Editor: In their meeting in April of 2015, the rectors of all the La Salette Shrines throughout the world met on the Holy Mountain of La Salette for the very first time. At the conclusion of their meeting, they summarized their feelings and hopes, explaining what their ministry asks of La Salettes and what it offers to the countless pilgrims who frequent our many Shrines worldwide.
170th Anniversary of the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette
In the Year of Consecrated Life, we Rectors of the thirteen La Salette Shrines – France, Spain, Poland, Ukraine, Madagascar, Brazil, United States and the Philippines – were gathered at the Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette in France. We share with you, through this letter, our experiences here lived, affirming the importance of the ministry we offer in our Shrines. This letter also demonstrates our wishes in view of the celebration of 170th Anniversary of the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette.
Responding to the call of Mary in La Salette, we reaffirm, as La Salette Missionaries, the ministry held in our Shrines as important and central for our Congregation and for our charism, identity and mission.
We reaffirm the centrality of Shrines in the new evangelization of God's people and see a deepening of the biblical and theological significance of Shrines in response to the growth of popular devotions and as a place where people seek to deepen their faith.
On the other hand, we try to offer at our Shrines the gifts of peace and hope desired by our pilgrims, offering them the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist, the experience of support groups for people in difficult situations, as well as Spiritual Direction, Pastoral Counseling and various kinds of retreats.
Centers of Justice and Peace
We seek to make room in our ministry to those who are on “the periphery”, welcoming everyone. We also recognize that our Shrines are "havens of hope" for the poor who benefit from our charitable activities.
We recognize and reinforce the call of Our Lady to witness justice, peace and reconciliation in our Shrines. We commit to promote respect and care for the environment and to imbue our relationship with our employees and volunteers with the principles of social justice, thereby giving evidence of the message we preach.
Centers of Reconciliation
We are called to bear witness to our religious consecration with human effort and passion. Recognizing Christ as our source of hope, we live our charism with joy, to attract with our practice, others to Christ and the Church.
Our shrines are sources of new vocations for the faithful living the values of the Gospel and the ministry that there offering to young people. That's why we are committed to promoting vocations to the religious life and the priesthood in our sanctuaries.
Centers of Christ-Centered Ministry
We also reaffirm the Christocentric dimension of ministry in our sanctuaries. Here the Word of God is "studied, meditated, preached, lived and witnessed". Our Shrines will always show a "Marian style" in the work we do, when minister to everyone with tenderness, compassion and a sense of justice.
With this challenge, we work together with the Christian community and we count on the collaboration of the La Salette Laity who are attracted to our charism and who share our spirituality and ministry.
We want to be always open to “pastoral conversion” that can make our sanctuaries become "field hospitals", where the wounded can be welcomed, heard, understood, evangelized, converted, renewed and in turn be 'sent' as messengers of hope, justice, peace and reconciliation.
Islands of Mercy and Reconciliation
We recognize that in our Shrine ministry, supported and inspired by our La Salette charism, we are often "caregivers" for people and their faith. We offer our Shrines are “islands of mercy and reconciliation” to the Church at large.
We depend on each of our provincial governments to support us in this renewed understanding and to continue to help us enhance our Shrine ministries. Together we can respond to the invitation of Mary entrusted to us at La Salette.
May Mary’s example of mercy – She, our Star of Evangelization and Mother of Reconciliation – continue to guide us that we remain always remain faithful to her call to follow her Beloved Son.
Jean Pierre Rakotonirina – Madagascar
Manuel dos Reis Bonfim – La Salette-France
Amateur Marugan – Spain-Italy
Pawel Raczynski – Polska
Marcos Almeida – Brazil
Marcos Reis – Brazil
Louis Pontbriand – France
Jan Ożóg – Ukraina- Polska
Ronaldo Guzman – Philippines
Henryk Kuman – Polska
Stanislaw Kowalski – Polska
Daniel Aguirre – Brazil
Cyriac Mattathilanickal – North America