Over the past several months since I was appointed Director of La Salette Laity for our Province, I have spent my first months meeting with all of the La Salette Laity and Associate groups and a good percentage of the leadership in our ministries. I am truly grateful for the positive response I have received. From this information our La Salette Laity and Ministry Committee has developed a plan of action for us to discuss and develop.
One of the basics in our approach is that one size does not fit all and so it is necessary to tailor each program to particulars needs and situations. At the same time we have also developed clear criteria for membership in the La Salette Laity Program in our Province. I have also talked to many people about the possible role that they can play in the growth and formation of individuals and groups in the program and have appreciated the willingness of over a dozen peo-le so far who ahve offered to help with training and various presentations.
To become a member of the La Salette Laity, a person is asked to make a commitment to three actions:
1. To reflect daily upon La Salette and our values in life using the new “31 Day Book” that we have developed;
2. Commit to learn more about La Salette through formation “sessions” based on the four La Salette topics: the message, La Salette history, spirituality and charism.
3. Commit to stewardship in your local ministry setting.
We hope to make this as inclusive a group as possible so that hundreds of individuals will choose to participate.
Formation on the four topics will be offered in a variety of ways so that each place of ministry can choose the methodology that works best for them. I hope to rely upon our newly-formed Speaker’s Bureau to make it possible for La Salette priests, brothers, sisters, Associates and trained La Salette Laity to present various aspects of La Salette formation.
I hope to spend these next few months promoting this program with laity in or near La Salette ministries by arranging for myself and other members of the Committee to visit many of our ministries. We will have materials ready for distribution after Easter and be contacting each La Salette ministry to arrange schedules and possible formation dates.
The membership of the La Salette Laity and Ministry Committee has been finalized. We have four La Salettes on the Committee and nine lay members representing various regions. We will be meeting as a whole group twice a year and will form regional task forces to work on issues as they arise.
About La Salette Associates
Concerning the place of La Salette Associates has risen in various conversations and I would like to clarify this matter. La Salette Associates are a local expression of La Salette Laity in certain settings. They will continue to be organized as they are but under the overall umbrella of La Salette Laity. Each group of Associates has its own unique character and expression of its bylaws and so will continue in this manner. The broader group of La Salette Laity will be developed as our primary focus but always including and respecting the role that our Associates play.
Beyond the development of La Salette Laity, we as a Province are committed by our Vision Statement and by our commitments to serve the church to foster and promote lay collaboration. The La Salette Laity and Ministry Committee (as well as the Provincial Council) will work to ensure that all of our activities as a Province, region and pastoral setting will incorporate lay participation as a valued aspect of who we are.
It is important to noite that lay people are not those whom we serve; they are not only our helpers and volunteers; they are also our partners in ministry by virtue of their Baptism. This should always be reflected in our Church and in the life and ministry of our La Salette congregation. I hope that together we can make the message known and promote reconciliation together for many years to come.