo – National Coordinator (Brazil)
Sunil Mathew – National Coordinator (Índia)
Wojtek Chudziak –National Coordinator ( USA ).
Maria Aparecida Ercolin Apone – National Secretary (Brazil )
(Third Sunday of Easter: Acts 2:14,22-33; 1 Peter 1:17-21; Luke 24:13-35)
If the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus had owned cell phones, they might never have engaged in conversation with the mysterious traveler who joined them. In their world, however, it was normal to welcome him as a companion along the way. They talked with him, listened to him and invited him to supper. And then, suddenly, he was gone.
On a mountain, far away from any road, two children encountered a mysterious and beautiful lady. She calmed their fears, spoke to them, encouraged them to pass on her words. And then she was gone.
The disciples recognized Jesus in the breaking of bread. The children at first thought that the lady was a battered wife or mother; after she disappeared, they guessed that she might be a great saint, but it was an elderly woman of the locality who recognized that it must have been the Blessed Virgin.
The most significant element these two stories have in common is what happened to the disciples and the children. They were changed, transformed.
Despite the lateness of the hour, the disciples ran back to Jerusalem to share their experience. They had changed from “downcast” to men on fire. “Were not our hearts burning within us?”
From all accounts, Mélanie and Maximin both had burning hearts as well but, tending eight cows, they couldn’t hurry back down the mountain. When they did return to the tiny hamlet called Les Ablandens, the girl had her chores to do, and said nothing. The boy, on the other hand, on being asked by his employer about his day, eagerly told him and others what had happened.
But not only the children, nor only the disciples on the Road to Emmaus, were transformed. The fire that burned in their hearts spread well beyond them.
Others “caught fire,” so to speak, among them the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, the Sisters of Our Lady of La Salette, and large numbers of laity around the world, all eager to spread that same fire, to share the Good News of the Risen Christ, echoed by the “Great News” of the Beautiful Lady.
(Second Sunday of Easter: Acts 2:42-47; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31)
We tend to think of faith as a matter of the mind, like the knowledge or awareness of any truth. But we see in today’s readings that faith is much more.
The first community of believers was led by faith to share with one another everything they had. The believers to whom St. Peter wrote were willing to prove their faith through trials. And Thomas the Apostle, once overwhelmed by faith in the Risen Christ, cried out from the depth of his being: “My Lord and my God!”
In the case of the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette, the response of those who came to believe took primarily two forms.
First was a return to the practice of their faith. Maximin’s father, Mr. Giraud, like Thomas in the Gospel, did not come to this belief easily. But once he did become a believer, the first thing he did was to go to confession. After that, he went to Mass every day for the rest of his life. (He died nearly two and a half years later.)
A second response was a deeper understanding of Mary’s role in our life. It was ordinary believers, not the official Church, that gave Our Lady of La Salette her title, Reconciler of Sinners.
Yes, reconciliation with God, reconciliation with the Church—Mr. Giraud is a good example—these are the natural and spontaneous effects of faith in the Beautiful Lady. And, like the faith shown in today’s readings, it leads us to “rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,” “with exultation and sincerity of heart,” just as “the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.”
Perhaps we ourselves have experienced periods of doubt. We all know people who have little or no faith. This is distressing to anyone who understands the real difference between ordinary knowledge and faith.
Knowledge has to do with content, with facts that can be useful, fascinating, even beautiful. But ultimately they don’t really matter. St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest theologians in history, realized one day that all he had written was just so much straw.
Faith affects us in so many important ways, and provides a solid foundation for our lives. Faith matters.
“See, I am doing something new!
Now it springs forth,
do you not perceive it?” (Is. 43:19)
The Lenten journey we have undertaken in light of the Word of God and the discernment necessary for a change of heart, brings us yet again to celebrate with joy the Resurrection of Jesus. Conquering death, he has in fact restored to the world the hope that everything can be renewed and can change for the better if our lives are anchored in his. I hope with all my heart that this Lenten journey has been for everyone a fruitful time to reflect on the foundations upon which we have constructed - or are constructing - our religious, community and apostolic life. Pope Francis proposes three foundational “building blocks” for our consideration: memory, faith and merciful love. A treasure for our reflection!
These three “building blocks” are not at all foreign to our spirituality, to our religious and community path, and to our charism.
The Beautiful Lady, in her apparition at La Salette, reminds us that she thinks of us and suffers for us without regard for time; that God has not forgotten us and that her greatest joy is to be able to embrace us with a hug of pardon, mercy and reconciliation.
She further reminds us that our faith must not be simply an occasional thing or relegated to various formal or ritual acts, no matter how important these may be; but it must become flesh in our flesh, and be translated into a manner of thinking and living that is transparent, consistent, and evident to all.
The reading of the signs of the times, finally, is a reminder to keep our attention lovingly fixed on the many situations around us where people are experiencing discomfort, difficulty, marginalization or existential loneliness, even in our own local communities. In such situations we are called to witness our nearness, offering the precious and disinterested gift of our fraternal service.
May Easter this year be a real opportunity for a deep renewal of ourselves, reimagining and refounding our relationship with God and with others, especially as regards fraternal life in community and our dedication to ministry as missionaries of reconciliation.
As can be seen in the decisions taken there, the Council of the Congregation, held in Bangalore, India, this past February 6-26, were characterized by a new missionary awareness on the part of our Congregation with the pending opening of a La Salette community in the diocese of Pemba, Mozambique, the support for the mission in Haiti, the movement of the La Salette Laity, and the erection of the District of Myanmar as a Region.
The time spent in India was experienced as a special grace which the Lord and the Virgin of La Salette wanted to bestow first of all on each participant, and through them, to the entire Congregation.
The Theme of the Year, taken from Isaiah 43, quoted at the beginning of this letter and offered to the Congregation for its reflection, helps us grasp with gratitude and thanksgiving, the newness, the vitality and the hope emanating from the Council of the Congregation this year and characterizing the Congregation’s present situation.
I pray that the call to strike out into the depths, daring new horizons, will put into the heart of each of us a renewed desire and an intimate enthusiasm to spend our best energies for the cause of the Gospel in today’s world, without tiring and without fear; but rather with the same grit and determination that accompanied the missionary thrust of our first confreres.
The Council of the Congregation also presented the opportunity to convoke officially the next General Chapter, which will take place in the spring of 2018 in Argentina, and to open the way for its preparation on the part of the entire Congregation. To this end a theme was chosen to act as a unifying element along the path we are taking singly and together in prayer, reflection and study:
“Reconcilers for the World, Prophets in the Grace of La Salette”
This theme immediately presents us with three elements that I invite you to keep in mind throughout this year in your personal work, community meetings and ministry:
+ the Apparition and the message of La Salette are a grace and a richness, not for us alone, but for the entire Church;
+ this grace is entrusted to us to be put at the service of today’s world, which more than ever is in need of forgiveness and reconciliation;
+ we, Missionaries of La Salette, called to be believable proclaimers and ministers of this grace, must, in our turn, be indefatigable “bridge-builders”, enabling men to meet, dialogue, and be reconciled with one another and with God.
Easter is the feast of hope which breaks into the personal histories of each one of us and of the world (histories marked by sin and weakness) offering once again the opportunity for rebirth and new life.
My Council and I send greetings to each of you, dear brothers, wherever you are, to our young in formation, to our aged and infirm members, to the La Salette Sisters, to our friends and benefactors, especially the numerous La Salette Laity who, touched by the grace of the Apparition, desire to accompany us in the difficult but always exciting mission of announcing the Good News of Jesus Risen.
May the Beautiful Lady of La Salette, our Mother and Patroness, continue to protect and guide you - all of you and each one of you - along the path of evangelical and charismatic faithfulness.
Holy and Happy Easter!
Fr. Silvano Marisa, M.S.
News from Rome:
+ Early on March 11, Fr. Adilson returned to Rome from a ten-day visit of Myanmar, where he guided the preparations for the first meeting “ad instar capituli” , which will take place in Mandalay, May 8 - 12. This meeting will be the setting for the election of the Council of the new Region, the approval of new statutes, and setting the direction for the ministry of the community there for the near future.
+ On the morning of March 24, the religious community of the parish joined with that of the General House for the first meeting together, which, if all goes well, will take place every two month.
+ As announced at the Council of the Congregation, the first meeting of the International Commission of La Salette Laity took place at the General House March 20 - 23, under the direction of Mr Mario Alone, the new international Coordinator. Fathers Adilson and Silvano were present. Only four provinces and one region were represented: Argentina, Brazil, India, Italy and the United States. For the representatives of the remaining Provinces (Angola, Philippines, France, Madagascar, Poland) a meeting will take place November 13 - 16 here in Rome.
+ The Finance Council of the Congregation, at its annual meeting in the General House, March 27 - 30, examined the financial report of the General Council and of all the Provinces. Doctor Corrado La Rosa was also present at this meeting. He is the lawyer representing the General Council in negotiations with the Commune di Roma for the renewal of the contract regarding the former scholasticate building.
+ April 1, Fr. Adilson began the visitation of the Italian Province in Naples. The visitation will continue until April 26, and is the final official visitation of this administration.
+ The young La Salette Sisters, who are preparing to participate in this year’s PPP, spent four full days in Rome as guests in the General House. They were accompanied by Sister Marie France, their formator and the present Director of the Shrine of La Salette in France. The stay in Rome certainly allowed them to get to know and appreciate the rich religious and cultural history of the Eternal City, but even more, presented them the opportunity to touch the face of the Universal Church.
YOUR URGENT HELP NEEDED: Would those Provincials who have not yet sent the Names and e-Mail Addresses of their members participating in this year’s PPP, please do so immediately to the attention of the Secretary General. Thank you.
Quézac 2017 April 01
"Be disciples, follow Christ in our multicultural diversity, committed as SNDS
on the way of foundation"
We enjoin you to be one in spirit and prayer with our Sisters in Madagascar who need our moral support because of an untimely attack by robbers in the local community of Kianjavolasoa, Antsirabe. The psychological shock is deep, more so with physical wounds inflicted.
We carry this “cross” together as we continue our Lenten walk with Mary who leads us on at the foot of the cross of Jesus where we find strength. We include in our prayers the victims of violence all over the world as we unceasingly pray and offer sacrifices for the Peace that comes from our reconciling God and from our collective struggle wherever we are sent.
In this event, Sr Elisabeth and Sr. Estelle are going to be there for our sisters.
Faced with this violence, we have not fully expressed the sentiments that were stirred within us, even if it may be needless to say. For this reason, we invite you all to be present before the Blessed Sacrament tonight, to render time of adoration to unite our prayer for all the victims of all kinds of violence.
Sr Elisabeth et son Conseil
(Sunday readings: Acts 4:37-43; Col. 3:1-4 OR 1 Cor. 5:1-8; John 20:1-9)
In many languages we say, “Seeing is believing.”
When the Beloved Disciple entered the tomb of Jesus, “He saw and believed.” This is not a case of “seeing is believing.” What did he see? The emptiness of the tomb. In other words: nothing. And he believed. The tomb had become, as it were, a portal to the deepest conviction of faith.
The first persons who went up to the place where Our Lady appeared, above the village of La Salette, saw nothing. Of course they saw the all the same things they would have seen before the Apparition, but they saw nothing that could confirm the story told by Maximin and Mélanie.
And anyone looking at those two children would not be spontaneously inclined to believe them. They were nobodies.
In the first reading, Cornelius and his family believed Peter’s words. They heard and believed. And so it continues to this very day. As St. Paul says in Romans 10:14 and 17, “How can they believe in him of whom they have not heard?... Faith comes from what is heard.”
Most of those who listened to what Maximin and Mélanie had to say, became believers. There was a quality of truth in their words, accompanied by something new in their manner, whenever they spoke of their “Beautiful Lady.” They had become “witnesses,” not only because they saw and heard something, but because they faithfully carried out their commission to make it known.
From a material point of view, none of us living today can possibly have seen what the Apostles and other witnesses of the Resurrection saw.
From another point of view, however, most of us have seen, in the bleakest moments of life, what Mary Magdalen and Peter and the Beloved Disciple saw: emptiness, nothing, a void. They had every reason to lose hope, but one of them, at least, believed nonetheless.
Our darkest moments, then, can be a portal to faith. Like the empty tomb, they do not have to be the end, but a glorious new beginning. The Lord is truly risen!