Our Call to Live and Preach Peace and Justice

This is my personal testimony as an active La Salette Missionary and pastoral minister, working for Peace and Social Justice.

 

Struggling for Justice

Untitled-1Fr. Alfredo Vellarde, M.S., member of the La Salette International Peace and Justice Committee.

As I write this testimony, I remember many people who have been with me on this journey and have given me the privilege of sharing their stories, dreams, struggles and desires.

I thank those who, in particular, have experienced the painfulness of living with a broken heart because of the lack of justice in their lives and yet have had the courage to share their lives and stories with me and others. Over and above this, I am also grateful for their commitment in the struggle for truth and for a more just society.

I believe that it is in their tears and their faithful commitment to the search for justice that we find the hope that “another world is possible”. Also they help us to commit ourselves to the struggle for justice and the restoration of the relationship between God, the people of the Kingdom and the Earth.

Thinking of all these people and their precious gifts that I have received in my lifetime, I remember a poem by Pedro Casaldaliga:


At the end of the road I will be asked:
Have you lived? Have you loved?
And I, not saying anything,
will open my heart full of names.

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Bishop Celebrates 40th Portuguese Pilgrimage

Untitled-1Bp. Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., preaches homily to 1,400 faithful attending the 40th annual Portuguese Pilgrimage at La Salette Shrine in Attleboro on Sept. 29, 2014 (photo: Kenneth J. Souza, The Anchor).Attleboro, MA. — An estimated 1,400 pilgrims filled the outdoor chapel at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette in Attleboro on September 28 to celebrate not only the 40th anniversary of the shrine’s annual Portuguese Pilgrimage Day, but also to catch a glimpse of newly-installed Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., who officially became the eighth bishop of the Fall River Diocese just days earlier.

Born in Nova Fatima, Bahia, Brazil and fluent in several languages, Bishop da Cunha’s native vernacular is Portuguese, so it was appropriate that one of his first public appearances was a celebration among one of the most predominant ethnic groups in the diocese at its largest shrine.

 

Our Newly-Installed Bishop of Fall River

“We are so blessed to have Bishop da Cunha here just a few days after his installation,” Fr. Cyriac Mattathilanickal, M.S., director at La Salette Shrine, told The Anchor. “I was totally surprised when he responded to our invitation saying he would be happy to come and join our celebration. I thought he would want more time to settle in, but he was so gracious to accept the invitation and it means a lot to the Portuguese community because this is our 40th anniversary of having the pilgrimage here at the shrine and with the bishop coming, it makes for an extra special celebration.”

Read more: Bishop Celebrates 40th Portuguese Pilgrimage

Lebanon NH Parish Losing Its Priest

Lebanon — The Rev. William Kaliyadan, the Indian-born priest who has led Sacred Heart Parish for 11 years while reaching out to the broader Lebanon community, is being transferred to a larger parish on Cape Cod. When he leaves in January, he’ll especially miss how active and participatory worshippers have been during his tenure.

Untitled-1Christine Gillis (right), a licensed nursing assistant reacts to the news that the Rev. William Kaliyadan (middle) will transfer in January, 2015 (Valley News - James M. Patterson) After the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester appoints a new pastor, Kaliyadan hopes that laymen will take over his initiatives, such as Catholics Come Home, a national program to reconcile and bring back “un-churched” parishioners. “I empowered the laity to take leadership,” the 49-year-old Kaliyadan said.

It’s too early to say whether the priest’s replacement will work full-time at Sacred Heart, since the Diocese of Manchester only recently heard about Kaliyadan’s reassignment, spokesman Patrick McGee said in a telephone interview Thursday. But “we’re not anticipating any major changes,” McGee said.

When Kaliyadan moves to Brewster, Mass., he’ll also leave behind St. Helena Parish and the La Salette Shrine in Enfield. St. Helena serves about 275 families in the Enfield area, while the congregation at Sacred Heart numbers about 1,000.

Kaliyadan’s departure is part of a national redistribution of his order, the Missionaries of La Salette, toward the southern United States, stemming from an ever-present shortage of priests. The personnel problem has also led to the recently announced closure of the La Salette shrine in Enfield.

Read more: Lebanon NH Parish Losing Its Priest

Alive Day for Fr. Phil Salois, M.S.

Untitled-1Phil Salois in his early days in Vietnam. His spiritual impact in the lives of so many is palpable and lasting—and thank God for that.When I spoke with Father Philip Salois on February 28, I did not realize the very next day—March 1—would mark the 44th anniversary of the day he carried out a rescue under fire in South Vietnam.

“March 1 is my ‘Alive Day,’ ” Father Salois said. “That’s what the young vets call the day when you survive but it’s a close call. You celebrate your Alive Day more than your birthday.”

Philip Salois (widely known as “Father Phil”), VVA’s national chaplain and president of James M. Ray Memorial Chapter 818 in Rhode Island, is the 2014 recipient of the United Veterans Council of Woonsocket, Rhode Island’s Veteran of the Year Award. But that distinction is only one of many for a man whose combat experience fueled a remarkable life devoted to the pastoral care of people like himself: war veterans struggling with battered psyches and postwar lives.

Salois was twenty years old when he was drafted. “I was an 11 Bravo—a grunt—in short order.” He was soon humping the jungles of South Vietnam with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade.

A Day to Remember


Late in the day of February 28, 1970, Salois’s platoon came upon an NVA bunker complex. The platoon withdrew and set up a defensive perimeter. The next morning, March 1, an inexperienced young commander sent the troops back down the same road and straight into an ambush.

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La Salette Laity Movement in Brazil

Untitled-1
Three Leaders of Brazilian La Salette Laity,
attending the 2011 La Salette International
Lay Encounter in France

Several years ago, in November of 2008, the participants in the International Encounter of La Salette Missionaries in Brazil met at the La Salette Institute in Curitiba, Brazil. These included Brazilian La Salette Laity who explained and discussed their desired involvement in La Salette ministry in the spirit of Our Lady of La Salette.

 

Who are the La Salette Laity in Brazil?

Since 2003, according to their agreement with the members of the La Salette Province in Brazil, laity have developed their group of La Salette Laity, including their charter with the Province, and have published a booklet of principles of La Salette spirituality and a common La Salette hymn. A member of the La Salette Laity said: "We want to be a missionary movement involved in concrete action for solidarity, reconciliation and peace. And we desire to be an arm of (or connected to) the La Salette Province in Brazil.

"Our present ministry is most often related to the La Salette MIssionaries by sharing in giving Shrine or Parish Missions (retreats). The La Salette Laity have felt the need to organize themselves together and be, as Catholic laity, a vibrant part of the La Salette Family and their common mission of reconciliation.

Read more: La Salette Laity Movement in Brazil



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