Soon, on the first Sunday of Advent of 2016, the great Jubilee of Mercy will come to an end. Although we can always do more, great things happened this year in the name of Christ and his Church of Mercy.
Over this past year, more people have been involved in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and giving drink to the thirsty. It was being done quite openly in the name of Jesus Christ. People with marital problems, addiction problems, or those mourning a loss, have all had hands held and stories heard. We all know that when we are hurting, and someone reaches out to us with care the God who seems far away suddenly draws close.
As Joshua reminds us: “I command you: be strong and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go” (I Joshua 1:9).
Marian devotion has been part of Catholic tradition as far back as A.D. 36 when the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to St. James on a 6-foot pillar of jasper in Saragossa, Spain — while she was still living in Ephesus. Her purpose was to encourage him on his mission and she asked that he build a church in her honor. She promised her assistance to those who would call on her.
Since then, numerous Marian apparitions have been witnessed worldwide in which Mary often asks the faithful to pray the holy rosary. In addition to the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on Oct. 7, Pope Leo XIII officially dedicated the month of October to the Holy Rosary in 1883, saying, "It has always been the habit of Catholics in danger and in troublous times to fly for refuge to Mary, and to seek for peace in her maternal goodness; showing that the Catholic Church has always, and with justice, put all her hope and trust in the Mother of God" ("On Devotion of the Rosary").
Editor: This article was originally written in our newly-begun publication, “Reconciliare: a La Salette Intracommunity Review”, published in Rome, after Vatican II. Fr. Stern is himself a convert from Judeism.
Everyone knows that the place now held by apparitions in Catholic piety constitutes one of the major obstacles to closer relations with our Protestant brethren. Dr. Künneth, Secretary of the World Lutheran Federation at Geneva, whose conference given at the Marian Congress in Lisbon included many sympathetic viewpoints still did not hesitate to express serious reservations relative to piety as manifested at Lourdes and Fatima.
Every Catholic anxious for the progress of ecumenism will necessarily be perturbed by this state of affairs. Some will probably go as far as to hope for the outright suppression of all forms of piety related to apparitions. In fact, some will say: La Salette, Lourdes, Fatima, etc., are not part of Revelation; shouldn't we choose to remove these obstacles from the road to unity, a road already long and strewn with difficulties for our separated brethren? The Church, after all, never considered apparitions as bolted to the foundations of faith properly so-called.
Editor: The following statement, crafted in a consensus process, was released at the end of the Nonviolence and Just Peace conference in Rome, April 2016. We invite individuals and organizations to endorse this statement using the form below. More than 1,100 individuals and organizations have endorsed it as of September 12, 2016.
As Christians committed to a more just and peaceful world, we are called to take a clear stand for creative and active nonviolence and against all forms of violence. With this conviction, and in recognition of the Jubilee Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis, people from many countries gathered at the Nonviolence and Just Peace Conference sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pax Christi International on April 11-13, 2016 in Rome.
Our assembly, people of God from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania included lay people, theologians, members of religious congregations, priests, and bishops. Many of us live in communities experiencing violence and oppression. All of us are practitioners of justice and peace. We are grateful for the message to our conference from Pope Francis: “your thoughts on revitalizing the tools of nonviolence, and of active nonviolence in particular, will be a needed and positive contribution”.
We live in a time of tremendous suffering, widespread trauma and fear linked to militarization, economic injustice, climate change, and a myriad of other specific forms of violence. In this context of normalized and systemic violence, those of us who stand in the Christian tradition are called to recognize the centrality of active nonviolence to the vision and message of Jesus; to the life and practice of the Catholic Church; and to our long-term vocation of healing and reconciling both people and the planet.
Editor: Fr. Ferec’s article, Reflections on our Spirituality (Dec., 1966), was originally published in the La Salette publication, Reconciliare, just after the conclusion of Vatican II. We have divided his lengthy presentation into five articles: 1) Our La Salette Spirituality, 2) Mary, Mediator and Reconciler, 3) La Salettes – Reconcilers Par Excellence, 4) Our La Salette Charism, and 5) A Pep-Talk for La Salettes.
What rating does our ministry of reconciliation deserve? An “A” for a service that is constantly improving? An “E” for effort? What mark does one put down for the missionary who is only going through the motions, marking time, rendering a spineless service, a non-zeal that only serves to emasculate one's spirituality?
There are times when the generous performance of routine apostolic chores creates the impression that a big step forward has been taken when actually we have gone two steps backward: because the wasted efforts amounted to what St. Augustine called “giant steps in the wrong direction”.
Even small donations help us to continue to Make Mary's message known.
Our Community: The Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette are deeply rooted in the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette which occurred near the hamlet of La Salette in southeastern France on Sept. 19, 1846. The Missionaries were founded in 1852 by Bp. Philbert de Bruillard, Bishop of Grenoble, France, and presently serve in some 25 countries.
Our Province: The Province of Mary, Mother of the Americas, was founded in 2000AD and is one of several provinces in the congregation. The members of this Province serve mainly in the countries of Canada, the United States and the Region of Argentina/Bolivia.
Our Mission: Our La Salette ministry of reconciliation responds to the broad vision given by Mary at La Salette as well as in response to the needs of the Church. As reconcilers, we together with the laity take seriously Mary’s mandate: “You will make (Mary’s) message known to all (her) people.”