Editor: On July 9, 2015 in Bolivia, Pope Francis gave a powerful and prophetic address to the World Meeting of Popular Movements, which brought together delegates from popular movements from around the world. These are selected portions of his address.
... The Bible tells us that God hears the cry of his people, and I wish to join my voice to yours in calling for land, lodging and labor for all our brothers and sisters. I said it and I repeat it: these are sacred rights. It is important, it is well worth fighting for them. May the cry of the excluded be heard in Latin America and throughout the world.
Let us begin by acknowledging that change is needed... we need change; we want change... I would like us all to consider some important tasks for the present historical moment, since we desire a positive change for the benefit of all our brothers and sisters... I would like... to propose three great tasks which demand a decisive and shared contribution from popular movements:
THE FIRST TASK IS TO PUT THE ECONOMY AT THE SERVICE OF PEOPLES.
Human beings and nature must not be at the service of money. Let us say NO to an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules, rather than service. That economy kills. That economy excludes. That economy destroys Mother Earth.
In our fast-paced world, “keeping up with the times” can seem like a full-time job.
This constant need for updating can apply to technology, psychology, ecology, meteorology and, yes, even theology; that is, our faith and our beliefs. Literally, if our faith is truly alive and well, it also needs to be updated and reapplied to our ever-changing world.
Unless we choose to live alone on an island, we do need to relate to others. All of us are constantly being effected by the words and images, the triumphs and tragedies, the gifts and challenges of this day and age.
Just a few months ago, a well-known and respected Catholic theologian and writer from Connecticut, Fr. Richard McBrien, died. I was told that he was asked how the Church was able change its view of various topics. He responded that some ideas or practices eventually became “accurate but inadequate”; by this I think that he meant that some ways of looking at ideas or practices were good in their own day but are simply no longer adequate for our present day.
As I stepped off a tiny airplane onto a wet tarmac in my childhood hometown, the sweet aroma of post-rain mountain air stopped me in my tracks. Each clean breath seemed to clear from my head the smog and drought and allergies of the city where I currently live. My eyes scanned the big Montana sky painted across the hilly horizon and I was a child again, drawn to run hidden trails and skip rocks across rivers. The piercing silence of my sacred childhood places invited me home, to recall something about myself. Then I felt a tug on either side of my shirt: “Daddy, will you help us off the plane?”
My few stolen minutes of airplane reading that day, besides children’s books to my two restless kids, were devoted to Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ much anticipated and eye-opening encyclical on the environment.
Of the many passages which caught my attention, one essential passage spoke to this return trip I am enjoying to the place where my friendship with God was nurtured in nature:
It is a pleasant surprise to hear songs of faith from well-known secular artists. I read about the origin of Eric Clapton’s song, Holy Mary. I invite you to read about when and why it was composed and then watch the video – a beautiful expression of the struggle to rise from despair to faith and hope, from loneliness to reconciliation with himself and the power of God, expressed through his relationship to Holy Mary, Jesus’ own Mother.
In this video of a benefit concert for Bosnia in 1996, Eric Clapton performed this song he wrote for the Blessed Mother, joined with the renowned Italian opera singer, Luciano Pavarotti, and a wonderful Gospel choir. The words of the song are a genuine prayer to Mary for Clapton.
In his memoir, Clapton: The Autobiography, the musician writes about a rock-bottom moment he had with his alcoholism in a Rehabilitation Center in 1987:
“I was in complete despair,” wrote Clapton. “In the privacy of my room, I begged for help. I had no notion who I thought I was talking to, I just knew that I had come to the end of my tether... and, getting down on my knees, I surrendered.
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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.”