Editor: This article with its initial impressions of Brazilian culture and faith was written in 1934.
As in every other frontier land, but especially in a land of chaos and murder such as this, deeds of terrible violence dogged the trail of colonization, there being no such thing in the early days as civil authority or judicial force… Marcelino has a scarlet history… and if only a part of what is said can be believed, surely the curse of Cain is marked indelibly upon it.
Editor: Reaching back in time, we produce the original article about the beginning of our ministry in Bassfield, Mississippi in 1936. The remarks of Fr. Bernard Reilly were startlingly poignant. In fact, in the true missionary spirit, the La Salette Missionaries did not take a stipend from this impoverished parish and its missions during our years of service in Bassfield. On September 1, 1935, the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette took charge of St. Peter's Church, Bassfield, Mississippi, in the Diocese of Natchez, at the kind invitation of the Most Reverend Bishop Richard Oliver Gerow, D.D. Reverend Bernard Reilly, M. S., a native of Waterbury, Connecticut, and formerly pastor of St. Patrick's Church, Lufkin, Texas, has been appointed pastor and director of the new foundation, with Reverend Francis Lundgren, M. S., of Bristol, Connecticut, as Assistant.
Bassfield, Missisippi, September 15, 1936.
In your last issue, you mentioned that the La Salette Fathers were taking charge of a new foundation at Bassfield, Mississippi. Lest you have any false impressions of this place, I would like to tell you a few experiences of our first days in Mississippi.
To begin with, I was rather skeptical of the sort of welcome we might receive when the people should find out that both Father Lundgren and I are Connecticut Yankees. The parish, you know, is in the heart of the old South – in Jefferson Davis County, suh (that is, “sir” in southern dialect)! I had half resolved to forget the land of my birth and simply tell the people I came from Texas.
When Father Bernard Baris, M.S., was named director of La Salette’s Retreat Center in Attleboro, MA., in May of 2016, he found himself back in familiar territory.
“Ever since I could remember, I wanted to become a priest,” recalled Father Baris. “My grandparents used to come every Sunday to the shrine, be part of the Liturgy processions and all that, and so I grew up hearing nothing but La Salette. When it came time for me to make a decision to follow my vocation into the priesthood, it was natural that I would be part of La Salette.”
On July 14, 2017, Isabel and I went to the Sycuan Indian Reservation to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the founding of the Parish of St. Kateri Tekakwitha on the day when the Church in the United States celebrates the solemnity of St. Kateri.
We are inspired to put a small part of the story of this parish into the public domain of the La Salette Missionaries because it is in their hegemony that this dedication took place.
Editor: Eugenia is a committed member of the group of La Salette Associates in Attleboro, Massachusetts and speaks Spanish and English.
This following brief 50-second video is from the Diaconal Ordination of Bro. Diego Diaz, M.S. (shown below in this article), with the imposition of hands of Auxiliary Bishop Pedro Torres, on November 6, 2016 at the Regional House of the Missionaries of La Salette in Cordoba, Argentina. His mother vests him after his ordination as a deacon.
We had the wonderful experience of attending the meeting of the La Salette Missionaries and Laity in Cordoba, Argentina from January 23-31, 2017. Traveling with Fr. Ray Cadran of the Provincial Council, we had a pleasant and uneventful 15-hour journey from Attleboro.