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Meet Fr. Fernando, M.S.

Fr. Fernando Altamiranda, M.S.
What is your family background?

I was born on March 7, 1969, in Tucuman, in the Northern part of Argentina. My father’s name is Julio César and he worked as an electrician. My mother, María Argentina, worked in our home. I have two sisters, Patricia and Daniela, and one brother, named Ariel.

My sister, Patricia, began to volunteer in our parish with youth and teach catechism as well. She then invited me to help her with the youth group and then I taught in our religious education classes for First Communion and Confirmation (ages 9-17). This was my first experience in teaching and began for me a lifelong call as a teacher who strengthens others in their faith.

In this same experience, I worked alongside Fr. Alfredo Velarde, a La Salette priest in our parish. I also worked with him in another group consisting of about 60 youth. We worked in our city and countryside barrios to help our people celebrate their faith. We also drew our youth into working in the summer in soup kitchens with very poor children, teaching them how to keep clean and healthy including delousing practices. We also helped the children with remedial studies and well as appreciation of their faith, and the importance of Jesus and Mary in their lives.

What drew you to the priesthood and the La Salette Community?

Read more Meet Fr. Fernando, M.S.

Meet Indian Novices II

The novices gathered in their classroom

As a worldwide community of men, by the grace of God we welcome new members each year into our community from our ten provinces. After their Novitiate year of training, they take their first vows. After three of more years of renewing their vows, they may, if accepted, they may take their perpetual vows at a special celebration.

At my request, Fr. Sibi Kunninu, M.S., Novice Master for the La Salette Indian Province, was kind enough to send me information on this year’s Novitiate Class who recently took their first vows. I hope you enjoy meeting these young devoted men who will, by the grace of God, spend their lives making Mary’s message known as priests in India and elsewhere in God’s world.

Read more Meet Indian Novices II

Meet Indian Novices I

Editor: The La Salette Missionaries are a worldwide order of religious men. From Mary’s own words, “You will make this (message) known to all my people”, we are happy to serve in about 25 countries. Each year, new members enter our religious order when they complete their novitiate. Our La Salette Rule describes the purpose of the novitiate:
Fr. Sibi Kunninu, M.S., Novice Master for the Indian
La Salette Province, with his latest class of novices

The novitiate increases the candidate's understanding of the mystery of Christ and the role of Mary so that his whole life may be imbued with the spirit of the Gospel. It leads the candidate to appreciate and live the religious life and to be penetrated by the mystery of reconciliation and the relevance of the teaching put forth in the La Salette event.

It provides a setting for prayer, reflection and study, an intensive experience of community life and formative apostolic activity. Thus the candidate will be equipped to commit himself freely and maturely to the life and mission of the Congregation. (La Salette Rule, #34)

At my request, Fr. Sibi Kunninu, M.S., Novice Master for the La Salette Indian Province, was kind enough to send me information on this year’s Novitiate Class who recently took their first vows. I hope you enjoy meeting these young devoted men who will, by the grace of God, spend their lives making Mary’s message known as priests in India and elsewhere in God’s world.

This is the first of two sets of profiles for your enjoyment.

Read more Meet Indian Novices I

Meet Pierrot, Associate

What is your family and personal background?

(from left) the town of Sundgau, Alsace,
France and the Church of Our Lady of the Snows
My name is Pierre (Pierrot) Zaessinger. I was born in Alsace, France, on Jan. 21, 1950, in the small historic village of Sundgau, a calm and quiet village like that of La Salette. It has a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Snows and through that I was intimately aware from an early age about veneration of the Blessed Virgin. I have cherished memories of the special processions and especially our celebration of the feast of Mary’s Assumption celebrated on August 15th.

At the age of twelve, I made a pilgrimage with my mother to the La Salette Shrine. I remember well the site of the Apparition with its three statues of Our Lady. I also remember the stunningly beautiful surroundings, and the singing the refrain of the La Salette Hymn: "Virgin of La Salette, our hearts belong to you. On this, your holy feast day, send blessings from above..." I often hum this lovely melody in my heart. And I vowed to return one day to that most beautiful place.

Read more Meet Pierrot, Associate

Sisters in Algeria

A meeting in Ghardaïa, Algeria, of
 Missionaries of Mary Immaculate,
with (right)
Sr. Lalaina, a La Salette Sister

Editor: Recently three La Salette Sisters – (from left: Srs. Anna, Bernadette, and Sr. Lalaina) arrived in Ghardaïa, Algeria, at the invitation of Bishop Claude Rault of Laghouat. The following article gives a brief overview of his ideas and his ministry. 

AFRICA / ALGERIA (from Rome, Agenzia Fides) – According to Claude Jean Narcisse Rault, M. Afr. (White Fathers), the Catholic Bishop of Laghouat, Algeria, "Friendship is the key to overcome mutual fear between Christians and Muslims. In fact we must learn and not take everything that is proposed by the press and television as an accurate representation of the Muslim world.”

"As we passed through Rome recently I noticed that whenever we come back to Europe, we feel a certain distrust of Muslims. Unfortunately, there is a lot of ignorance in both communities ignorance that fuels mutual fear. Instead, we must reach out to each other to create bonds of friendship and through them, to form another image of the other," said the Bishop.

Read more Sisters in Algeria

Bp. Yves-Marie Pean, C.S.C., of Haiti

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. 

Read more Bp. Yves-Marie Pean, C.S.C., of Haiti

Meet Fr. Leslaw Panczak, M.S.

Fr. Leslaw Panczak, M.S.

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Rzeszow, in southern Poland, about 100 miles east of Krakow. My mother, Helen, and my farther, John, both came from there. I am the oldest of three children: my brother, Peter, and my sister, Barbara and myself. We attended our diocesan parish but I remember, as a child, going regularly to the La Salette novena in the neighboring Parish of Our Lady of La Salette. I loved the prayers and the La Salette message. We later moved to an apartment very close to the La Salette church. At the age of nine I became an altar boy and Eucharist was my regular nourishment. 
When the parish priest came to visit our house each year, he asked my parents to pray for my vocation to the priesthood. I visited the rectory and saw their happiness, their lifestyle and their community spirit. It was a natural journey to eventually join the La Salette community, continuing to appreciate the familiar values of prayer, community and Marian devotion. In our La Salette parish, we went each year to the Shrine at Debowiec as a group of altar servers. I grew up in the shadow and spirit of La Salette. 

Read more Meet Fr. Leslaw Panczak, M.S.

The La Salette Message in My Life and My Prison Ministry

I first heard about the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette when I was just twelve years old. At that time I was a student at La Salette of Aurora, a Catholic High School run by the La Salette Missionaries in Isabela, a province in the northern part of the Philippines. My father enrolled me in this school because he wanted me to be close to God.
What captured my attention and challenged my curiosity about the apparition was the initial greeting of the Beautiful Lady to the children: “Come near, my children, do not be afraid. I am here to tell you great news.” How tender, how pleasing, how reassuring were those words to my ears. Almost instantaneously, I believed in my heart that she was personally addressing those powerful words to me. But I often wondered how good her news was because she was crying for the entire time she spoke! I wanted to know how this could be. These reflections have left a deep impression on me. They remained with me no matter how much I tried to dismiss them or convince myself that I worry too much.

Read more The La Salette Message in My Life and My Prison Ministry

In Solidarity with the Mother Who Weeps

Sister Mary Yun Ja, SNDS, a La Salette vocation from Myanmar (formerly Burma), who serves now in her native land. The recent tragic events happening in Myanmar have highlighted what is happening in her native land: peaceful demonstrations by Buddhist monks opposing their repressive government; and, more recently, the destructive effects of the cyclone, Nargis. However, there are also notable positive developments with native religious communities and the new foundation of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, sisters as well as fathers and brothers.

Where did you come from?

I was born in Myitkyina, in the northeast of Myanmar, near the Chinese border. I am the youngest of a family of ten children – eight girls and two boys. Our parents cultivate rice at the foot of a nearby mountain. The members of my family were members of a traditional animist religion. Whenever someone was sick in the family, my mother would be called to sacrifice a buffalo, a pig or some similar animal. My mother converted to Christianity in the 1980’s and we all were baptized.

Read more In Solidarity with the Mother Who Weeps

La Salette Sisters Celebrate Life

25th Anniversary of Profession
of Sr. Ma. Milagros dela Cruz,
SNDS with other La Salette Sisters
Often during the summer, families gather together to celebrate. And so it is with the Sisters of Our Lady of La Salette. 
In the Philippines, on May 12, 2012, we celebrated the perpetual profession of Sr. Minerva Boado, SNDS, at her home Parish at St. Isidore Parish, Tubao, La Union with Bishop Carlito J. Cenzon, CICM, the Bishop of the Diocese of Baguio.
This was a special celebration because it’s the first profession in this newly-erected province of our sisters. At the request of Archbishop Michael Miller, CSB, we responded positively to his invitation to minister in his diocese.  As an international community who relishes exploring and serving in new missions, Sr. Minerva will be one of the first three sisters to serve in our new mission in the Diocese of Vancouver, British Columbia, the western-most diocese on Canada. Joining her will be two other La Salette Sisters who will minister in both pastoral ministry and religious education. 

Read more La Salette Sisters Celebrate Life

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