Lay Catechists or Deacons for Madagascar

If, as the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention (and innovation),” we can understand why the first missionaries in Africa and Madagascar instituted a new ministry for laypeople, a ministry that still exists today, called “the Lay Catechist”.

 

A Much-Needed Ministry

 

The need for it is clear. As one priest was covering vast areas with sometimes hundreds of dispersed rural villages it was impossible for the one priest to assure the pastoral care of fifty of sixty communities, considering roads were non-existent and rivers did not have bridges.
Untitled-1Catechists in Madagascar: (lleft) School for Catechists in 1940; (right) Fr. Jeremy Morais, M.S., with his Catechists in Ankavandra
The catechist is actually a church leader and shepherd, although not an ordained minister. Therefore he is serving the community from the basic nature and normal demands of baptism. He was given a very vital serious responsibility in the Catholic community as a co-worker and ambassador of the priest. Not only does he preside and animate the Sunday Liturgy of the Word and homily when a priest is not able to be present, but he prepares the faithful for the reception of various sacraments. Baptisms, Eucharist, Confirmation, Marriage preparation are his responsibility.

The missionary on his visits meets with the various candidates and decides when the sacraments will be administered, confidant that the Catechist will continue to assure the preparation. Except for urgent baptisms, all sacraments will be celebrated by the priest on his visits to the Christian community. This will vary greatly depending on road conditions and the importance of the community.

Read more: Lay Catechists or Deacons for Madagascar

A Growing La Salette Digital Community

About nine years ago, I was invited to serve as the Director of Communications for our Province of Mary, Mother of the Americas. From our beginnings we have grown a great deal.

digital-worldWe began with a very simple website (www.lasalette.org) and welcomed about 18,000 visitors a year to our site. In 2014 we welcomed about 300,00 visitors. And finally in 2015 we have grown to welcome about 550,000 visitors to our site!

We offer countless thousands of pictures to view of our alumni, our history and our various La Salette ministries around the world, past and present. In addition we have an archive of over 1,300 articles on the La Salette Apparition, the ministry of reconciliation and our Marian spirituality. Some articles have been visited over 83,000 times!

Since we as La Salettes have hosted about thirteen seminaries in various parts of the country over our nearly 115 years of ministry in North America, we have lots of alumni, whom we invite to look over their school pictures and yearbooks online and get in touch with wonderful memories. Our website visitors include people from as close as New England to as far away as India, Russia and China, Alaska and Australia.

Read more: A Growing La Salette Digital Community

The La Salette Charlet Family Chapel

When one travels from Grenoble to La Salette, passing the town of La Mure and past the dizzying banks of Pont-Haut (High Bridge), one quickly arrives at the quiet little hamlet of Charlet.
Untitled-1(from left) Charlet Family crest; Charlet Family Chapel on road to La Salette in France.
In the early nineteenth century a local family founded this hamlet on a site which rich in water and a wooden construction built for a master baker and carpenter. This hamlet is part of the nearby municipality of Saint-Laurent in Beaumont. The local Fuzat household, the founders, had four children, with three boys, two of which went to war in 1870.

The third boy became a priest, and was pastor of Viriville at the foot of the Chambaran plateau in the region of Isère. That priest made a vow to build a chapel at Charlet on the pilgrimage route to the Holy Mountain of La Salette if his brothers returned safely from the war. That they did.

This chapel was therefore dedicated to Our Lady of La Salette. The façade of the chapel was crowned with the Conversation Scene of the Beautiful Lady of La Salette in conversation with the two little shepherds and can be seen from miles away.

Read more: The La Salette Charlet Family Chapel

Young La Salettes on the Holy Mountain

Editor: This is a letter from several young La Salette Missionaries explaining their special program given to them in September of 2015 on the Holy Mountain.

Greetings from the Holy Mountain of La Salette!

Untitled-1The La Salette Junior Religious
Group of September, 2015
The special program for the JRMS (Junior/Young La Salette Religious) 2015 began on September 5, 2015. We were sixteen young La Salette priests (14) and brothers (2) coming from the different parts of the globe participating in this program.

Within these two weeks, we have reflected, shared and deepened our La Salette spirituality, charism and ministry. We were very excited and inspired to explore our roots and to reflect on how our Weeping Mother has truly inspired us here and continues to do so daily.

The sharing, witnessing and reflections of the other La Salette members surely have helped us all to be more encouraged to live out and be witnesses to the La Salette message. All our learning sessions, group reflections and group sharing have inspired us to be instruments of this Reconciliation in our own Provinces, Regions and Districts.

We are all hopeful that this will continue to unite us as brothers and as members of one international religious family. The topics we discussed included: our Religious Congregation, our Ministry and Charism, our Community Life, the La Salette Rule as well as the qualities mercy and conversion as seen in the La Salette Event.

Read more: Young La Salettes on the Holy Mountain

Beginning in La Banda, Argentina

Untitled-1Present-day Church in La Banda: façade (left) and
La Salette Shrine in their Church sanctuary (right)
Editor: In the Winter 1975-76 Mission Newsletter, Fr. Jack Toner, M.S., Procurator for our La Salette Missions, reported on the beginning of our ministry in La Banda, Argentina – now celebrating its 40th anniversary as a La Salette Mission. We share with you the excitement and challenge of his report, including the comments of Fr. Roland Nadeau. M.S., ministering in Argentina at that time.


Providentially, increasing numbers of missionaries to Argentina in recent years have enabled us to meet the responsibilities already accepted, and so it was decided at a meeting of the missionary personnel in Argentina, earlier in the current year, that our efforts be expanded, and specifically in an area that would be very poor, disorganized, and largely or completely lacking in priests.

Read more: Beginning in La Banda, Argentina



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