Fr. René Butler MS - 32nd Ordinary Sunday - The...
The Last Full Measure (32nd Ordinary Sunday: 1 Kings 17:10-16; Hebrews 9:24-28; Mark 12:38-44) “Here, my child, eat some bread while we still have it this year; because I don't know who will eat any next year if the wheat keeps up like that.” When the... Czytaj więcej
USA - Chapter
USA – Provincial Chapter Provincial Chapter: October 11-14 2021 New Provincial Council Fr. William Kaliyadan, provincial superior (center) Fr. Roland S. Nadeau, provincial vicar (right) Fr. Ronald B. Foshage, second assistant (left) May the Holy Spirit... Czytaj więcej
Fr. René Butler MS - 31st Ordinary Sunday -...
Great Commandments (31st Ordinary Sunday: Deuteronomy 6:2‑6; Hebrews 7:23-28; Mark 12:28-34) When we see images of the tablets of the Ten Commandments, they often show on one tablet our obligations to God and, on the other, our duties towards our neighbor. The... Czytaj więcej
Fr. René Butler MS - 30th Ordinary Sunday -...
Joy-filled Prayer (30th Ordinary Sunday: Jeremiah 31:7-9; Hebrews 5:1-6; Mark 10:46-52) Today’s story of blind Bartimaeus is an eloquent reminder of the place for joy in the Christian life. As soon as he heard that Jesus was passing by, a joyful transformation... Czytaj więcej
Fr. René Butler MS - 29th Ordinary Sunday -...
Redemptive Suffering (29th Ordinary Sunday: Isaiah 53:10-11; Hebrews 4:14-16; Mark 10:35-45) Selfish people are usually willing to make certain sacrifices to achieve their goals. Along the way some may abandon relationships and values in their pursuit of personal... Czytaj więcej
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Items filtered by date: July 2021

Ark of the Covenant

(Assumption: 1 Chron. 15:3-4,15-16 to 16:1-2; 1 Cor. 15:54-57; Luke 11:27-28. NOTE: These readings are for the Vigil Mass.)

It was a great and festive day in Jerusalem! The Ark of the Covenant was coming home, as the first reading tells us, “to the place which David had prepared for it.” Today we celebrate Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant, as she is taken up to the place which the Father prepared for her in heaven.

Just as the Ark built by Moses was the great sign of God’s presence among his people, so the Virgin’s womb brought the Son of God among us. In today’s Gospel, a woman in the crowd called out to Jesus, saying, “Blessed is the womb that carried you!” She was perhaps the first to fulfill the Virgin’s own prophecy, uttered in her Magnificat: “All generations will call me blessed.”

It is because Mary was assumed into heaven that we have her apparition at La Salette (amongst others). Her radiance as the Queen of Heaven, is the light of Christ shining out from her. Everything in the apparition ultimately points to Christ. Here, too, she is the Ark, bringing her Son to her people yet again.

The Beautiful Lady echoes Jesus’ reply to the woman of the Gospel, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it,” with her own words, “If they are converted.” She promises all kinds of graces, and mercy in abundance.

The Assumption reflects St. Paul’s words in the second reading, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” La Salette shows the tragic connection between sin and death, but at the same time offers the means of triumphing over both. How do we partake of this victory? A good starting place is to observe the commandments preserved on stone tablets in the original Ark of the Covenant.

If you have been to La Salette and taken part in the candlelight procession at night, you have probably experienced the special enthusiasm that accompanies the singing of the La Salette Angelus and the end of the service. It is like David’s command to the musicians and singers “to make a loud sound of rejoicing.”

May our love for Our Lady of La Salette be always a source of joy in our hearts.

Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.

Published in MISSION (EN)

Life in Christ, Together

(19th Ordinary Sunday: 1 Kings 19:4-8; Ephesians 4:30-5:2; John 6:41-51)

Eiljah was a powerful and successful prophet. It is strange, then, to hear him, in the first reading, praying for death and saying, “This is enough, O Lord!”

Not many of us ask for death, but there are times when our prayer is, “Enough, Lord!” It may seem to us that the times we live in are harder than for earlier generations; we witness bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, reviling and malice.

Does this list sound familiar? It should, because it is taken from today’s second reading, written over 1,950 years ago. There have always existed attitudes and behaviors that could prevent Christians from having a loving, faith-filled relationship with God.

It is bad enough when the negativity is directed against others, whom we perceive as enemies. We see this in the murmuring of those who disapproved of Jesus’ claim of having come down from heaven.

But it is worse when the bitterness is directed against God. Mary, at La Salette, spoke of the abuse of her Son’s name, and a general turning away from the practice of the faith. Even Maximin and Mélanie had to admit that they hardly ever prayed.

Prayer is the solution. God heard Elijah’s prayer, not by taking his life but by giving him strength. Private prayer is effective. That of the Christian community is even more so. In the Psalm today we hear, “Glorify the Lord with me, let us together extol his name.”

When we participate in the Eucharist together, and “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord,” not only do we escape, at least for a while, the reviling and malice in the world around us, but we seek healing for those same faults in ourselves. Then, like Elijah, “strengthened by that food,” we can hope to carry a community attitude into our everyday lives.

In this way, the La Salette message of conversion and reconciliation becomes an expression of St. Paul’s words: “Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God.”

An angel of God woke Elijah and provided food. The Beautiful Lady woke her people and directed them to the Bread of Life, the flesh of her Son, “given for the life of the world.” Without it we cannot truly live.

Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.

Published in MISSION (EN)
Tuesday, 20 July 2021 19:29

A story to tell

A story to tell

August 2021

Telling a story sets the heart on fire

Storytelling has existed as long as humanity has had language. Crafting stories as a means of entertainment and education is an ancient art that has been present in every culture. Stories have shaped worldviews and values of the major civilizations in history.

Even today, an increasing number of famous motivational speakers keep on highlighting the relevance and importance of good stories as part of an effective and involving verbal communication. 

We all know and have experienced the power of stories. Stories keep alive our attention, stir our emotions and feelings, encourage us to remember. Good stories move us deeply, and we end up sharing them. Rightly, the American poet, novelist, dramatist, essayist and James B. Duke Professor of English at Duke University, Edward Reynold Price (February 1, 1933 – January 20, 2011), stated that “the sound of story is the dominant sound of our lives.”

Stories imbue the entire Bible. Stories are at the heart of the Bible and at the heart of Jesus’ communication style. Whether walking on the roads of Galilee and beyond with his disciples or preaching to the crowds, Jesus of Nazareth used stories to share his message. It is not a coincidence that Matthew reminds us that storytelling was Jesus’ preferred technique when speaking to the crowds (see Matthew 13:34). Yes, Jesus appears to be a great storyteller. Interesting enough, when the well-known American writer Mark Twain was asked who he thought was the greatest storyteller, he answered Jesus of Nazareth.

Not only Jesus used stories to speak about the Father and His Kingdom, but his stories were told in simple language. They were both relatable and understandable. Pharisees, fishermen, and farmers all heard Jesus’ stories and metaphors drawn from their everyday life. His teaching included birds, flowers, lost coins, and a lot of other everyday objects that the people of his time could easily relate to.

Through stories Jesus was able to capture the attention of his audiences, inspire their imagination, and communicate a compelling and life-changing message. Through stories he revealed the merciful face of the Father and touched the deepest chords of the people. Indeed, Jesus told powerful stories: they challenged and changed lives. As a result, many of those who heard his stories started to follow him and become part of His-Story.

Following the example set by Jesus of Nazareth, his followers have been telling his story century after century. From generation to generation, the story of God’s goodness and mercy made flesh in Jesus the Christ has been told and preached. 

Jesus’ final words to the Gerasene man “Return home and recount what God has done for you” (Luke 8:39) encouraged him to go off and proclaim throughout the whole town what Jesus had done for him. At La Salette, the “Beautiful Lady” invested the two little shepherds, Maximin and Melanie, with the mission of recounting the story of their encounter with her. This story too, like the one concerning the Son, has been handed down from generation to generation. Both have transformed a great multitude of men and women. And we, Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, are the custodians of these two stories: not to guard them jealously, but to make them resonate in the lives of our brothers and sisters that we meet while pursuing our earthly pilgrimage to the heavenly Jerusalem. Today as yesterday, the Church and the world need to hear both stories told. People need to hear them from those who have been transformed by both the Son and the Mother.

Mary tells us a story about her Son

While the two witnesses thought that their first mission was to convey the news of the glorious apparition to the inhabitants of the vicinity of Corps, the concern of Mary, Mother of the Divine Redeemer, was to remind the Church of her duty of being the herald of the Good News of Salvation. This is why Marie is not concerned with exalting herself, even though she deserves this honor. The Mother of the Church seems to remind us of submission as a fundamental condition for deserving the graces that her Son has left us as an inheritance, through his abnegation to the human condition and culminating in the outpouring of his blood on the cross.

The Apparition of Mary in La Salette is not an end in itself. Mary intends to awaken in all the baptized, starting with those to whom was given the greatest responsibilities in the Church, the awareness of the urgency of announcing to all the mystery of her Son, who was buried and was raised on the third day. She does not place herself at the center of her message. The purpose of his glorious apparition, as during the wedding feast in Cana, is to ask obedience from his Son: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5).

In 2001, John Paul II, in his message for World Mission Day, encouraged the people of God to set out to bring the Gospel of Jesus to all peoples. What story should we tell then? The luminous crucifix that Mary wears on her chest during the apparition answers precisely this question, since it was the one thing that most attracted the attention of Maximin and Melanie because of the light emanating from it. This shows and confirms Paul’s missionary call: “For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified” (1 Cor 1:22–23). It is this story, this message that we must tell until the final coming of Christ. In order for this “great adventure of evangelization” to be effective, John Paul II proposes new methods, new models and new paradigms. In this mission common to all, it is important to make present the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in the lives of our brothers and sisters.

Remembering helps us to move forward for a better future

In her last recommendation to the visionaries at La Salette, Mary asked them to make “this” known to all Her people, and she repeated it twice in French (precisely: “Eh bien, mes enfants, vous le ferez passer à tout mon people”).  That “this” which has been transmitted for 175 years is contained in the entire La Salette event. Here, details are important: the country in which the apparition took place (19th century France); the place of the apparition (a village in the Alps); the time (about 3. 00 p.m. on Saturday, September 19, 1846); the time after the first vespers of the liturgical feast of Our Lady of Sorrows (celebrated on the third Sunday of September[1]); the dress of the Beautiful Lady, modeled on that worn by the peasant women of the region of La Salette, and other elements she had on her (the crucifix with Jesus[2], the pliers and hammer[3], the two chains[4], the multicolored roses); then the sadness, the hidden face, the tears, the way Mary moved and her gestures in the presence of the children. But also, the message itself and the two languages in which it was communicated, the spring that emerged and continues to run at the place of the Apparition, where the sphere of light appeared with the person of Our Lady sitting inside, and finally the fact that both children received secrets, which they did not even talk about between themselves.

All of these elements are known to us. We talk about them at every possible opportunity. As long as the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary exists on the mountain near the village of La Salette in France, and as long as the Congregation of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette exists, the continuity and actuality of the message of the Beautiful Lady, communicated to Melanie and Maximin, will be assured. The transmission of the story of this event supposes a continuation until the end of time, but it could have ended earlier, if men would convert and by their conduct make useless the call of the Lady in tears to conversion and penance.

Our Lady’s true spiritual children surely consider the conversion of humanity to the paths of the Divine Will more important than the existence of the Basilica of Our Lady of La Salette and of the Congregation of the Missionaries of La Salette itself.

One element remains unresolved and is the subject of useless controversy: what is the significance of the secrets entrusted to Melanie and Maximin[5]?

The fact that Mary entrusted secrets to these two children constitutes an important element in the transmission of the story of the event at La Salette. They are a guarantee that the encounter had the character of mystery and therefore requires respect. We should not be worried about discovering their content, but in giving the account of the apparition, we should always mention their existence in humbly acknowledging our ignorance as to their content.

Flavio Gillio MS

Eusébio Kangupe MS

Karol Porczak MS



[1] This feast was first introduced by the Servites. From 1667 onwards, it was celebrated in some dioceses. In 1814, Pope Pius VII (1800-1823) established it in the calendar of the Universal Church and set the 3rd Sunday of September as the feast day. Pope Pius X (1903-1914) established the actual date of the celebration of the feast on September 15.

[2] It was from that crucifix that the light that enveloped the whole figure of Mary came, while Jesus Himself was alive on the cross, but - as the children said - He was now in agony. He did not yet have the wound in His right side, which was opened with a spear only after His death.

[3] These instruments were located UNDER the arms of Mary's cross, not ON her arms, as is depicted in our missionary crucifix. This is not a technical problem, related to how to attach them, but their placement has a symbolic value.

[4] A large chain with big rings hung on the Beautiful Lady's shoulders, while the smaller one held the crucifix on Her chest.

[5] We know that in the children’s comments about the vision of the Beautiful Lady, a small incident emerged, which confirms the fact that at the moment when they were listening to the secrets, the children were neither in ecstasy nor deaf. When Maximin listened attentively to the Beautiful Lady, Melanie did not hear her, but at that moment she did not give signs of boredom or impatience. She waited patiently, not hearing any voice. Then the roles were reversed: when Melanie listened to the Beautiful Lady entrusting her with the secrets, Maximin did not hear Maria’s voice. He was bored and began to throw small stones in the direction of the Beautiful Lady, hitting them with a stick. If he had been deaf, he would have noticed immediately that the stones made no noise. Then, in front of Melanie who scolded him, he justified himself by saying that no stone touched the Beautiful Lady. It seems that while listening to Mary Melanie and Maximin, were always well aware of what was happening around them, they were not in ecstasy.

Published in MISSION (EN)
Tuesday, 20 July 2021 07:25

Rosary - August 2021

Published in LAY ASSOCIATES (EN)
Tuesday, 20 July 2021 00:00

Reflection - August 2021

A story to tell

August 2021

Telling a story sets the heart on fire

Storytelling has existed as long as humanity has had language. Crafting stories as a means of entertainment and education is an ancient art that has been present in every culture. Stories have shaped worldviews and values of the major civilizations in history.

Even today, an increasing number of famous motivational speakers keep on highlighting the relevance and importance of good stories as part of an effective and involving verbal communication. 

We all know and have experienced the power of stories. Stories keep alive our attention, stir our emotions and feelings, encourage us to remember. Good stories move us deeply, and we end up sharing them. Rightly, the American poet, novelist, dramatist, essayist and James B. Duke Professor of English at Duke University, Edward Reynold Price (February 1, 1933 – January 20, 2011), stated that “the sound of story is the dominant sound of our lives.”

Stories imbue the entire Bible. Stories are at the heart of the Bible and at the heart of Jesus’ communication style. Whether walking on the roads of Galilee and beyond with his disciples or preaching to the crowds, Jesus of Nazareth used stories to share his message. It is not a coincidence that Matthew reminds us that storytelling was Jesus’ preferred technique when speaking to the crowds (see Matthew 13:34). Yes, Jesus appears to be a great storyteller. Interesting enough, when the well-known American writer Mark Twain was asked who he thought was the greatest storyteller, he answered Jesus of Nazareth.

Not only Jesus used stories to speak about the Father and His Kingdom, but his stories were told in simple language. They were both relatable and understandable. Pharisees, fishermen, and farmers all heard Jesus’ stories and metaphors drawn from their everyday life. His teaching included birds, flowers, lost coins, and a lot of other everyday objects that the people of his time could easily relate to.

Through stories Jesus was able to capture the attention of his audiences, inspire their imagination, and communicate a compelling and life-changing message. Through stories he revealed the merciful face of the Father and touched the deepest chords of the people. Indeed, Jesus told powerful stories: they challenged and changed lives. As a result, many of those who heard his stories started to follow him and become part of His-Story.

Following the example set by Jesus of Nazareth, his followers have been telling his story century after century. From generation to generation, the story of God’s goodness and mercy made flesh in Jesus the Christ has been told and preached. 

Jesus’ final words to the Gerasene man “Return home and recount what God has done for you” (Luke 8:39) encouraged him to go off and proclaim throughout the whole town what Jesus had done for him. At La Salette, the “Beautiful Lady” invested the two little shepherds, Maximin and Melanie, with the mission of recounting the story of their encounter with her. This story too, like the one concerning the Son, has been handed down from generation to generation. Both have transformed a great multitude of men and women. And we, Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, are the custodians of these two stories: not to guard them jealously, but to make them resonate in the lives of our brothers and sisters that we meet while pursuing our earthly pilgrimage to the heavenly Jerusalem. Today as yesterday, the Church and the world need to hear both stories told. People need to hear them from those who have been transformed by both the Son and the Mother.

Mary tells us a story about her Son

While the two witnesses thought that their first mission was to convey the news of the glorious apparition to the inhabitants of the vicinity of Corps, the concern of Mary, Mother of the Divine Redeemer, was to remind the Church of her duty of being the herald of the Good News of Salvation. This is why Marie is not concerned with exalting herself, even though she deserves this honor. The Mother of the Church seems to remind us of submission as a fundamental condition for deserving the graces that her Son has left us as an inheritance, through his abnegation to the human condition and culminating in the outpouring of his blood on the cross.

The Apparition of Mary in La Salette is not an end in itself. Mary intends to awaken in all the baptized, starting with those to whom was given the greatest responsibilities in the Church, the awareness of the urgency of announcing to all the mystery of her Son, who was buried and was raised on the third day. She does not place herself at the center of her message. The purpose of his glorious apparition, as during the wedding feast in Cana, is to ask obedience from his Son: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5).

In 2001, John Paul II, in his message for World Mission Day, encouraged the people of God to set out to bring the Gospel of Jesus to all peoples. What story should we tell then? The luminous crucifix that Mary wears on her chest during the apparition answers precisely this question, since it was the one thing that most attracted the attention of Maximin and Melanie because of the light emanating from it. This shows and confirms Paul’s missionary call: “For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified” (1 Cor 1:22–23). It is this story, this message that we must tell until the final coming of Christ. In order for this “great adventure of evangelization” to be effective, John Paul II proposes new methods, new models and new paradigms. In this mission common to all, it is important to make present the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in the lives of our brothers and sisters.

Remembering helps us to move forward for a better future

In her last recommendation to the visionaries at La Salette, Mary asked them to make “this” known to all Her people, and she repeated it twice in French (precisely: “Eh bien, mes enfants, vous le ferez passer à tout mon people”).  That “this” which has been transmitted for 175 years is contained in the entire La Salette event. Here, details are important: the country in which the apparition took place (19th century France); the place of the apparition (a village in the Alps); the time (about 3. 00 p.m. on Saturday, September 19, 1846); the time after the first vespers of the liturgical feast of Our Lady of Sorrows (celebrated on the third Sunday of September[1]); the dress of the Beautiful Lady, modeled on that worn by the peasant women of the region of La Salette, and other elements she had on her (the crucifix with Jesus[2], the pliers and hammer[3], the two chains[4], the multicolored roses); then the sadness, the hidden face, the tears, the way Mary moved and her gestures in the presence of the children. But also, the message itself and the two languages in which it was communicated, the spring that emerged and continues to run at the place of the Apparition, where the sphere of light appeared with the person of Our Lady sitting inside, and finally the fact that both children received secrets, which they did not even talk about between themselves.

All of these elements are known to us. We talk about them at every possible opportunity. As long as the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary exists on the mountain near the village of La Salette in France, and as long as the Congregation of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette exists, the continuity and actuality of the message of the Beautiful Lady, communicated to Melanie and Maximin, will be assured. The transmission of the story of this event supposes a continuation until the end of time, but it could have ended earlier, if men would convert and by their conduct make useless the call of the Lady in tears to conversion and penance.

Our Lady’s true spiritual children surely consider the conversion of humanity to the paths of the Divine Will more important than the existence of the Basilica of Our Lady of La Salette and of the Congregation of the Missionaries of La Salette itself.

One element remains unresolved and is the subject of useless controversy: what is the significance of the secrets entrusted to Melanie and Maximin[5]?

The fact that Mary entrusted secrets to these two children constitutes an important element in the transmission of the story of the event at La Salette. They are a guarantee that the encounter had the character of mystery and therefore requires respect. We should not be worried about discovering their content, but in giving the account of the apparition, we should always mention their existence in humbly acknowledging our ignorance as to their content.

Flavio Gillio MS

Eusébio Kangupe MS

Karol Porczak MS



[1] This feast was first introduced by the Servites. From 1667 onwards, it was celebrated in some dioceses. In 1814, Pope Pius VII (1800-1823) established it in the calendar of the Universal Church and set the 3rd Sunday of September as the feast day. Pope Pius X (1903-1914) established the actual date of the celebration of the feast on September 15.

[2] It was from that crucifix that the light that enveloped the whole figure of Mary came, while Jesus Himself was alive on the cross, but - as the children said - He was now in agony. He did not yet have the wound in His right side, which was opened with a spear only after His death.

[3] These instruments were located UNDER the arms of Mary's cross, not ON her arms, as is depicted in our missionary crucifix. This is not a technical problem, related to how to attach them, but their placement has a symbolic value.

[4] A large chain with big rings hung on the Beautiful Lady's shoulders, while the smaller one held the crucifix on Her chest.

[5] We know that in the children’s comments about the vision of the Beautiful Lady, a small incident emerged, which confirms the fact that at the moment when they were listening to the secrets, the children were neither in ecstasy nor deaf. When Maximin listened attentively to the Beautiful Lady, Melanie did not hear her, but at that moment she did not give signs of boredom or impatience. She waited patiently, not hearing any voice. Then the roles were reversed: when Melanie listened to the Beautiful Lady entrusting her with the secrets, Maximin did not hear Maria’s voice. He was bored and began to throw small stones in the direction of the Beautiful Lady, hitting them with a stick. If he had been deaf, he would have noticed immediately that the stones made no noise. Then, in front of Melanie who scolded him, he justified himself by saying that no stone touched the Beautiful Lady. It seems that while listening to Mary Melanie and Maximin, were always well aware of what was happening around them, they were not in ecstasy.

Published in INFO (EN)
Sunday, 11 July 2021 22:20

Philippines - Chapter

Philippines – Provincial Chapter

Provincial Chapter: July 2-6 2021

New Provincial Council

Fr. Manuel Medina, provincial superior

Fr. Elmer Galiza, provincial vicar

Fr. Joseph Pilotin, second assistant

May the Holy Spirit enlighten the new Council in the service to the Province.

Published in INFO (EN)
Sunday, 11 July 2021 16:54

Let me find another way to say it...

Let me find another way to say it…

July 2021

Proclaiming Christ in freedom and in the midst of diversity

If there is a text that par excellence expresses the missionary spirit from the point of view of the New Testament, this text is the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 9, verses 19-23, where Paul writes: “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

In this passage, Paul gives to his work of evangelization a clear catholic (universal) character. In these verses Paul also unveils three important elements that support such a universalistic approach to his ministry. First: Paul’s work of evangelization is universal because the evangelizer is free, as stated in the first part of verse 19: “Though I am free and belong to no one […]”. Second: Paul’s work of evangelization is without “boundaries” because the evangelizer finds his motivation in the gospel: “I do all this for the sake of the gospel […]” (v. 23). Third, Paul’s work of evangelization is universal because the evangelizer has only one purpose or goal, i.e., “so that by all possible means I might save some” (v. 22). These three elements explain both the “why” and the “how” Paul was able to “[…] become all things to all people” (v. 22). That is why, for example, when in Athens, Paul is first found reasoning “in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks” and then in “the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there” (Acts 17:17) and also in the Areopagus (Acts 17:22). These few passages are enough to show the great “catholic” pastoral approach that inspired and guided Paul’s ministry and work of evangelization. It looks like, for Paul, there were not “suitable” and “unsuitable” situations; or “suitable” and unsuitable” people to preach the Good News. Every situation and every people were, potentially, the right situation and the right people to proclaim the “[…] good news about Jesus the Messiah […]” (Mark 1:1).

Despite what we might think, Paul was not the first one to embody and give life to this way of spreading the Good News. Before him, Jesus of Nazareth did the same. Before Paul, the One who was the “Apostle” of the Father approached his mission with the same attitude. In fact, during his public ministry Jesus of Nazareth, motivated by a “burning fire” for both the Kingdom of God and “the things of the Father”, announced the Good News to both men and women; to both the Pharisees and the Sadducees; to the rich as much as to the poor and marginalized of that time; to the pious Jews as well as to the Samaritans and the Gentiles. Jesus’ ministry knew neither religious or cultural limits, nor ethnic or social boundaries. His deep commitment to the mission entrusted to Him by the Father made Him an extremely free preacher, teacher, and redeemer. 

Interesting enough, we can find the same spirit in the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette. Indeed, it is suggested, for example by the clothes that the Beautiful Lady of La Salette wore when she appeared to the two little shepherds, Maximin and Melanie. The memories of the two children tell us that Mary, at La Salette, was dressed as the every-day women in the area of the small village of La Salette were used to be dressed during those days. Similarly, the same can be said when Mary changed her language from French to Patois, the dialect spoken by the common people of that geographical area at that time.

Jesus of Nazareth, Saint Paul, and the Beautiful Lady of La Salette: three challenging examples that invite and inspire us to live in our ministries, beyond our preferences or ideologies, the “catholicity” of the mission that the Mother, through the Son, has entrusted to each of us.

The language of love

It is out of love that Jesus has taken upon himself our human condition, even though this magnificent act would cost him extreme suffering to the point of crying out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

“I will tell you in another way” which touches very well on evangelization as the primordial mission of the Church, since it is the continuation of Christ's saving action. The Christian message has inserted itself into the language of all peoples in such a way as to supplant even cultures! It is like saying that all cultures allow themselves to be enlightened by the authority of Christ as their common denominator: “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved” than the name of Jesus Christ. 

John XXIII’s pontificate assumed the aggiornamento of the Church by giving continuity to the movement of liturgical, theological, biblical, pastoral and social renewal, in search of a new position in harmony with the great desire of the Mother of God to make the message of her Son increasingly understood.

St. John Paul II, in his encyclical, Redemptoris missio proposed, for the first time, the expression “new evangelization”. This does not arise because a new dicastery had emerged and been established in the Holy See, but rather a provocation to the Church to recognize the urgency and necessity of evangelization as a mission of the Church herself, which has been going on for two thousand years, which in any case must find a new language, have new lifestyles, also made up of profound identity, but also of respect. Therefore, the saint of our time has intended to awaken us to a new language in the proclamation of the faith of all times, and we understand that Mary, not wanting to change the direction of her Son’s Church, only wants to remind us of our duty as always it is, first of all, our submission to God. “I will tell you differently”, is nothing more than making explicit the permanent and eternal truth; that is, the mystery of Jesus who died and rose, the cause of our salvation. “I will tell you differently” is, as Cardinal Tagle says, to accept the current challenge of discerning how to present the Gospel, which is always the same, in a changing world. 

In the proclamation of the Good News of salvation, the language that has no boundaries must be understood, the language of love whose legacy Jesus left us in the last moment of his life in this world must be implied: “That you love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12). The Gospel proclamation in these days, the language best understood by humanity today is that of love which is the maternal love of Mary in tears at the foot of the cross and in La Salette, not that of the great theological explanations.

It is out of love that Jesus has come into the world; it is out of love that Mary remains caring towards us, and it is out of love that we, the missionaries of La Salette, accept the challenge of the Church’s evangelizing mission.

La Salette - communication of sensitivity that goes beyond language and culture

History has attributed a missionary character to our Congregation. After 175 years since the apparition in La Salette, we know that our task is to evangelize the world in the spirit of the Message given to us by the Beautiful Lady. This entails the need to open ourselves to other languages and cultures in which we find ourselves working. The entire congregation is responsible for this and not just the individual provinces anchored in a single culture and language.

It makes us reflect that Maria, speaking with Melania and Maximin, uses two languages. French is the language of the State that tradition has dubbed the First Daughter of the Church. In this language, Mary delivers her most compelling recommendations concerning the Eucharist and the respect due to her Son. When she instead speaks of the prosaic problems of the region of La Salette, she begins to use a dialect that even children understood. Melanie’s perplexity forces Mary to revise the method of communication and makes it more accessible. In this way, she conquers not only the mediators of the communication of the Message, but also the listeners who understand her.

We must remember that very often, and not only today, in some situations it is necessary to “start speaking differently.” This is reconciliation: the initiative is on the side of the one who knows that the other person has something against him. It is I who must begin to speak differently, even if someone sees me in a bad light. Jesus also speaks of the need for a change in attitude and in the way we communicate: “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Mt 5:23-24). If we want to be reconciled with our fellow human beings, nothing is more useful than changing the tone, the mode of interaction, but first of all changing the narrative, that is, moving from an accusatory and judgmental narrative to one that expresses the request for forgiveness and reconciliation. This is now another language: that of love and mercy. And God speaks precisely this language. This task is difficult for us, but we are unceasingly helped by the love and grace of Jesus, so it is possible to accomplish it.

We must take the attitude of the Apostles Paul and Barnabas, of whom the Acts of the Apostles say that in Lystra, Iconium and Antioch [today central Turkey] they “revived the disciples and exhorted them to remain steadfast in the faith, for, they said, it is necessary to go through many tribulations to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). A curious fact about that region: its inhabitants spoke their own dialect, Lycaonia (cf. Acts 14:11).

And so Mary, after communicating to the children her personal reflections in dialect, switches again to French and says: “Make this known to all my people”. She repeats this twice, so this recommendation also contains the phrase to be communicated: “You do not understand French. Then I will tell you differently.” We must convey the entire Message, with all the elements contained in it. This is not just a hint or a parenthesis made by Mary. Indeed, the phrase: “I will tell you differently” is an example of the use of language derived not from the experience of this world, but from the experience of Heaven which is our true homeland. Only the intimacy of the heart and the sensitivity of the mind in love and reconciliation are valid, and people of all times and cultures expect precisely that language, because they have always been thirsting for love and are touched by a profound crisis of faith and identity.

Flavio Gillio MS

Eusébio Kangupe MS

Karol Porczak MS

Published in MISSION (EN)
Sunday, 11 July 2021 13:01

Reflection - July 2021

Let me find another way to say it…

July 2021

Proclaiming Christ in freedom and in the midst of diversity

If there is a text that par excellence expresses the missionary spirit from the point of view of the New Testament, this text is the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 9, verses 19-23, where Paul writes: “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

In this passage, Paul gives to his work of evangelization a clear catholic (universal) character. In these verses Paul also unveils three important elements that support such a universalistic approach to his ministry. First: Paul’s work of evangelization is universal because the evangelizer is free, as stated in the first part of verse 19: “Though I am free and belong to no one […]”. Second: Paul’s work of evangelization is without “boundaries” because the evangelizer finds his motivation in the gospel: “I do all this for the sake of the gospel […]” (v. 23). Third, Paul’s work of evangelization is universal because the evangelizer has only one purpose or goal, i.e., “so that by all possible means I might save some” (v. 22). These three elements explain both the “why” and the “how” Paul was able to “[…] become all things to all people” (v. 22). That is why, for example, when in Athens, Paul is first found reasoning “in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks” and then in “the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there” (Acts 17:17) and also in the Areopagus (Acts 17:22). These few passages are enough to show the great “catholic” pastoral approach that inspired and guided Paul’s ministry and work of evangelization. It looks like, for Paul, there were not “suitable” and “unsuitable” situations; or “suitable” and unsuitable” people to preach the Good News. Every situation and every people were, potentially, the right situation and the right people to proclaim the “[…] good news about Jesus the Messiah […]” (Mark 1:1).

Despite what we might think, Paul was not the first one to embody and give life to this way of spreading the Good News. Before him, Jesus of Nazareth did the same. Before Paul, the One who was the “Apostle” of the Father approached his mission with the same attitude. In fact, during his public ministry Jesus of Nazareth, motivated by a “burning fire” for both the Kingdom of God and “the things of the Father”, announced the Good News to both men and women; to both the Pharisees and the Sadducees; to the rich as much as to the poor and marginalized of that time; to the pious Jews as well as to the Samaritans and the Gentiles. Jesus’ ministry knew neither religious or cultural limits, nor ethnic or social boundaries. His deep commitment to the mission entrusted to Him by the Father made Him an extremely free preacher, teacher, and redeemer. 

Interesting enough, we can find the same spirit in the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette. Indeed, it is suggested, for example by the clothes that the Beautiful Lady of La Salette wore when she appeared to the two little shepherds, Maximin and Melanie. The memories of the two children tell us that Mary, at La Salette, was dressed as the every-day women in the area of the small village of La Salette were used to be dressed during those days. Similarly, the same can be said when Mary changed her language from French to Patois, the dialect spoken by the common people of that geographical area at that time.

Jesus of Nazareth, Saint Paul, and the Beautiful Lady of La Salette: three challenging examples that invite and inspire us to live in our ministries, beyond our preferences or ideologies, the “catholicity” of the mission that the Mother, through the Son, has entrusted to each of us.

The language of love

It is out of love that Jesus has taken upon himself our human condition, even though this magnificent act would cost him extreme suffering to the point of crying out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

“I will tell you in another way” which touches very well on evangelization as the primordial mission of the Church, since it is the continuation of Christ's saving action. The Christian message has inserted itself into the language of all peoples in such a way as to supplant even cultures! It is like saying that all cultures allow themselves to be enlightened by the authority of Christ as their common denominator: “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved” than the name of Jesus Christ. 

John XXIII’s pontificate assumed the aggiornamento of the Church by giving continuity to the movement of liturgical, theological, biblical, pastoral and social renewal, in search of a new position in harmony with the great desire of the Mother of God to make the message of her Son increasingly understood.

St. John Paul II, in his encyclical, Redemptoris missio proposed, for the first time, the expression “new evangelization”. This does not arise because a new dicastery had emerged and been established in the Holy See, but rather a provocation to the Church to recognize the urgency and necessity of evangelization as a mission of the Church herself, which has been going on for two thousand years, which in any case must find a new language, have new lifestyles, also made up of profound identity, but also of respect. Therefore, the saint of our time has intended to awaken us to a new language in the proclamation of the faith of all times, and we understand that Mary, not wanting to change the direction of her Son’s Church, only wants to remind us of our duty as always it is, first of all, our submission to God. “I will tell you differently”, is nothing more than making explicit the permanent and eternal truth; that is, the mystery of Jesus who died and rose, the cause of our salvation. “I will tell you differently” is, as Cardinal Tagle says, to accept the current challenge of discerning how to present the Gospel, which is always the same, in a changing world. 

In the proclamation of the Good News of salvation, the language that has no boundaries must be understood, the language of love whose legacy Jesus left us in the last moment of his life in this world must be implied: “That you love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12). The Gospel proclamation in these days, the language best understood by humanity today is that of love which is the maternal love of Mary in tears at the foot of the cross and in La Salette, not that of the great theological explanations.

It is out of love that Jesus has come into the world; it is out of love that Mary remains caring towards us, and it is out of love that we, the missionaries of La Salette, accept the challenge of the Church’s evangelizing mission.

La Salette - communication of sensitivity that goes beyond language and culture

History has attributed a missionary character to our Congregation. After 175 years since the apparition in La Salette, we know that our task is to evangelize the world in the spirit of the Message given to us by the Beautiful Lady. This entails the need to open ourselves to other languages and cultures in which we find ourselves working. The entire congregation is responsible for this and not just the individual provinces anchored in a single culture and language.

It makes us reflect that Maria, speaking with Melania and Maximin, uses two languages. French is the language of the State that tradition has dubbed the First Daughter of the Church. In this language, Mary delivers her most compelling recommendations concerning the Eucharist and the respect due to her Son. When she instead speaks of the prosaic problems of the region of La Salette, she begins to use a dialect that even children understood. Melanie’s perplexity forces Mary to revise the method of communication and makes it more accessible. In this way, she conquers not only the mediators of the communication of the Message, but also the listeners who understand her.

We must remember that very often, and not only today, in some situations it is necessary to “start speaking differently.” This is reconciliation: the initiative is on the side of the one who knows that the other person has something against him. It is I who must begin to speak differently, even if someone sees me in a bad light. Jesus also speaks of the need for a change in attitude and in the way we communicate: “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Mt 5:23-24). If we want to be reconciled with our fellow human beings, nothing is more useful than changing the tone, the mode of interaction, but first of all changing the narrative, that is, moving from an accusatory and judgmental narrative to one that expresses the request for forgiveness and reconciliation. This is now another language: that of love and mercy. And God speaks precisely this language. This task is difficult for us, but we are unceasingly helped by the love and grace of Jesus, so it is possible to accomplish it.

We must take the attitude of the Apostles Paul and Barnabas, of whom the Acts of the Apostles say that in Lystra, Iconium and Antioch [today central Turkey] they “revived the disciples and exhorted them to remain steadfast in the faith, for, they said, it is necessary to go through many tribulations to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). A curious fact about that region: its inhabitants spoke their own dialect, Lycaonia (cf. Acts 14:11).

And so Mary, after communicating to the children her personal reflections in dialect, switches again to French and says: “Make this known to all my people”. She repeats this twice, so this recommendation also contains the phrase to be communicated: “You do not understand French. Then I will tell you differently.” We must convey the entire Message, with all the elements contained in it. This is not just a hint or a parenthesis made by Mary. Indeed, the phrase: “I will tell you differently” is an example of the use of language derived not from the experience of this world, but from the experience of Heaven which is our true homeland. Only the intimacy of the heart and the sensitivity of the mind in love and reconciliation are valid, and people of all times and cultures expect precisely that language, because they have always been thirsting for love and are touched by a profound crisis of faith and identity.

Flavio Gillio MS

Eusébio Kangupe MS

Karol Porczak MS

Published in INFO (EN)

Signs and Wonders

(18th Ordinary Sunday: Exodus 16:2-15; Ephesians 4:17-24; John 6:24-35)

In the three-year cycle of the Sunday Lectionary, we are currently in “Year B,” which highlights the Gospel of Mark on the Sundays in Ordinary Time. But there is always a four-week break, when the Church presents the “Bread of Life Discourse” from Chapter 6 of John’s Gospel.

Today we have the opening, a curious exchange between Jesus and people who had been fed at the multiplication of loaves and fishes. “Rabbi, when did you get here?”—“Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled.”

They had seen what he did, of course, and they continued to seek him out because they wanted more—more of the same. But they had not seen the sign; they had missed the meaning of the event.

In the first reading, the Israelites in the desert longed for the fleshpots of Egypt, forgetting the signs and wonders by which they had been rescued from slavery, and murmuring not so much against Moses and Aaron as against the Lord their God.

At La Salette, Our Lady describes a similar behavior. Twice she mentions people swearing and throwing in her Son’s name.

There seems to have been a longing for the past among the Christians of Ephesus. St. Paul writes, “You should put away the old self of your former way of life.” At the very least, they needed to learn that a genuine relationship with the Lord was not compatible with gentile ways, a message echoed at La Salette.

La Salette also has signs and wonders: the light, the tears, the roses, the chains, and the crucifix, the simple peasant garb; and let us not forget the once seasonal spring that has never ceased flowing since September of 1846. Also, in her discourse, Mary makes a wondrous promise, biblical in its extravagance, of abundant harvests for those who will return to God.

What does it take for us to have a truly personal relationship with the Lord, not based only on obedience or on our needs? How can we be worthy tabernacles of God’s grace? We can begin by seeing the signs of his presence, and recognizing the wonders of his love, as shown by the Beautiful Lady.

Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.

Published in MISSION (EN)

Jesus and Human Need

(17th Ordinary Sunday: Jeremiah 23:1-6; Ephesians 2:13-18; Mark 6:30-34)

Among the many forms of human suffering is the one put before us in today’s Gospel: food insecurity. In this case the situation was of short duration. Jesus responded to an immediate need on a specific occasion.

But, like Jesus, we too can ask how it is possible to respond to the needs of so many. Some of us, like Philip and Andrew, may answer that it can’t be done. But the evangelist tells us, “Jesus himself knew what he was going to do.”

Some of you reading this have experienced food insecurity, perhaps combined with anxiety over lodging, work, etc. Many have not. In which set of circumstances is the grace of God more active?

At La Salette, Mary noted that people worked on Sundays all summer. But, with potatoes, wheat, grapes and even walnuts all showing signs of blight, farmers were desperate to save what little they could. It is hard to be open to spiritual realities when material needs demand our full attention.

On the other hand, if we are so taken up with what we possess that we are unable to respond to others’ needs, it is equally hard to live in the Spirit, to grow and work and learn in community. Compassion and empathy are gifts. Do we desire them?

Jesus fed the hungry multitude because he saw their need, and he saw their need because he wanted to see it. Mary was aware of her people’s food insecurity, and she offered hope, “if they are converted.” Conversion, too, is a gift. Do we desire it?

St. Paul writes, “I urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received.” He focuses especially on unity: “one body and one Spirit.” How is this possible if some members are in dire need and other members do not help them?

Can we dare to pray for the gifts of conversion and compassion in our lives, to ask the Lord to make us like himself, willing to recognize the needs around us?

At the beginning of the Gospel we read that Jesus “saw that a large crowd was coming to him.” With little, he met the need of many. When Christians respond to others’ needs, the goal is to help them come to Christ. That was Mary’s purpose at La Salette.

Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.

Published in MISSION (EN)
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