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.
With 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.
The Growth of Her Mission Over Time
With the passage of time, her message and mission were taken to heart by thousands of people including those called to become Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette. Yet even with their official approbation, the important place of the laity in living out and sharing her message of reconciliation has remained strong.
The La Salette Invocation, “Our Lady of La Salette, Reconciler of Sinners, pray without ceasing for us who have recourse to you” – which perhaps originated with Fr. Perrin, the pastor of La Salette, who established the Confraternity of Our Lady Reconciler of La Salette” soon after the apparition – has remained a central part of La Salette devotion and a consistent theme for La Salette ministry.
La Salette Laity Take Part in Her Mission
As the ministries and outreach of the La Salette Missionaries spread around the world, Mary’s mandate remained tied to all her people. To this very day, laity have been attracted to her message and mission. With profound dedication, they unhesitatingly support the life and ministry of the La Salette Missionaries in various ways with their many gifts.
In addition the La Salette Missionaries wholeheartedly welcome La Salette Laity as collaborators, truly responsible and gifted co-missionaries. La Salette Laity worldwide join with the La Salette Missionaries in embodying and living out the charism of reconciliation in their daily lives.
Their common vision is rooted in Baptism and mandated in Mary’s final words. Therefore contemporary La Salette Missionaries welcome La Salette Laity as central and crucially important in continuing to carrying out Mary’s worldwide mission.
All La Salettes are encouraged by the words of Pope John Paul II who affirmed: “La Salette is a message of Hope, for our hope is nourished by the intercession of her Who is the Mother of (humankind)… May the proclamation of this hope always be at the heart of your encounter with men and women of today.”