MIGRATION, REFUGEES AND THE DISPLACEMENT OF PEOPLES
February, 2015 – Migration, Refugees and the Displacement of Peoples
As people connected in some way to the event of La Salette and our Weeping Mother, we know well from her example at La Salette that we are called as reconcilers to respond compassionately to the needy as she did with the two children, Maximin and Melanie. The following are prayerful reflections titled, La Salette 2015 – Justice, Peace, Reconciliation: Let Us Respond to the Cry of the Poor.
They are offered in seven languages so that all La Salette Missionaries, and those laity connected with us, can celebrate the wisdom and challenge of our Catholic Social Teaching during this year. These materials can be used – as a whole or in part – for personal prayer or in our ministries or communities to begin meetings, prayer groups, or in gatherings for religious education.
2) Faith Sharing:
Scripture: Matthew 2:13-14 (the flight into Egypt)
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La Salette Laity within the La Salette Family
Editor: This presentation was given by Fr. Marcel Schlewer,M.S., at a meeting of La Salette Laity in Sete, France, from Oct. 10-12, 2014. The text follows, edited for length.
Fr. Marcel Schlewer, M.S., author, retreat director, parish priest, has ministered for many years on the Holy MountainIn 2013 we La Salette Laity were invited to the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes for a meeting of spiritual families of laity who were associated with religious congregations of men and women; 160 congregations were represented.
In 2007, the lay members of these spiritual families numbered about 40,000 people. In 2013, they increased to about 50,000. This now exceeds the number of religious present in our country: some 35,000. So, in appreciating these numbers we can perhaps begin to realize the significance of these spiritual families and their important place in the future of our Church.
Our Foundation as La Salette Laity
What is this spiritual family which we claim to have with one another as La Salette Laity? The origin of our family is, of course, based on the event of September 19, 1846, the apparition of Mary to the two shepherds on the mountain of La Salette.
Read more: La Salette Laity within the La Salette Family
La Salettes Ministering With La Salette Laity
The people of God, as we have learned from the documents of Vatican II, are no longer considered the lower tier of the Church but rather part of the community of believers, the people of God. We are united in the universal call to holiness and are equal and integral parts of the Catholic Church.
La Salette Laity in Oct. of
2007 in Attleboro, MAWith the people of God, as St. Paul reminds us, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to all the members of the Church. Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga of Tunja, Colombia, called for “a pastoral vision in which the laity, in the light of the Spirit, will be truly protagonists of the church’s pastoral mission, and not merely faithful executioners of it.” In addition the U.S. Bishops have also acknowledged and reflected upon the ways laity were answering the Lord's call and employing their gifts to take an active and responsible part in the mission of the Church.
Our Lady of La Salette and Her People
Our Lady of La Salette, in her compassionate manner and concerns, spoke to Maximin and Melanie – and the entire Church – to “make my message known.” Clearly the fact that she first gave this mission to these two children, not to the local clergy of the area, shows her ultimate respect for the proper place of laity within the mission of the Church of her Son.
Her message of reconciliation was therefore entrusted to these two children with the ultimate confidence that they could complete their mission. Her words and actions were profound testimonies to her trust in the power and centrality of the Sacrament of Baptism in the life of her people.
Read more: La Salettes Ministering With La Salette Laity
La Salette Charism and Today’s Laity
La Salette Challenges Us…
|Our Lady of the Missions
From her solitary mountaintop the Mother of Christ summons the whole church in the person of two young unsuspecting, unchurched and unschooled representatives. Her conversation there with fourteen-year-old Mélanie Calvat and eleven-year-old Maximin Giraud is a teaching moment for all the Lord’s faithful.
It offers an in-depth critique of our way of looking at our world. It challenges us to give up the comfortable security of the noncommittal observer and would break our habit of going with the ebb and flow of a runaway history. Maximin and Mélanie were invited to look at their world, at the reality around them: drought, famine, rotten potatoes, worm-eaten grapes and walnuts, blighted Crops — and the resultant death of little children, disdain for God, religious indifference.
Facing an insecure future, many inhabitants of those mountains blamed God. Their vision of God was a vengeful God, not a God of love. Mary invites the young herders to purify their notion of God by taking another look at the events in their world. “Don't you understand, my children? Let me find another way to say it. . . . Have you never seen blighted wheat? Do you say your prayers well? If the harvest is ruined, it is only on account of yourselves.”
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Reflections on La Salette Laity
Editor: These are reflections by two La Salette Missionaries during the celebrations in 1992 for the 150th anniversary of the La Salette Apparition that are as current as yesterday.
|Fr. Gilles Ginest, M.S.
Fr. Gilles Genest shared:
As we gathered to discuss the topic, Laity and Religious in the La Salette World, it became clearer and clearer to me that this collaborative relationship was no longer simply optional. Our review of the Church documents since Vatican II as well as our study of our La Salette Rule left no doubt in my mind where our future direction lies. It was especially encouraging to learn that the call of laity to share our La Salette charism had already been heard.
Throughout the Congregation, there are many experiences of authentic journeying with our brothers and sisters of the laity, in particular with the La Salette Associates from Enfield, NH. They came to share what they wanted and needed from us. They stated boldly and clearly that they also have a vocation to respond to Mary's invitation: "Make it known to all my people!" They want to – and actually do – share in our La Salette spirituality and charism as reconcilers.
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Advice to Laity
From Sharon Markowitz:
|Sharon Markowicz (center) with
Fr. Ernie Corriveau, M.S. (left) and
Fr. Jack Nuelle, M.S.
Drawing on my experience as an Enfield, NH, La Salette Associate, my advice to lay people interested in associating with the La Salettes in a covenant community:
- be honest and share your feelings;
- be persistent in your desire to respond to your calling;
- be patient with the religious because this is a new situation for La Salette religious and often new things take time to get used to. And lastly,
- do not expect all the La Salettes to be interested in the lay program or to want to participate in it. Draw strength and support from those who are interested.
To the La Salette religious who are interested in beginning a Lay Missionary program, they should appreciate that:
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Laity’s Mission As Reconcilers
It is quite clear to La Salette Missionaries that they are called by the Church to be reconcilers of sinners. In this context, to reconcile means to engage actively in the pursuit of those spiritually far-away souls who have abandoned their faith and decided to go it alone, or of any Christian whose sole claim to Christian fame is the name.
Who are Called to be Reconcilers?
It would seem to me that this particular facet of reconciliation has been overemphasized… In point of fact, any priest, whether religious or diocesan, is by the very nature of his baptism and his priesthood, a reconciler. But even further, as Vatican II has reminded us so powerfully, all Christians not only have a right, but also a sacred duty to be reconcilers among their fellow human beings. The conversion of sinners is a universal apostolate, a common concern, proper to every member of Christendom, of whatever persuasion.
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What is a La Salette Associate?
We would like to introduce you to the La Salette Associates – who we are and what we do. We are a group of lay people who choose to bond ourselves closely with the spirituality, charism, ministry and community of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette in a setting of mutuality.
Mutuality recognizes that both professed Missionaries and Associates, although they have distinct and different rights and responsibilities within the La Salette Community, contribute to the La Salette mission in the world today. Each does this according to the particular gifts and talents received by God. Mutuality implies the enrichment in ongoing relationships with one another on a personal and a community level.
Associates feel a call in response to the message of reconciliation that Mary proclaimed in her merciful apparition of 1846 in France and are inspired by her words. Through prayer, fraternal love, support, and encouragement, we dedicated ourselves to the service of God’s people, to spreading the message of La Salette, and joining in the ministry of reconciliation with the La Salette Missionaries. This calling inspires us to learn more about what Mary’s words mean to us today and how we can get the message across to others as Mary has called us to do.
We are all different, in our backgrounds, family lives, style of prayer, and depth of faith, but those differences allow us to express this calling in a variety of ways. We come together for prayer, faith sharing and to give each other the support and encouragement we need to carry out our mission.
Read more: What is a La Salette Associate?
Importance of La Salette Laity
As a boy growing up in the 1940s and 1950s, I felt that, through my experience of the Catholic faith, worship and education, I was a very small part of a worldwide family of believers. That certainly remains true to this day. However certain things within my faith began changing.
With the onset of changes in the Mass from Vatican II and its use of “Holy Spirit” in liturgical prayers, I learned as a college student that “Spirit” was a better translation from the Greek word, pneuma, based on the Hebrew, ruach, meaning the movement of air. Wow! This certainly was better than comparing the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity to the cartoon character, Casper, the friendly ghost. From this I learned that change can be beneficial and even revelatory.
Three Radical Statements from Vatican II
In my seminary years I was inspired by the new liturgy, its intelligibility and its wonderful music. I learned about the significant importance of Vatican II’s document, Gaudium et Spes (The Constitution of the Church in the Modern World), promulgated in 1963. In this revolutionary document the Catholic Church effectively declared itself as a Church for the world of the 20th century. In the first paragraph of this document, it states that:
|“The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the (people) of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ” (preface, #1).
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