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.

lundi 21 janvier 2013

MISSIONARIES COME AND GO, BUT THEIR SPIRIT REMAINS

Reef Lection
From:  Reef Lection:  Denis Dion, alumnus of Immaculate Conception school, Catholic writer and speaker sent me this email the other day --


http://www.holyokemass.com/transcript/church/ch23.html
This is the original church building


"How you all doing?  Hope you and your family are well.   Got some sad news this weekend.  I was talking at all the Masses at I.C. this weekend promoting Men's Retreats.  Fr. John Higgins, MS is there now but only temporarily as the diocese has decided they do not want the parish manned by the La Salettes any longer. After 100 years, the La Salette presence will be gone.  I just don't understand.  I.C. is now about 70% Hispanic and I saw Fr. John come alive the Spanish Mass.  He was good at the English Masses, but at the Spanish Mass he was alive and enthusiastic.  I couldn't understand much of what was said, but I do understand Spirit when I see it.
Anyway after  Feb. 10, I.C. will be in the hands of a diocesan priest.   I don't know if the same holds true for Holy Trinity in Westfield.  Just thought this would be of interest to you.
Love to all
Den"

This bit of news set my mind to trying to gather some historical information about the Immaculate Conception Parish.  One of the things that I found was a complete transcribed and translated copy of the souvenir book that was produced on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the parish in 1955.  It's over 100 pages long and I spent over an hour enjoying reading the names of people whose families I knew through classmates and through direct contact.  If you want to have a similar experience, here is your opportunity.  

The 50th anniversary souvenir book is here.  It contains a nice history of the first fifty years if the parish as well as details of the coming of the La Salette Missionaries.
The picture above shows the first church.  Pictures below will put the majestic Gothic church before your eyes, followed by the present little jewel that sits on the same lot as the Gothic church did.  The building above is still standing and being used, not as a holy place.

http://www.hvinet.com/sfdchurch/aboutus.html
This link will bring you to a historic story about the spread of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette in North America.  This is a reminder of the dynamic presence of the Missionaries in New York State.  I chose to feature this story with a picture of the grotto that the missionaries placed on the Church property.  Click on the link above to get the fuller story.  Bring your eyes down a bit to see a picture of the apparition facsimile that was in fact inside the Immaculate Conception church in Holyoke.  This was for the 105+
years that the magnificent gothic church stood on the site.  The person who was the spiritual leader of the parish at the time of its madernization, Marie Julien Ginet, MS, was a native of Savoy, just a few short miles away from the location of the apparition of Our Lady at La Salette.






This is a picture of the Gothic church.










This a picture of the present church of the Immaculate Conception parish.






This church was built very recently and in order to save money and to protect the memories of those who sacrificed so much to build the impressive Gothic building, as much of the old materials as could be incorporated into the new building as could be used found their way into the reality of the present church.  These include the larger than life wooden crucifix that that occupied the right front column of the church, just in front of the sanctuary.  The pews and the statiions of the cross were preserved as well as the commemorative stained glass window that was designed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the parish.

Now, 101 years after their arrival, the La Salette Missionaries are leaving the parish and the bishop of the Diocese of Springfield will assure the continued existence of this parish community.  Here below is a short text describing the arrival of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette:

 "In 1910, at the departure of Abbott J. V. Campeau for Canada, Abbott Horace Gélineau was named administrator of the Immaculate Conception. For two years, he devoted all his young energies to the spiritual and temporal prosperity of the parish and sought to maintain the parochial spirit through numerous organizations, always very successfully. He asked the Missionaries of our Lady of La Salette of Hartford to lend him their assistance until the day when the Msgr. of Springfield conferred the care of the parish entirely to the Fathers of La Salette.
      Rev. Fr. Camille Triquet, M.S., Pastor of St Joseph of Fitchburg for eighteen years, came to take his new post on July 3, 1912, with Fr. Pierre Rivoire, M.S. and Fr. Henri Galvin, M.S., as assistants.
      The parishioners of the Immaculate Conception received the Fathers of La Salette with open arms. Their arrival gave rise to the formation of religious parochial societies: the League of the Sacred Heart and of Our Lady of La Salette for the men and youth; the Ladies of Ste. Anne Society for married women; and that of the Children of Mary, for young women. The true spirit of piety of these religious societies soon made the Immaculate Conception one of the model parishes of the Diocese."

The departure of the Missionaries is scheduled for June 10, 2013.  It is sure to be a sad moment for many people.  There are still many of us who owe the spiritual attitudes that we have to the Spirit who guided our early upbringing.  And not just ours, but that of our parents and, in some cases, our grandparents.  It is also true that the La Salette Missionaries will feel a deep tear inside of themselves upon their departure.  Many of them owe their vocation as missionaries to the efforts of the valiant missionaries who dedicated their lives here.  I remember the two dozen or more photographs of alumni who had been ordained to the priesthood hanging on the wall of the main lobby of the school.  One of them, a cousin of mine; one of them an intimate friend of mine; one of them, yours truly.

The departure is not a total separation.  Like the tearing of the Temple Veil on Good Friday upon the Death of Our Savior, this departure is a passage from the past through an opening into the future.  The 101 years will never be forgotten.  They will always be the seed and the fruit of spiritual grace in the hearts of those who form the Immaculate Conception community of faithful.  Just as the parish served the needs of an important immigrant population at its inception, it continues to do the same today.  Then, it was French Canadian, now it is Latino.  What better preparation could have been planned?

People of Holyoke, you are witnessing the natural movement of missionary work.  Missionaries go in, set-up, turn it over and leave the foundation to the local clergy to continue building on it.  

Next time, La Salette in Saskatchewan.