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.
grave of James Byrd, Jr. in cemetery in Jasper, TexasOn September 15, 1963, four African-American girls were killed when dynamite exploded outside the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Reacting to this tragedy, Dudley Randall wrote the poem, "The Ballad of Birmingham" which presents the perspective of the mother of one of the victims. She refuses to allow her daughter to march against racism, for fear of the police, with their dogs, clubs and hoses. In the poem she writes;
"No, baby, no you may not go For I fear those guns will fire. But you may go to church instead And sing in the children's choir."
The irony here is chilling for you and I remember what happened next. The poem continues:
"For when she heard the explosion. Her eyes grew wet and wild. She raced through the streets of Birmingham Calling for her child."
For me, this poem testifies to the truth that it is not possible to run away from evil because it will follow us and will not go away on its own. I believe racism is a particular form of evil which must be destroyed if we are ever to live together in peace in our society. For there really can be no hiding place in the struggle against an evil such as racism. Moments of decision are forced upon us and we must decide courageously how we will act.
A Hate Crime Happens in Our Own Small Town
Little did I realize in early June of 1998 that this evil of racism would so affect my life and the lives of the townspeople of Jasper, Texas. For early on Sunday morning, June 7, 1998, a hate crime took place on a deserted road just outside our town that shocked us as a community and as a nation and changed our lives forever.
Editor: This article was written in November of 1935 by a La Salette Missionary serving in Rio. Therefore we have mostly used archival visuals from that time to enhance his reflections.
Statue of Christ the Redeemer standing in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city of Rio. Christ’s arms are open, serving as a symbol of peace.The following letter from a Missionary of our Lady of La Salette in Brazil affords some interesting side-lights on the life and customs of the people in that great South American republic. From it the reader may gather some idea of the life of a Missionary, with its light and shadow, in that vast and still undeveloped country where civilization in its noblest expressions and barbarity in its lowest form mingle in the strangest pattern. Our correspondent writes to us from Rio de Janeiro:
"From my window where I sit to pen these lines I can look but over the great and marvelous Bay of Guanabara, overcast now with a heavy shroud of black, ominous clouds; and as the mists rise and fall, the statue of "Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)" on the mountain peak of Corcovado appears and disappears from behind the veil that hangs before its two thousand feet of rocky pedestal.
The rain patters on the tiles outside my window, but, defiant of the downpour, the peddlers bawl their wares through the streets, and urchins who found the weather too bad to go to school, fill the air with a never ending chorus of screams and laughter.
It is only recently that I have really come to know and appreciate this capitol city of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro. On my first arrival in the summer of 1932, I was delayed here a month before continuing my journey southward to our missions among the "gauchos" of Sao Paulo. But my experiences then were similar to those of the average tourist who comes here on a sightseeing visit.
Editor: This is a report recently sent to the parishioners of Our Lady of the Cape Parish in Brewster, MA., outlining their longstanding support of the poor in Haiti and the ongoing needs of the poorest of the poor.
Fr. William Kaliyadan, M.S. (front, center) with Pastor (last row) after Mass with school children
I just returned from a visit to our Haitian brothers and sisters in Christ whom we at Our Lady of the Cape Parish in Brewster, Massachusetts – staffed as we are by the La Salette Missionaries – have been committed to serving for the past twenty-three years. I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to share with you my thoughts and impressions from my time there, and update you regarding the progress being made.
First of all, in order to understand the setting for our ministry in Haiti, author Scott Hortop has written that:
“Haiti is a country steeped in centuries of cultural fear and mistrust. Although an independent republic since1806, Haitians have yet to experience the trust that enables productivity through cooperation. A study of Haitian society reveals a difficulty with management, a difficulty with administration, a difficulty to work in any situation that requires cooperation, a difficulty in trusting: a difficulty but not an inability.” (FIDA)
Establishing A Model of Collaboration
Map of West Central Haiti and some of our mission towns indicated
Our parish of Our Lady of the Cape has always approached these cultural challenges in Haiti, using a cooperative model based on faith and charity. Over time and with great patience, prayer and fraternity, this model has been fruitful. Through consistency, sincerity and transparency, we have experienced genuine care for each other, as well as accountability. Through our collaborative Christian relationship, we have become even more aware that we are the “keepers “of our brothers and sisters. During my recent week in Haiti, I grew in appreciation of this relationship in a very genuine way.
St. Claire Parish in Dessalines
Fr. Robinson Alexis, pastor, and his parishioners extended a warm welcome to Fr. Joe Gosselin M.S. (a retired, enthusiastic La Salette who spends three months a year in Haiti doing missionary work), Fr. Thomas Vellappillil, director of the La Salette North American Mission Office in St. Louis, and myself.
Parishioners thanked us for our recent help with a new sound system, new electric fans for the parish church and the replacement of a damaged part of the rectory roof. They were also grateful for our financial support to the four seminarians from their parish who are now pursuing their studies for the priesthood.