La Salette America

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The rubble of a church remains
Fr. Bernie Baris, M.S., received this email on January 12, 2011, the anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, from Father Tom Moore who works in Port-au-Prince. Fr. Tom also preached the Lenten Retreat at Fr. Bernie’s Parish of Our Lady of the Cape in Brewster, MA, last year. Fr. Bernie will be going to Haiti in February.
 

Hi, Everyone,

I just returned from an open air Mass on the grounds around the ruins of the former Cathedral. It was very moving with thousands and thousands of folks, hundreds of priest concelebrants and lots of bishops from here and from other countries. A Cardinal from Rome representing the Pope presided and gave a very powerful homily.

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Map at beginning of Trail

Across Massachusetts religious groups are permanently saving natural lands in their ownership with the assistance of conservation   groups. Mass Audubon's Attleboro Springs Wildlife Sanctuary at La Salette is one of the success stories in the progressive statewide initiative. This exquisite and ecologically diverse new sanctuary in the city of Attleboro will formally open this fall.

Protecting their land was a perfect fit for the priests at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette. “Our community began on top of an alpine mountains in the French Alps,” says Father Ron Gagné, MS, “so you can see why we have consistently established our ministry close to nature. We have founded parishes and shrines where people can pray, reflect, and find reconciliation with themselves, with each other, and with God.” The La Salette order's mission of reconciliation now extends to reuniting humanity with nature.

“Stewardship of all life encompasses people, animals, and the earth,” says Father Gagné. “Embracing this world view, we want to draw people to the beauty of our own

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Pope Benedict XVI
 welcomes some children

As Director of Communications for the North American Province of the La Salette Missionaries, I am constantly amazed at the speed and growth of technology. When I volunteered about five years ago to be involved in communications, I was initially a bit overwhelmed – a feeling common for many baby boomers. Technology is progressing by leaps and bounds and the speed of needed change seems to be increasing, even in the area of announcing the gospel message.

The Pope, the Gospel and New Technologies

Notably the Vatican has gotten on the bandwagon of technology communication, launching a YouTube channel with videos featuring Pope Benedict, releasing Facebook and iPhone apps to spread the Church’s message. Recently the Pope spoke specifically to priests, encouraging them to use the modern means of communication to share Christ’s message:

“The spread of multimedia communications and its rich ‘menu of options’ might make us think it sufficient simply to be present on the Web, or to see it only as a space to be filled. Yet priests can rightly be expected to be present in the world of digital communications as faithful witnesses to the Gospel, exercising their proper role as leaders of communities which increasingly express themselves with the different ‘voices’ provided by the digital marketplace. Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites) which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis.”

Untitled-1.jpgATTLEBORO – It's as much a Thanksgiving tradition as turkey and football games and once again thousands turned out Thursday night for the illumination of the lights at La Salette Shrine. The 57th annual Festival of Lights runs through Jan. 2 on the spreading shrine site off Park Street (Route 118), but for many, the opening night is the opportune time to take the 450,000 lights and holiday spirit in.

More than 250,000 visitors are again expected from all over for what is billed as one of the largest holiday light displays on the East Coast.

About our La Salette parish: Bayonnais, Haiti, is about 20 miles East of the city of Gonaives in the state of Artibonite, Haiti's third most populous city, Gonaives (124 miles north of Port-au-Prince). The Bayonnais Valley in Haiti is a remote mountain valley in the North of Haiti with little to no infrastructure or access to services of any kind. For nearly two centuries, subsistence farming has characterized the livelihood of 80,000 people in rural Bayonnais, Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere. This is not uncommon. Following colonial independence in 1804, former slaves exercised newfound freedom by cultivating their own land in the countryside.

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 Fr Evariste
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 Fr Herve

I had thought of entitling this article, “How I spent my Thanksgiving Vacation,” except it really wasn’t a vacation. And I feared losing those readers who could care less about my personal time. So, “The Last Time I Visited Haiti,” will have to do. Although this is longer than my average letter, I am hoping you’ll be interested enough to read something of the country and situation in which our missionaries are working.
 
Fr. Jeannot, the Provincial of Madagascar, had to be in the States for a meeting of the General Council, and so he and I decided a joint visit to Haiti would be in order. After all, we are partners in this mission endeavor where there are now two Malagasy La Salettes with a parish entrusted to their care – about which I’ll write more later. We decided to brave threat of earthquake, cyclone and cholera – all of which have struck Haiti in the past year – to encourage our brothers missioned there. Moreover, I wanted to understand what they have to deal with so that I can communicate it to you, as well as to those benefactors who support our mission endeavors.
 

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La Salette Missionaries, Province of Mary, Mother of the Americas

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.”