In 1846 Mary, the Mother of God appeared to two young children in the small village of La Salette in the French Alps. She was wearing a unique crucifix and her message was one of Reconciliation.
• Isaiah 6: 1-8: (A vision of God in the temple)
"Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?" "Here I am," I said, "send me!
• Luke 5:1-11: (Jesus calls the first disciples)
Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.
• Exodus 14: 10-31 (crossing the Red Sea)
Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians.
• Luke 15: 11-32 (the parable of the Merciful Father)
This brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.
In an informal survey of high school seniors and college students I conducted this year, I asked what they felt were the two greatest fears a young man must overcome if he is to consider priesthood today. Two-thirds of the students identified celibacy as one of the fears. The other fears, including fear of being unworthy, fear of unhappiness, fear of parents’ responses, and fear of friends’ responses were all far behind.
Using this information we are trying to develop responses that might help young people understand the nature of celibacy. I realize we cannot immediately change the whole culture towards a positive appreciation of priestly celibacy, but I think we can change some hearts of young men who feel the call to consider a life of priestly service. The following thoughts are offered to give a renewed understanding of celibacy from understanding priesthood as sacrament.
Think for a moment about your first reaction to the word “celibacy”. For many people celibacy simply means not being married, not having sex, and not having children. When viewed in this way, a logical question is, “Why would anyone in their right mind choose that for themselves?” Good question. But celibacy cannot be defined merely by a series of negations (no spouse, no children, no sex) anymore than love can be defined only by negation (not hating, not stealing, not abusive). Love is much, much richer than that, and so is celibacy!
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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.”