Untitled 1The Rosary Pond is decorated with lights and ribbons and a variety of festive colorsThe… La Salette Shrine in Attleboro, MA., is once more engulfed in lights – over 400,000 of them – for the Christmas season, beginning Thanksgiving Day, with the message of "Make It Known."

Shrine director the Rev. Ted Brown, M.S., says the theme of the 2016 season comes from both Mother Mary and Jesus Christ's message to spread the word of the Gospel, making known the Good News.

"Coming off the Year of Mercy, we want to continue to emphasize Christ's message of love and compassion," Fr. Brown said. "During the Year of Mercy, perhaps we've experienced mercy ourselves, and it's now time to bring it into the world...the mercy we've received, we now want to bring into the world that needs to be touched by God's love and care."

A Cast of Thousands

The Festival of Lights, which draws crowds numbering into the thousands, officially runs from 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Day until January 1, 2017. While many of the popular staples will come back for another year – such as Clopper the Donkey at the life-size Nativity scene, the hot chocolate and toddy booths and the Creche Museum – a new feature will be the lighted outlines of angels at each of the 14 Stations of the Cross.

In addition, the weekends will offer a 20-minute trolley ride around the Shrine grounds to take visitors places where cars cannot go, or to give those who do not wish to walk a chance to view the sights. Admission is free and Brown believes that the Festival of Lights offers a low-cost night out for many families who want to treat their children to something special.


Fr. Norm Farland, M.S. – A Friend to Migrants

Untitled-1In April, 2011, Fr. Farland delivered the sermon during Easter Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission in Wahneta (Photo: The Ledger, Pierre DuCharme / Ledger file photo)Lakeland, FL — Members of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission in Wahneta, Florida, will remember their late pastor, the Rev. Norman A. Farland, M.S., as someone who met both their spiritual and physical needs.

“As a Catholic my whole life, that’s what it means to help the poor. He’s a clear example of that,” said Brenda Ramirez, 35, a Winter Haven lawyer and member of the Hispanic faith community since it was founded in the early 1980s. “He was extremely simple and so full of faith. He was comfortable with anybody and everybody. He was a member of our family.”

Fr. Farland, 77, a member of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette of the Roman Catholic Church, died at the Our Lady of Guadalupe rectory at 2150 Bomber Road, where he had served for 23 years.

Read more: Fr. Norm Farland, M.S. – A Friend to Migrants

St. Ann’s Disaster Relief Ministry

Untitled-1When we think of disaster relief we perhaps think of the Red Cross or FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) but for the people of St. Ann’s Catholic Church, a La Salette Ministry in Marietta, Georgia, they perhaps think of their own Disaster Relief Ministry.

The Mission Statement for this special ministry is: “Charity in Action! The Disaster Relief Ministry responds and reaches out to our neighbors in need regardless of their religious affiliation. Our goal is to provide a 'hand up' by assisting in a meaningful way when possible through prayer, financial assistance and/or a physical presence. We will be a source of support for our neighbors in their hour of need."

This ministry has as its special mission to provide immediate response and recovery efforts within a geographic area and classification within the defined capabilities of our ministry. The Ministry is organized to allow our parish community to respond in the event that we, or our neighbors, are impacted by a catastrophic event.

Read more: St. Ann’s Disaster Relief Ministry

A House for La Salette Sisters

At long last, the Sisters of the La Salette Shrine in Attleboro, MA., will have a home to call their own. A vacant house directly across the street from the Shrine at 928 Park St. is under renovation, and could be ready by this fall or early next spring.


A Home to Call Their Own


Untitled-1(from left) Bro. Ron Taylor, M.S., in front of the house; unfinished interior of upper floor (Photos: Tom Maguire, Sun Chronicle Staff)The two-story house, which survived a fire many years ago and has been owned by the Shrine for years, will be home to three nuns who have been with the Shrine for seven years, but haven't had a permanent residence of their own. When they first arrived, they stayed in the retreat house, then in the monastery, and more recently to quarters in Cumberland.

Independent contractors Richard Gordon and Dino Hawkley of Attleboro have been busily hammering nails and sawing wood on the renovation in between previous commitments. Work is expected to pick up speed this month.

Read more: A House for La Salette Sisters

Argentina’s Dirty War

Recently in Commonweal, the oldest independent lay Catholic journal of opinion in the United States,
Untitled-1(from left) Fr. Alfred Velarde,
M.S. and Fr. Jim Weeks, M.S.
it contained an article entitled, “The Catholic Church & Argentina's Dirty War; Victims, Perpetrators, or Witnesses?”, a large portion of which is about our brothers in Argentina. Not surprisingly many members of our La Salette Community were interviewed. The article included the following brief description:


“The La Salettes of Córdoba, who focused their pastoral work on the poor and working-class, knew that local intelligence officials had targeted them as potential subversives. On August 3, 1976, police burst through the door of their modest living quarters, ransacked the house, and captured five seminarians and Father James Weeks, a North American priest. (An American nun was released the same day.)

“In short order, the La Salettes were blindfolded, bundled into a car, and taken away, first to Córdoba’s Encausados prison, and later to La Perla prison, one of the Videla regime’s numerous clandestine detention centers. During their imprisonment, they suffered violent interrogations, horrific sanitary conditions, lack of food, and separation from friends, family, and one another.”


This is certainly an unimaginable situation: our La Salettes found themselves in this Dirty War. They were very fortunate to able to flee this cruel and unjust persecution.

Read more: Argentina’s Dirty War

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