PRAY FOR ME -- PRIEZ POUR MOI -- OREN PARA MI

Visit the prayer log and add your intentions.

Visitez le carnet de prières et ajoutez-y vos intentions. Ici se trouve le lien.

Visiten el cuaderno de oraciones y anoten sus intenciones. Llamenlo clicando aqui.

samedi 30 juillet 2011

DARING EXPRESSION OF MARY, OUR MOTHER AT LASALETTE

Now, this is something. This is painting by a LaSalette Missionary priest by the name of Alfredo Villarde.  As far as I have come to know, for now, he is stationed in Argentina. This painting was exhibited at one of the venues of the Lay Summit which took place in Georgia, USA just last week.  The inspiration for this picture must have been painful to accept.  It is a daring expression of the circumstances in which our Mother Mary was commissioned by her Son to be our Mother.  This expression has been camped in my soul ever since I first saw it about three days ago.  I don't know if my understanding of the message is the same as that of the author.  I have attempted to contact him and I am still awaiting a response.
Our Mother Mary comes to us at LaSalette wracked by emotional pain.  She comes to us accompanied by the pain that Jesus endured on the Cross.  She also comes to us after being "Baptized" in the dripping blood and water of her Son's tortured body hanging above her.  She and Jesus were enveloped in the fiery pain of human suffering.  They were also engulfed in the fiery pain of those Patriarchs who had been waiting for so long to be relieved from the darkness of the absence of the Messiah.  Our Holy Mother is here depicted by the author in the depths of his appreciation for the dialectic between the heat of suffering and the heat of love.  The bloody Cross of fiery pain embedded in the core of His mother's being is also the generator of the fire of her love for us all.  The simplicity of the children does not diminish the intensity of her mission.  The small fraction of Maximin's hands engulfed by the fire are the small fraction of understanding that these two cowherds could capture.  The universal aspect of suffering love that the Beautiful Lady brings to them, as small and simple as they are, is the part of Infinity that they now have to bring to the world.  
We all, proceed from the womb in which the Cross is here planted.  Into this world, we are born in pain (Genesis 3,16).  Into the Kingdom of God we are also born in pain and suffering, that of Jesus and that of Mary.  Into this world we are borne in love and born in love.  Jesus carried the Patriarchs and their descendants through the streets of Jerusalem.  He delivered us all through suffering and love into the new reality consequent to His infinitely efficacious sacrifice, with His mother and ours sympathetic to Him and to us.  
This picture captures the mystery of the Apparition of our Mother Mary at LaSalette at a level deeper than so many others I have admired.  It is almost as though the other pictures owe their explanation to this one.  Not in time, but in Spirit.  I hope that you who read this will appreciate its expression as deeply as the artist who made it real does.  

mardi 26 juillet 2011

OUR LADY'S APPARITION AT LA SALETTE 165 YEARS AGO -- CELEBRATION

ENFIELD, NEW HAMPSHIRE -- SANCTUARY AND PILGRIMAGE  SITE
CONSTRUCTED MID 1950'S
This year marks the 165th anniversary of the Apparition of our Blessed Mother to two young cowherds in the French Alps, at La Salette, not too far south of Grenoble, the capital of the Department of Isère.  In these 165 years many good things have come about, not the least of which is the founding and the growth of the Missionary Congregation of Our Lady of La Salette.  There are, in fact, three rather distinct communities that make up the totality of the souls dedicated to spreading the story and the message that Our Lady left with the two children.  There is the community of Men, [Priests and Brothers] the community of Women, [Nuns] and the community of Lay People, [Men and Women, Married or not].
There will be many celebrations around the world to mark this significant date, September 19, 1846. Below, you will see the invitation that is extended to you all by the Missionaries of Our Lady of LaSalette who have responsibility for a large parish in Moreno Valley, a small city in Southern California.  The theme is based on the partring words of the Virgin to the two children, and therefore to us all, "Well,my children,make this known to all my people."  By clicking here and reading the story and the message, you will see what this is. Here is the invitation in full color.
We hope to see you all, from near and far.  Tell your friends.  This is going to be a truly International salute to our beloved Mother Mary.  Some people whom you may know but have not seen in many years might include Father Maurice Cardinal, MS, Father Joven Junio, MS, Father Arnold
Macabio, MS, Father Fred Costales, MS, Father Arlan Intal, MS, and who knows who else?  Bring your favorite picture of Mother Mary to make it a part of our international, multicultural display.

lundi 25 juillet 2011

GODISNOWHERE

The California Girl has arrived from Georgia and the Lay Summit of 2011.  She is still walking on cloud nine.  She is full of stories and full of the Spirit Who moved powerfully in every venue of the event.  There is one even which really got to her and she has pictures of it.  We will try to capture it for you so that you too can be moved.
The same presenter who had the pictures and the teaching that they backed up, also shook the house by showing a large sign with the above sentence written on it.  Before he showed it, he recruited three volunteers from the audience.  When they presented themselves, he directed them to turn around and face the audience.  When they had turned their backs to him, he showed the sign.  He then instructed the three volunteers to listen carefully while he explained what they were to do.  He told them that there was a sign behind them.  When he gave the word, they were to run around, read the sign and speak the sentence out loud.  He said that when he said, "Turn around" that they should do that and follow the instructions as he had given them.  So the did.  They turned around and spoke the words out loud.  What do you think they said?
There is no wrong answer, but what you think they said is what some of them said, just exactly what some of you have thought.  Others (one) said what some of you also said.  It all depends on how you look at it at the moment that you see it.  Since it is Summer time for most of you, it is perhaps unlikely that anyone thought, "God, I snow here."  If, however, it were Winter, maybe someone with a little bit of wit would think that.  But it is very likely that the most common readings would be "God is nowhere," or "God is now here."  The lesson can be very powerful in the right circumstances.  In the case described above, two of the volunteers said "God is nowhere" and one, the youngest of the three said "God is here now."
The lesson is also part of the attitude that Our Lady brings with her during her apparition at LaSalette.  Notice that in her message, she constantly makes Jesus present by calling Him "my Son" and making sure that she speaks of Him as though He was there right by her side.  "His arm is so heavy that I can hardly hold it back any longer." So, let this be an exhortation to live with "God is now here."  It is what Our Lady told us to do during her apparition at La Salette.

samedi 23 juillet 2011

CATECHESIS FOR ALL AGES

The third day of the Lay summit was a resounding success.  it ran the gamut from the table setting presentation of Inter-generational Catechesis to the teaching of Father Joe Bachand, MS about the connection between the Apparition and Catechesis.   The main event was a modelling of an inter-generational catechism class to show what it would look like.  This presentation showed what can be done successfully when addressing a catechism lesson to people of different ages and levels of maturity.  My source tells me that it was marvelous and that there was never a dull moment.
At a given point of the day, Fr. Bachand made the point that the Apparition is a powerful catechism lesson for everyone.  He explained how Our Holy Mother gathered the children close to her.  How she told them the story of her Son and how He feels about our behavior.  Her entire discourse to the children is in story form.  Catechism, according to Fr. Bachand is precisely that, gathering around a teacher and listening to the story of Jesus.  True catechism always ends with the sending.  As he mentioned in his first teaching, Fr. Bachand reiterated that catechism is invitation, training and sending.
Today, Father Ron Gagne took the floor and guided the assembly through a short video of the work of the LaSalette missionaries in North America these days.  This presentation had a deep impact on the community.
The event was brought to a close by a celebration of Mass by the bishop of Atlanta whose homily was all the more touching because it was built around his personal, "coming of age" testimony.  


Several of the participants of this first annual Lay Summit will be present in France at the International Meeting of Lay LaSalettes starting on September 1, 2011.  This blog will continue to be available to you at all times.  We invite you to subscribe to the official site of La Salette  www.LaSalette.org for continued information, not only about North America but about LaSalette around the world.  

vendredi 22 juillet 2011

IF YOU DO NOT CHANGE THE POTATOES WILL ROT...

The second day of the Georgia Summit focused on social justice.  Our Lady talked about the behavior of her people and how bad it was.  Her language is reminiscent of the language that brought the plagues to Egypt as described in the book of Exodus.  You can renew your familiarity with her tough words by clicking here.
She makes the point that if we misuse our free will and continue to behave in ways that insult the love of her Son for us, we will bring misery upon ourselves.  She will be forced to let go the arm of her Son and it will come down upon us.  If we convert ourselves and act in accordance with the Divine Will, we will bring well-being into the world.  Fr. Joe Bachand made sure that the connection between the message that was delivered at LaSalette and what is delivered to us in the Gospel is very tight.  One of the reflections that Father Joe made was that the Virgin appeared to two illiterate children.  She spoke to them about very important concepts and then entrusted them with the mission of "making this known to all my people."  This, said Father Joe is our calling.  We are called to bring the message and never forget the tag-line, ..."make this known to everyone."  The trust that this signifies is the most precious gift that is given to human beings.  Like God and His Mother, we have to trust those to whom we are sent to do the work of the mission.  Like Father Joe said, "The drama of the Gospel is in the calling, the training and the sending."

The setting for the second day was very different from that of the first day.  Yesterday [7/21] the setting was an affluent parish with a congregation of mostly Caucasian families.  The day ended with a concert of locally composed spiritual songs.  Today, [7/22] the setting was a multicultural parish, less affluent and home to many different peoples.  The coordinator for the day was an African man with a handy sense of humor and an engaging command of the English language.  The day ended with a display of cultural dances.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

I have been told that tomorrow brings reflections about catechesis.  Don't you wish you'd be there?

Note:  These thoughts are paraphrases from the day as I catch them from the telephone conversation with my favorite participant at the event.  We are trying to capture the truth as well as the spice.  I hope you don't mind.  

jeudi 21 juillet 2011

CALIFORNIA GIRL, TANNED BUT NOT BLONDE

I received a call this evening from the California girl who is presently attending the Lay Summit in Atlanta Georgia.  Last night she was the lonely person who was there unaccompanied.  Today she is the center of attraction as the only California person in the room.  Not only is she an attraction from the fact that she is from California, but also because she is not blonde. 
She is so happy to be among so many people who are living the LaSalette spirituality.  They are there in Georgia from all parts of the USA.  They hail from Vermont, New Hampshire, Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, Conecticutt, and of course, California.  Besides there are people from Angola and India.  It is a powerful experience to be exposed to this diversity of people who are all being moved by the same message delivered to two uneducated cowherds 165 years ago.
She is also being sought out by brothers of the vowed community who remember the family name "Dion" from a certain time in the past when such a name was in the official "elenchus" of the Missionary Community.  It is a memorable encounter when she can announce that indeed she is the spouse of "that Dion" and that she and her husband are still as LaSalette as ever.  It is a consoling moment when she can assure the questioner that indeed, her husband is married, and that, indeed, and in fact, they are both missionaries of LaSalette in another church sanctioned dimension, exercising the LaSalette ministry in a LaSalette mission parish.  This is a vivid testimony of LaSalette hospitality and true reconciliation in real life.
Since I am not present at the "Summit", I must constrain myself to reporting on what I get over the telephone and making some benign comments between the lines.  The communications director of the Community is present at the proceedings and is filing reports and pictures on the official website www.lasalette.org

mercredi 20 juillet 2011

LASALETTE HOSPITALITY -- BREAD, CHEESE AND FINE WINE

July 20, 2011.
A large group of LaSalette Missionaries from the four corners of North America came together in Atlanta, Georgia this evening in preparation for the first annual Lay Summit.  I confess that I was not there.  I am still not there.  My spouse, Isabel M. Dion is there.  She called me from her hotel room at just before midnight, local time.  She was very emotional and very grateful for the opportunity to imbibe the teachings about LaSalette spirituality that will be imparted during the next three days.  Had it not been for the thoughtful generosity of the Province of Our Mother of the Americas, the opportunity to be a carrier of the message back to the faithful in the Southern California area entrusted to the LaSalette Missionaries would be lost.  Southern California would be without a lay messenger who had been exposed to the current understandings of the message itself.  So the Summit got off to a dynamic start.  Mass, a keynote presentation by Rev. Fr.Joseph Bachand, MS, Provincial Superior of the Mary, Mother of the Americas province and a formal welcome by the pastor of the host parish, of which both names escape me.  More precise information about these events can be obtained by clicking here www.lasalette.org.
What struck me during my conversation with Isabel was the message from the pastor that the spirituality of the LaSalette Missionaries is that of Hospitality as well as Reconciliation.  It is true, that the officially recognized spirituality and charism of the missionaries is Reconciliation, but the people who know us, know that we are high on the hospitality charts.  This something that is often overlooked by the missionaries themselves.  It most often requires that someone from the outside mention it.  In this case, the host pastor mentioned it in public just two days after it had been mentioned in the St. Christopher Information Night Meeting on July 18.  In fact, I am the one who brought it up during my short presentation entitled, "Who are we?"  I grew up and was educated in a parish maintained and operated by LaSalette Missionaries.  The mark of the LaSalette "Brand" in those days was hospitality.  In fact, the French Canadian community who was being served by these missionaries, and others, would refer to them as "Les p'tits peres de LaSalette." [The little LaSalette Fathers]  The max compliment to these humble priests for whom hospitality was the most important human virtue that they practiced.  I mentioned it in Southern California on Monday night and it was mentioned again in Georgia on Wednesday.  There must be something there, right?
That's it for tonight.  Don't forget to click on the Icon of the Weeping Mother to visit www.lasalette.org for more information and insights on the Lay Summit.

INFORMATION MEETING IN MORENO VALLEY

The first official, Southern California "getting to know you" informational meeting about the La Salette Lay Community took place in the early evening of July 18, 2011.
We decided on this picture of the apparition because Fr. Maurice Cardinal, MS chose to make the children the center point of his narration of the apparition.  This being Southern California, his strategy was to create a smooth comparison between Melanie and Maximin to Juan Diego, the indigenous peasant to whom Our Blessed Mother appeared in Tepeyac, Mexico in the 16th century.  Fr. Maurice has been designated as the spiritual guide of the nascent cell of the La Salette Lay Community in Southern California.
This initial meeting was blessed by the presence of many vowed La Salette Missionaries, including one of the key players in the newly formed Lay Community of La Salettes in the Republic of the Philippines where two new cells are now functioning at the formation stage.  The lay people in attendance at this meeting were moved by the short presentations made by the lay leaders, and the vowed missionaries.  Below are the names of those in attendance.  After the list [quite different from a scriptural genealogy, I confess] we will have a couple more short news items.
Isabel M. Dion, Adult Faith Formation Coordinator, St. Christopher
Paul Dion, Isabel's husband
Rev. Fr. Joven Junio, MS  Regional Superior
Rev. Fr. Frederick Costales, MS    Assistant Pastor, St. Christopher
Rev. Fr. Romeo Seleccion, MS   Episcopal Vicar, San Bernardino Diocese
Rev. Fr. Arlan Garcia Intal, MS  Sacramental Life, St. Patrick
Rev. Fr. Tony Abuan, MS   Representing the Philippines Lay Community
Rev. Fr. Maurice Cardinal, MS  Spiritual Guide of Lay Community
Leticia LaPuebla Capuchim
David Lara Tellez, volunteer at St. Patrick parish, Moreno Valley, CA
Raul and Elaine Avila
Raymond Deang, Youth Minister, St. Christopher

1. The central theme of all presentations, one each for all except the last four people named, was the message of the Virgin and the Spirituality of Reconciliation of the Community of Missionaries formed as a result of the apparition.  The people who came to get information were given prayer and meditation material to help them decide whether or not  to proceed to the formation stage of the process.  This initial discernment process will be open until about mid-August.  Before then it is anticipated that a make-up meeting will be scheduled to provide the same opportunity of discernment to some people who had to excuse themselves from attendance at the last minute.
2.  Fr. Tony Abuan who is an essential element of the formation of the Lay Community in the Philippines told the story of the blossoming of the recruitment and formation process in the community in the Philippines.  There are two "cells" presently in formation.  These are made up of many of the alumni from the ten La Salette schools that have been in operation since 1949 and the early 1950's.  these are people who are familiar with the name [brand] La Salette, but who do not know the depth of the story behind it.  Aside.  On a pilgrimage one time, with an alumnus of La Salette of San Mateo participating, we found out that he was amazed to be present at the place where the "real La Salette" happened and continues to happen.  Fr. Tony said that of the 300 or so candidates that are presently in formation, it is optimistically hoped that about 50 will make at least an initial commitment.
3.  Many of you who are reading this are alumni.  Many of you who are reading this wonder how to make La Salette continue to be meaningful in your lives and the lives of others.  The answer you seek may lie on this site, as well as on other La Salette sites.  Check the links in the margin for more exposure.  Use the comment space to express yourself or to ask for more information.