The feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ was the occasion of the rite of welcome of the first group of La Salette Lay Associates in formation in the state of California, USA.
We owe the beginnings of the Lay Associates in California to Father Ronald Beauchemin, MS who recommended that we contact Father Gilles Genest, MS which we did. Fr. Genest generously provided us with the original written guidelines and structure documents of the Lay Associates as they exist in the New Hampshire, USA community which he started together with several lay people.
In the meantime, Fr. Ron Beauchemin sent us the revised guidelines and structures. With these in hand, we approached Father Jose Nacu, MS, Father Romeo Seleccion, MS and Father Enrique LaPuebla, MS, to provide us with the support that we needed for the formation of the La Salette Lay Associates here in California. Fr. Beauchemin did not only "Wikileak" the base documents to us from an existing Lay Associate community in the Eastern part of the United States, but he has made quasi annual visits to us with words of wisdom, history and encouragement.
The planting of the seed has been accomplished.
Cultivating of the shoot began in earnest in mid 2011. First, Father Joven Junio, MS, District Superior of the Western-Pacific District Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, Mother of Hope Province and Pastor of St. Christopher Parish gave us some solid advice and assured us of his support. It was then that he appointed Father Maurice Cardinal, MS the official spiritual guide of the La Salette Lay Community in California. After Isabel was chosen by lot to represent the North American Lay Associates Community at the first International Encounter of La Salette Laity, “Rencontre,” at the La Salette Shrine in France, Father Joseph Bachand, MS, Provincial Superior of the Province of Our Lady of the Americas, provided the funding for Isabel's participation in the “Lay Summit” in Atlanta, Georgia, USA in early July of 2010. The International “Rencontre” took place from September 1, 2010 through September 10, 2010.
Father Ron Gagne, MS of Our Lady of the Americas and the heart and soul behind www.Lasalette.org has been the embodiment of Salettinian hospitality, generosity and fraternal love. He has contributed an enormously rich body of written material that sustains the spiritual life of the members.
The basic health in the day to day workings of the growth of the California Community of Lay Associates is assured mostly by Fr. Dennis Meyer, MS, Brother Claude Rhéaume, MS and Mrs. Sharon Markowitz (MS?). We pray for you every single day. How can we forget you when the very rule of our life comes from you, in print and in lived example?
The rite is first step in the process of Formation leading to the First formal one year commitment.
It is the desire of the Missionaries of our Lady of La Salette to share their ministry and spirituality with the lay people. These are men and women, who after a period of discernment, requested to join them in their way of life and missionary work. In the spirit of the La Salette charism of hospitality we celebrate this morning a “Rite of Welcome”
Each received a small crucifix and a book of daily prayers. The book is a gift from the Brazilian community entitled “Way of Life and Spirituality.”
May God’s blessings come down upon you and may Mary of La Salette be your Companion on this journey of formation into the La Salette Way of Life. We ask this in the name of Jesus who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit one God forever and ever Amen.
Then Father Maurice invited the faithful to consider dedicating themselves to this community.
The giving of the cross and the prayer book
One candidate for formation was "welcomed" in absentia, Leticia Cadelina who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
|Left to right: Isabel Dion, Eugene DeCesaris, Fr. Maurice Cardinal, MS, Fr. Arnel Macabio, MS, Rita Santos, Paul Dion, David Lara-Tellez, Fr. Romeo Seleccion, MS, Wally Arida|
Thus begins the dynamic life of the La Salette Lay Associates who live in California, USA. They will meet for prayer and formation into the spirituality of the Four Pillars every second and fourth Saturday of the month. The presentations will include the sharing of spirituality materials that were handed down to us from the International “Rencontre” in France. If any of you happen to be close-by, let us know and we will be happy to have you. If you happen to be far away but want more information, we are at your service.