Holy Easter of Resurrection 2023
“Do not be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus the crucified. He is not here. He has risen, indeed, as he said” (Mt 28:5-6)
It is a great pleasure for me and my Council to send each and every one of you the most beautiful and fraternal wishes for a peaceful and holy Easter, full of blessings. May the risen Lord bring into your hearts, into your communities, and into your ministry, wherever you are, that joy and that peace that only his word of life can offer and his presence as a risen one can guarantee.
1- Today's world, wounded by so many outbreaks of wars that continue to sow hatred, injustice and death across the planet and in particular, in Haiti, Ukraine and Mozambique, feels more than ever the need to hear words and see gestures that speak of resurrection, life and hope. We, as Missionaries of Mary's Tears of La Salette, cannot and must not escape from this commitment, which is a constitutive part of our charism; in fact we are invited to put all our strength into proclaiming aloud and with enthusiasm that Good Friday is not the end of everything but the obligatory passage to arrive at celebrating the triumph of life on Easter day. Despite everything, we are called to be courageous and tireless sowers of hope in a world that seems to have lost the meaning of its existence and vocation.
2- With the official convocation of the ordinary General Chapter for election and business, dated March 1, 2023, our Congregation began the process of preparation for this important assembly which will begin its work on April 8, 2024 (Madagascar). Therefore, may the year that opens before us be welcomed by all as a special gift of the Holy Spirit to our religious family so that it takes “account of itself and its mission, to adapt itself to the times in order better to answer to the needs of the world, to assure that it will make the best use of the means at its disposal and to affirm its unity” (RdV 195 C).
I invite everyone to ensure that this journey of preparation is lived in a true synodal and collaborative spirit, guided by attentive listening to the Word of God, supported by constant personal and community prayer and illuminated by our charism which springs from Mary's message in his apparition at La Salette. I hope that the Preparatory Commission for the Chapter already established and the Council of the Congregation which will be held in Curitiba (Brazil) starting next May 8 will help us to walk the path towards our General Chapter with renewed commitment and with convinced participation and seriousness, whose decisions will certainly influence in one way or another the quality of the religious life of our communities and the future missionary choices of the Congregation.
3- The work of the General Chapter will unfold in the light of the theme chosen by the General Council: "A Stronger Identity at the Service of Communion and Hope".
The term "identity" must not be seen as a static, vague and meaningless idea but as a living reality in the making, which characterizes us as religious, which is capable of interpreting the signs of the times, of grasping their challenges and consequently to adapt the mission to the needs of the Church and the world.
The verb "to serve" wants to clarify the modality that enhances our missionary activity: it is not an act of personal interest or vainglory but rather putting the best of ourselves at the disposal of the cause of the Gospel and the good of the brothers.
The terms "communion" and "hope" and their promotion express the purposes of our charism within the Church and in today's world. In this regard, we gratefully acknowledge what Pope St. John Paul II wrote in his message to the bishop of Grenoble for the 150th anniversary of the Apparition: "the message of La Salette is a message of great hope". A statement that still challenges us deep within ourselves and in our way of living and presenting the message of the weeping Virgin.
I would also like to send Easter greetings to all our young people in formation, to elderly and sick confreres, to the Sisters of La Salette who share with us the same charism born of the tears and words of Mary at La Salette as well as to the La Salette Laity who with constancy and courage strive to spread the message of hope of the Beautiful Lady with the example of life and the warmth of the word.
May the crucifix, suffering but at the same time shining with light, which Our Lady wore on her chest during her apparition, encourage us to live as joyful and credible witnesses of the risen both in our communities and in our pastoral service.
Happy and Holy Easter!
Fr. Silvano Marisa, MS