Argentina Parish Life
|Fr. Jim Weeks, M.S.
Editor’s note: Father Jim Weeks, M.S., ministers in Las Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina. He wrote about his ministry there. With the addition of Brother Adrian, one of our Bolivian seminarians who recently took his perpetual vows, they now have four La Salettes on their pastoral team. The parishioners in the parish of St. Oliver’s in Snellville, GA., twin with their parish:
Our team consists of the following La Salettes: Padre Alfredo Velarde, a native of Argentina who is 57 years old; Padre Juan Miguel "Jack" Garvey, an American Missionary who is 85; myself another American and I am 77; and Bro. Adrian Fernandez Gallardo, just 40 years of age. Our parish ministry takes in a whole county and in some ways it’s like a whole diocese. There are two different realities to the parish: the city and the campo or countryside. In the campo we serve 127 chapels and 76 schools. In the city we have one main parish, which has 11 neighborhood chapels or faith communities attached.
Read more: Argentina Parish Life
Sharing the Gift of Song
|Fr. Pat singing in concert
Over my many years as a La Salette, I have been sharing my gift of song with many people all over the world. I recently had the opportunity to visit our La Salettes in India for three and a half weeks. My original purpose was to bring my songs and my ministry to India, primarily to places where our La Salettes minister but also in other places as well.
It’s interesting to note that “…Christianity was introduced to India by St. Thomas the Apostle , who visited Muziris in Kerala in 52 CE to spread the gospel among Kerala's Jewish settlements. Although the exact origins of Christianity in India remain unclear, it is generally agreed that Christianity in India is almost as old as Christianity itself and it spread in India even before it spread to many of the predominantly Christian nations of Europe.”
I began my visit in Parakadavu, Kerala in southern India, the most Catholic of states in India. Remarkably, Kerala is 60% Catholic versus the rest of the states in India which are just 3% Catholic. I offered an evening of song and prayer at
Read more: Sharing the Gift of Song
One Mind and One Heart
Our Provincial Superior, Fr. Joe Bachand, M.S. began his recent letter with: “‘This is a historic moment.’ …We were able to feel our interdependence as members of the same Congregation.” Fr. Joe realizes full well the import of the recent meeting of the three La Salette Councils of Brazil, North America and Argentina as they met in Curitiba, Brazil, on March 21-25, 2011.
As with any worldwide religious order, leaders of the order meet every year or so to catch up the “goings on” in various parts of the congregation. However, it was the first time for the three councils of the Americas (North and South) to meet and share what is happening in their Provinces and Region, to dream of new possibilities, and to assume some common commitments – that was an important step and a truly reconciliation moment!
Read more: One Mind and One Heart
Our Mission in Haiti
Frs. Evariste, Baris, Sr. Christine, a
Sister of Charity of Ottawa ,
Frs. Hervé and Gosselin
I went to Haiti accompanied by some of my parishioners for a week in February 2011. During our time there, we went to visit the new La Salette parish and mission in Bayonnais. This is a village about an hour north of Dessalines and east of Gonaïves. We took a shortcut around the mountains to get there. I have never seen such a terrible road. It's impossible to use this road during the rainy season because we have to cross two rivers that don't have bridges. At this time of year, the water is only about 12 inches deep so we are able to cross it.
Once there at St. Augustine & St. Monica's (that's the name of the new parish), we were welcomed warmly.
On Sunday, February 13th, the Bishop of Gonaïves celebrated Mass there, officially establishing the new parish, entrusting the pastoral care of the parish to the Missionaries of La Salette and installing Father Evariste Ralohotsy, M.S., as the first La Salette pastor. The new parish will be staffed with two La Salettes from Madagascar. The other La Salette priest is Father Hervé Rafalimanantsoa. The mission will be financially supported by the La Salettes of North America.
There is a large church in Bayonnais which was well built several years ago. There also existed a rectory building which unfortunately needed to be torn down because termites had eaten all the wood structural beams. We visited the new rectory which was under construction.
Read more: Our Mission in Haiti