Airport Ministry Helps Visitor’s Faith

Untitled-1Fr. Robert Susann, M.S., longtime Airport Chaplain at Orlando International AirportIn the midst of the fast-paced Orlando International Airport, La Salette Father Robert Susann, provides a moment of peace and blesses a family from Puerto Rico before their departure. In the bustling airport he has only a short time with the travelers he meets each day, but as the only airport chaplain for the past 11 years, Father Susann knows the value of a moment.


"Airport ministry is a ministry of presence," he explained. "I bring Christ to the people whether its five minutes, 10 minutes, or just 15 seconds. People see the collar and know that Christ is with them."


Part of the tourism ministry of the diocese and supported by Our Catholic Appeal, the airport ministry brings the good news of Jesus Christ to Central Florida's visitors.


Walking through the terminals that see 38 million people each year, Father Susann shares Christ's peace with people of all faiths traveling for a variety of reasons and with wide-ranging emotions. In addition to celebrating two Sunday Masses in the airport chapel, he daily offers prayers, blessings, the Sacrament of Penance, a i mile and calming words.


"Christ welcomed everyone. It's an important ministry for the Church because the Church goes where the people are," he said. "The Church is made to bring Christ."


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Attleboro Shrine – an Island of Mercy

Untitled-1Pope Francis, in his Message for Lent 2015, pleads: “Dear brothers and sisters, how greatly I desire that all those places where the Church is present, especially our parishes and our communities, may become islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference!”


I live at the La Salette Shrine in Attleboro, MA. As I was sitting at the supper table recently, it occurred to me that I can testify to the fact that our Shrine and the hundreds of La Salette Missionary priests, brother and sisters who have served here – over the past 62 years and counting – have been a true “island of mercy”. We are living examples of the hope which Pope Francis expresses so well.


Our Charism of Reconciliation


Our charism (or gift) as consecrated La Salette religious is reconciliation which includes the reconciliation of sinners. One important aspect of this charism is, for the priests of our community, to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation – or as my mother would describe it, “Going to Confession.”


From the very inception of our Shrine in 1953, we have offered sometimes extensive hours of availability for celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Our old-time members mention that they remember confessions being available from 8am to 6pm, five days a week. Others remember their three-hour sessions each day. Someone described our ministry as “celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation with everybody else’s parishioners”; that is, the Church at large in our area and beyond.

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Ministry of Religious in Orlando

Untitled-1Sr. of Mercy, Assumpta Finn, teaches students at Holy Name of Jesus School in Indialantic about space program, 1966. The Sisters of Mercy, from Ireland, have been serving in Florida since the late 1800s.More than a century ago, when Central Florida was part of the Diocese of St. Augustine, several communities of religious sisters, priests and brothers arrived in Central Florida from other parts of the country and the world to minister to and serve the growing number of Catholics in the area and to bring those who had yet to find faith, closer to God.


In the years that followed, these men and women not only played an instrumental role in the establishment of many of our parishes and schools, but also in the faith formation of thousands of adults and children. Today, the Diocese of Orlando is blessed to have nearly 50 communities of religious priests, brothers and sisters, who continue to share their love of Christ and give witness to him through their daily lives.


In celebration of the Year for Consecrated Life, we present a three part series to highlight some religious communities and the impact they have made on our past and are making on our present and future. In this first installment, you will read about why the Diocese is grateful for the past contributions of the religious communities who helped establish our diocese with their mission of teaching and establishing parishes.

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Fr. Ippolito Assists Immigrants Locally

Sanford, NC — While the immigration debate faces gridlock on Capitol Hill, some in Sanford are focusing on offering guidance and support for undocumented immigrants in Lee County.
Earlier this month, N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory estimated the number of unaccompanied, undocumented children in North Carolina at 1,200.

Untitled-1l to r: Fr. Robert Ippolito, M.S., Pastor; St. Stephen’s Church, Sanford, NC; Fr. Hector Lachapelle, M.S., Parochial Vicar"We do have some, certainly, in Lee County," said the Rev. Robert Ippolito of St. Stephen Catholic Church, who is a Board of Immigration Appeals accredited representative. "I'm working on about five or six cases of one sort or another [involving unaccompanied immigrant children]."

Ippolito said unaccompanied often is a misnomer, and that any children who come to the border by themselves are considered unaccompanied even if they are coming to meet a parent or sibling. He said most children come from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

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Making La Salette Known in Argentina

Untitled-1Fr. Phil Negley, M.S. Provincial Superior, Province of Mary, Mother of the AmericasSince my return from the visitation to the La Salette Missionaries in the Region of Mary, Queen of Apostles... I feel enriched with plentiful memories and rewarding anecdotes from this gifted opportunity to visit our confreres in Argentina…

The modes of travel added a new experience to my unintentional “bucket list”: two nighttime bus rides, one of ten hours and one of five and a half hours, beginning at midnight. The distance between the communities and apostolates are quite extensive and the best means of travel are often the late night bus rides, which prove to be a near “first class” adventure. Sleep came easily while traveling in the wee hours of the night, even with the benefit of afternoon siestas, a prerequisite of life in Argentina.

Las Termas de Rio Hondo

The parish centers of the Region may be just names on the pages of the Province Directory but each has a unique quality and history. Our parish in Las Termas is a beehive of pastoral ministry, catechesis, small base communities and a growing Catholic school apostolate, Primary and Secondary. The parish, named in honor of Our Lady of La Salette, extends throughout the campo into more than forty small capillas, or mission chapels, each with its own pastoral leadership team. Las Termas boasts of a faithful group of active laity known as the “La Salette Family.” This apostolate is served by Alfredo Velarde (Regional Vicar) and Fernando Altamiranda (Regional Councilor).

Read more: Making La Salette Known in Argentina

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