Dear friends of La Salette:
We believe that you are aware that the La Salette Family in Mozambique, represented by the Provinces of Angola and Brazil, ... has undertaken a new mission since the month of May of this year of 2022: the Parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Mieze, in the Diocese of Pemba, in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique.
On this 176th Anniversary of the La Salette Apparition, we remember the hope-filled words of Mary at La Salette:“If [my people] are converted, rocks and stones and rocks will turn into heaps of wheat, and the potatoes will be self-sown in the fields.”
This celebration of the anniversary of the Apparition offers me an opportunity to reach each one of you, in whatever community or ministry you are in the world, as well as our young people in formation, the elderly, the sick, and to everyone, I wish you, in the name of the La Salette General Administration, a happy and holy patronal feast.
In fact, September 19 is a date indelibly engraved in our hearts and minds as it is precisely from there that our journey as La Salette religious and missionaries, along with our La Salette Laity and supporters throughout the world. The Apparition and the message of the Beautiful Lady shaped and nourished the content of the charism of reconciliation that animated and continues to animate the life of our Congregation and those dedicated to our Weeping Mother.
It is always a reason for joy for us to return punctually every year to the inspiring source of our presence in the Church to thank the Lord for the gift of vocation and to renew, faithful to the charism entrusted to us, our commitment of dedication and service to the cause of the Gospel as Religious, as Missionaries, and a devotees of the Weeping Virgin of La Salette ...
Early in 2022, Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, appointed National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in Angola for five years (2022-2027), Fr. Belarmino Tchipundukwa, M.S., a Missionary of Our Lady of La Salette.
The new National Director is forty-six years old and has been a priest for fifteen years. After his priestly ordination, he was Parish Vicar in Angola (2007-2010), member of the group of the Shrine of La Salette in France (2010-2012), Councilor, Secretary General, and Procurator at the Holy See of the Missionaries of La Salette (2013-2019), Provincial Councilor in Angola (since 2019, re-elected on January 7, 2022).
At the same time, he is also Director of the Cesafe (Saletino de Formacao and Espiritualidade Center), Superior of the community and Rector of the “N.S. de la Salette” in Lubango, Angola.
(Reprinted with permission from Agenzia Fides)
Editor:(The video above is the Funeral Mass for Bishop Donald in the Morondava, Madagascar Cathedral.) This is the sermon given by Fr. John (Jack) Nuelle, M.S., on the occasion of the Mass of Christian Burial for Bishop Donald Pelletier, M.S., in Attleboro, Massachusetts, who died suddenly on June 4, 2022, while visiting our Shrine in Enfield, New Hampshire.
Welcome to this celebration of God’s call to Bishop Donald Pelletier, M.S., to participate in the banquet of eternal life. Thank you all for coming to pray and celebrate with our La Salette Religious Community as we honor the life and ministry of Bishop Donald.
My name is Fr. Jack Nuelle, a La Salette Missionary who ministered alongside Bishop Donald on the western coast of Madagascar for over thirty years. It is with a heavy heart – yet one filled with hope – that I share a few words with you this morning.
Wonderful! On September 9, 2021, representatives from around the world gathered on the Holy Mountain of La Salette to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the merciful apparition of the Virgin Mary to two shepherds, Maximin and Melanie.
As Mary had asked the two young shepherds, “Well, my children, you will make this known to all my people.” The event and the message of La Salette were spread to the four corners of the world through people who were invited to go forward without fear, having left everything to become messengers of the Good News.
To thank God for these 175 years, despite the uncertainty of the worldwide health situation, representatives from the four corners of the world gathered on the mountain of La Salette for a week of prayer, reflection, and debate about our mission in the world. They came from Africa, Europe, Latin America, the United States, and Asia. This small group consisted of Religious Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, Sisters of Our Lady of La Salette, Missionaries of the Holy Family, La Salette Laity, and members of the Association of Pilgrims of La Salette (APS).
We had the grace to celebrate this jubilee together with the bishops of the dioceses of the countries where we are established and who were invited for this occasion. They are Their Excellencies José Nambi (Bié, Angola), Amilton Manoel da Silva, C.P. (Guarapuava, Brazil), Jean Louis Bouilleret (Besançon, France), Fulgence Razakarivony (Ihosy, Madagascar), John Noonan (Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.), Desiderius M. Rwoma (Bukoba, Tanzania), and Bishop Donald Pelletier (Bishop Emeritus of Morondava, Madagascar). They testified concerning how the message of La Salette is lived out in their dioceses.
I realize that few missionaries – and I would add very few missionaries – have had the grace to serve fifty years in the same mission, in the same territory, in the same diocese. It is a rare privilege that, with great humility, I must recognize as a free gift of God’s love for me. Father Arthur LeBlanc, M.S. served here for sixty-two years before his death, and I have no thought of bettering his record.
This last half century has been one of great change for everyone concerned: the Church, the Mission, our World and, last but not least, the country of Madagascar. For the church, the transition to the post-Vatican II church was traumatic. John XXIII wanted to open windows but set off an earthquake that shook so many Church institutions. Having been educated and formed in the pre-Vatican church, I along with other missionaries felt the shock in our own missionary lives. However, for poor and especially young churches like that of Madagascar, the changes were undoubtedly easier and certainly necessary for evangelization. We, as a young church, were not yet fully initiated into the long-standing traditions of the universal Church. Therefore changes that severely affected churches in other parts of the world were not so drastic for us to accept.
The liturgical reform was not only needed but most beneficial for a new thrust of evangelization. If the colonial era had been identified with the Church, the fact of independence for Madagascar would also necessarily allow the church to affirm its identity and its autonomy. Not only did the church call for the independence of Madagascar but was a rime mover in all peaceful, non-violent actions to obtain it.
Two important factors in the sudden expansion of the church in Madagascar were undoubtedly Vatican II and Madagascar’s Independence in 1960. The church had always advocated the right to independence. While changes after Vatican II allowed for adaptation to the local needs, the use of the local language was a breath of fresh air that allowed everyone more easily to understand the Good News.
Dear Father William Kaliyadan, M.S., Provincial Superior of the Province of Mary, Mother of the Americas,
In this letter I would like to introduce you to the current situation in our houses and parishes in Ukraine and briefly inform about how the Polish Province is aiding the people in need in Ukraine.
The District of Eastern Europe, which includes eight parishes in Ukraine and Belarus, is an integral part of the Polish Province. There are fourteen La Salettes serving there. In Ukraine, ten priests and one brother serve in six parishes, while in Belarus there are two parishes with three priests. Although Belarus, because of its collaboration with Russia, is treated by Ukraine as an aggressor, our religious communities stand together in prayer for end to war and true peace. Our houses and parishes are situated in the western, central, south-eastern and eastern parts of Ukraine.
It has been fourteen months since the military coup on February 1, 2021, and the people in Myanmar have been struggling in all aspects of life. Politically, they have lost their freedom and dreams. Economically, they are mostly affected by economic sanctions to the extent that many are deprived of basic human needs. Their only recourse has been the humanitarian aid they receive through the United Nations agencies or other charitable organizations.
The Catholic charities and relief services have been providing some help as much as they can due to the access constraints set by the regime. Although the needs in Myanmar are not nationally known and have never been responded to by the local churches around the United States the way they did for the people in Ukraine, Burmese American Catholics and the people of goodwill have been helping the dioceses and the people in conflict-ravaged regions of Myanmar with their limited resources.
“The Church of Myanmar is wounded and displaced. Priests are the hope of the people. They are the refuge of brothers and sisters who suffer. Myanmar needs reconciliation and dialogue: for this reason the priest proclaims the Good News and brings peace”: this is what Cardinal Charles Maung Bo said during the Priestly Ordination Mass of 13 deacons, held in recent days in the Cathedral of Saint Mary in Yangon.
On Wednesday, February 23, 2022, in Łanowice, people went to sleep as usual, with the thought that we were more than 1,300 km (807 miles) away from Donbas and the “troubles”.
Although for the eighth year now, a fight has been waged in the Ukraine in which people were regularly killed, only the dramatic events of the last few days have stripped us of all illusions. Open combat, the bombing of cities, thousands of dead and injured on both sides of the conflict, tanks on the streets, general panic, empty store shelves, no fuel at gas stations, no water, electricity, and heating, and problems with the cellular network – this is the dark reality of our country today.