Meet A La Salette
Editor: Bishop Pean was invited to the Attleboro Shrine to participate in the La Salette Triduum Celebration. He presided and preached at a special Pilgrimage Mass for Haitian people on Sept. 16, 2012. He is Bishop in the Diocese of Gonaīves, where two La Salette priests from Madagascar now serve his people. 

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in northern Haiti in Pilate, in Cap Haitian. We are three boys and one girl in our family and I’m the second oldest. My father, Dacius, worked in commerce (buying and selling); my mother, Carmelie Sylne was an industrious worker and dedicated full-time mother in the home.

How did you discover your vocation?

Bp. Pean with a Haitian deacon and ministers
including two La Salette Missionaries, at the
La Salette National Shrine, Attleboro
Since my youth, I was very conscious of my vocation to the priesthood due to my family environment of faith, prayer, and love. Even my extended family was very supportive of my vocation. When I went to secondary school from the age of 14, I was gradually becoming more conscious of being called by God to something special. After studying Philosophy, I realized more strongly that time was drawing closer for me to choose a vocation, perhaps the priesthood.
After I finished my secondary education, I chose to enter the Novitiate of the Holy Cross Congregation in my home town of Cap Haitian. There I continued my studies in Philosophy and Theology followed by one year of pastoral work. In addition I also was involved in special studies in anthropology and ethnology at the State University in Haiti. I soon received my license in Anthropology and my bachelor’s degree in Theology. 

Ordination and Onwards

I was ordained on Oct. 16, 1983, in Cap Haitian in our Cathedral Church. A short time later I was given my first assignment in my first choice, parish ministry. However, to my surprise, I was assigned as the pastor at twenty-nine years of age! 
After six years in the parish, I soon became Master of Novices for my community for one year. As was expected, I then went to Rome for further studies in Spiritual Theology at the Gregorian University. I received my license and then my doctorate in that same discipline by the time I was 38 years old.
Each year Fr. Bernie Baris, M.S., pastor of
Our Lady of the Cape Parish in Brewster, MA,
brings some of his parishioners to visit the
Haitian mission with which they are twinned.
Here they meet Bp. Pean.
Then I was asked to become the Rector of the Scholasticate in Port-Au-Prince and, at the same time, functioned as a teacher of theology in the Major Seminary while also preaching retreats all over the country and supporting the Family Apostolate.
Eventually I was appointed Pastor of a parish a little distant from the seminary and then dutifully called by our Haitian Bishops to become the Rector of the Major Seminary in Port-Au-Prince in charge of the section of Philosophy and teaching also in the Theology Department as well as teaching theology at Notre Dame University in Port-Au-Prince. 
One day, after five years of being Rector, the Papal Nuncio called me suddenly to come to his office. When I arrived, he ushered me into his small chapel and asked me to kneel with him in prayer for a brief time. Then he gave me the letter from Rome which explained that I had been chosen by Pope John Paul II to become the next bishop of Gonaīves, first as coadjutor bishop for one year. He gave me some time to reflect and pray and I eventually accepted their decision.

Consecration as Bishop

Bp. Pean stands with Fr.
Evariste Ralohotsy, M.S.,
presently pastor ministering
in Bayonnais, Haiti, in Bp.
Pean’s diocese
After a time of preparation, I was consecrated on Oct. 13, 2002 at our Cathedral in Gonaīves. It was a very well prepared Liturgy and it was an important celebration for my own diocese and truly for our entire country. Thousands of people attended the celebration. However afterwards I felt the heavy responsibility and the many challenges of this new ministry. 
I’m fully engaged in my ministry as a bishop while still retaining my identity as a member of the congregation of the Holy Cross and do keep my fraternal links with the members of my community.

Can you describe your diocese and your Catholic people?

Our church is very alive with good liturgy. My people have great faith and vibrant hope in the providence in God. All this is so important at this time since our people have experienced so many recent trials, including social and political crises, hurricanes, inundations, floods and seismic activity (earthquakes). It is very challenging to serve my people in such a challenging time but they have so much confidence in God. Above all, they are a wonderfully courageous and resilient people. 
It is odd that when others come to help our people and become overwhelmed by our situation, it is our own people who often give encouragement to those who have come to help us! All this is for me a manifestation of God’s blessings and compassion in the midst of our trials and sufferings. With God we are never alone; our people know and believe this strongly. They pray a lot and have great confidence in God and in the Virgin Mary and express this through praying the rosary and their devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, our country’s Patroness.

What vision do you have for your own ministry as bishop in your diocese?

School children in their new chapel, financed
by Our Lady of the Cape Parish in Brewster, MA.
All in all, my ministry as bishop means continuing to accompany the people of God in faith, to be more close to them, to strengthen and help them realize – perhaps through my presence and my efforts – that they are not alone. On the one hand, I am very concerned with the education of youth because education is a key factor in sustainable development and naturally I’m also concerned with the work of a deep evangelization of my people. On the other hand, I also feel that I am called to be the expression of the compassion of God — God’s hope and mercy. I wish to share all this with the lonely, the youth, and the poor. I believe that our country can experience a new spring, a new civilization of love, but only with God’s continuing help.
For the entire Catholic Church, we must fight for our faith and our values, bringing the forces of good to confront evil wherever we find it. The heritage of the disciples and early martyrs urges us to continue to transmit our Catholic faith and be faithful in spite of our own failures and sins, with God’s grace as the source of our strength. For myself, I also see the strength for this mission supported by the example of my own people.
Finally I love to pray with my people. Each morning we celebrate Mass together, pray the Rosary and spend time in adoration; this feeds us. In this I find strength and courage to continue to work with all my heart for my people. We simply don’t have the right to give up. 

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La Salette Missionaries, Province of Mary, Mother of the Americas

Our Community: The Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette are deeply rooted in the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette which occurred near the hamlet of La Salette in southeastern France on Sept. 19, 1846. The Missionaries were founded in 1852 by Bp. Philbert de Bruillard, Bishop of Grenoble, France, and presently serve in some 25 countries.

Our Province: The Province of Mary, Mother of the Americas, was founded in 2000AD and is one of several provinces in the congregation. The members of this Province serve mainly in the countries of Canada, the United States and the Region of Argentina/Bolivia.

Our Mission: Our La Salette ministry of reconciliation responds to the broad vision given by Mary at La Salette as well as in response to the needs of the Church. As reconcilers, we together with the laity take seriously Mary’s mandate: “You will make (Mary’s) message known to all (her) people.”