Longsuffering Angolans

Untitled-1Editor: This is a republication of an article originally written in 1991, but which explains well the continuing efforts and challenges of our La Salettes ministering in Angola. In May, 2013, the La Salettes in Angola finally became a Province, a separate but connected part of the La Salette Mission worldwide. Their country has survived the long war and is working toward true peace.

The La Salette mission in Angola was begun by two La Salette Missionaries from Switzerland in 1946. Today, half the La Salettes there are Swiss and half native Angolans.

A Portuguese Colony

Angola was already a region of Africa occupied by the Portuguese at the time these same discovered Brazil. From Angola, they sent many slaves to Brazil. After World War II, the majority of the African Countries gained there independence, but the Portuguese resisted this trend, keeping their colonies until 1975.

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La Salette Devotion in Paraguay

Pilgrims in Paraguay
make their way to
a local Marian Shrine
At the end of April, 2013, for the community of Brazilian immigrants living in Paraguay, it is time to pray and receive the blessings of Our Lady of La Salette. After a record harvest was experienced in the region, the people felt that the best thing to do was to thank Our Lady of La Salette, seen by Brazilians as the Patroness of Farmers.

This year the preparation of the Pilgrimage featured presentations by two La Salette Missionaries, Frs. Claudino Lise and Daniel Aguirre. They visited three parishes and over ten communities to celebrate the Eucharist, pray for the coordinators as well as the subscribers to the La Salette Magazine, Revista Salette.

The theme for this year's pilgrimage in connection with the Year of Faith and the parish theme was “Mary: Strength for the Faith of Family and Youth.”

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Marvellous Myanmar

Yangon (Rangoon)

Shwedagon Pagoda

Having celebrated with my fellow La Salettes for their our 75th anniversary of ministry in Myanmar, we also took some time to experience and learn more about this marvelous country.

Yangon, a former capital of Burma, is in the southern region of this vast country and, with a population of over four million, is the country’s largest city and an important commercial center. Remarkably it is an incredibly safe city but the entire city closes down by 9pm.

On the edge of Yangon we visited the Shwedagon Pagoda by night – spectacular. There is no more stunning monument to religion in Southeast Asia. The sheer size (326 feet high) and the mystical aura of this gilded masterpiece stands out among thousands of pagodas throughout the country. What a great introduction to the famous pagodas!

Myanmar – A World Apart

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Justice and Peace in Myanmar

 Fr. Thomas Htang
Shan Mong, M.S.
Editor: From the very beginning of our ministry as La Salettes in Burma, we have stood by the people in their quest for freedom and justice. Presently one of our Myanmar La Salettes, Fr. Thomas Mong, is the coordinator of the Justice and Peace Office of the Diocese of Yangon, Myanmar. We share his first newsletter with you in order to inform you about some of the challenges facing the Catholic Church in Myanmar, now that the government has somewhat loosened their grip on their people.

The Justice and Peace
Commission of the Diocese of Yangon

It is a Catholic Peace Network working to support the Church and the people of Myanmar in promoting peace and solidarity among and between various ethnics, faiths, cultures and environments in the country. Justice and Peace commission undertakes initiatives of capacity building skills to enable people in promoting peace and development in respective areas.

Mandate for the Justice and Peace Commission

The Commission assists the bishops, both collectively and individually, in advancing the social mission of the Church on national justice and peace through policy development, advocacy, education, outreach, and acts of solidarity. The Commission makes the recommendation to the bishops on State and Region public policy issues, especially integral human development, human rights, Catholic Social Teaching religious freedom, Justice and peace.

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La Salette Myanmar Celebrates

The Weeping Mother statue
in our Shrine in Chanthagone
is decorated for the anniversaries
As the news was spreading about the 75th anniversary celebration of the presence of La Salette in Burma in November of 2012, I was hoping to be part of this historical event as Mission Procurator of our Province – and so I was.

An International Gathering

Very Rev. Fr. Silvano Marisa, the General Superior and two of his councilors, Fr. Joseph Bachand and Fr. Efren Musnji represented the General Administration of the Missionaries of La Salette from Rome to take part in this solemn celebration. Frs. Jack Nuelle, Pete Kohler, Bill Slight and myself travelled to Myanmar from the United States. Frs. Rosanno Sorriano and Sal Pico came from the Philippines. Also there was a group of about 20 Filippino friends of Fr. Bernie Taylor, the first Burmese La Salette, that came to witness be part of this celebration.

Fr. Bernie Taylor’s 40th Anniversary

On November 8th, we gathered with more than 50 priests from the area-dioceses and hundreds of people in an open pavilion adjacent to the Marian Shrine of the Our Lady of the Rosary in Chanthagone, where the Burmese La Salettes started to minister in 2005. We celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Priesthood of Fr. Bernie Taylor (his Burmese name: U Mya Then). In his homily Fr. Bernie said that the essence of priesthood is to be of service to others. He continued,

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