410 NH Route 4A - PO Box 420 

Enfield, NH 03748


Fr. John P. Sullivan, M.S., Director

Office hours, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Tel: 603.632.7087 Fax: 603.632.7648

La Salette of Enfield

Center for Reconciliation

410 NH Route 4A - PO Box 420 Enfield, NH 03748 

Tel: 603.632.7087 

Fax: 603.632.7648 


Office hours, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. 

Director Fr. John P. Sullivan, M.S.



INTERNATIONAL NATIVITY SETS EXHIBIT
Open by appointment

Reflections from the Shrine ...

TO BE FAITHFUL TO OUR  RESPONSIBILITIES IS TO SHARE IN THE MASTER'S  JOY

      It has been about thirty five years since I finished a language course in Spanish in Cochabamba,  Bolivia and then began my mission work in Argentina. I am glad to report that I have kept up my knowledge of Spanish.  I used it frequently in Massachusetts where I worked at our La Salette Shrine. Now here, for example, I  have been asked to help with a Spanish Mass tomorrow in Manchester.

      I vividly remember the first time I had to celebrate Mass in Spanish alone. I had been working  for a few weeks with another more experienced missionary who had taken the lead in the celebration of Mass.  But then one day he said: "Now you take the Mass and I will  go to visit another community." I remember thinking:  "Who Me?  I just finished language school. I am not ready yet." But the  Mass went fine.  Many also asked to go to confession to me in Spanish perhaps because they knew in those early days I would only  understand  half of what they were confessing.  That was the beginning and quickly the joy grew as I took  on more and more responsibility in serving the Argentine people in many different settings.

      That is why I found I could  relate to the first two servants  who were very faithful with the responsible use they made of the talents given them by their master. It is easy to imagine the delight they must have felt when the master said to them:  "Well done, my good and faithful  servant…..Come, share your master's joy."

      What  happened to the third servant?  He let fear take over in his life.  He was afraid or too lazy to even invest the money in the bank so that he could earn interest in his deposit. He was not responsible to use the talent that had  been entrusted  to him. instead  he hid it in the ground where it did nothing  for him or the master. Where there was  no responsibility,  there was also no joy in the sharing of what he had been given.

      Every person in this Church has some talent. It is not important how many talents  we have, be it one or ten. What counts  is that we use our talents to serve God and others.  We  are called to be responsible  to make life a little better for the people around us by a helping hand, a word of encouragement, or simply  a smile - small gestures that can go a long way. Then we too can celebrate when we hear the words of Our Lord deep in our hearts: "Come, share your master's joy."

      In the name of the La  Salette staff and Associates,  we want to wish each of  you a blessed Thanksgiving. If you are alone,  I suggest you attend  the dinner at Sacred Heart Church hall on Thanksgiving day at noon. The information is in the bulletin. Also, a week from tonight is opening night for our  Festival of  Lights starting at 4:15  PM.

                                                                                     Father John Sullivan  M.S.      


ADVENT - A TIME TO WATCH FOR THE PRESENSE OF CHRIST IN THE PEOPLE AROUND US

      When I went to the Holy Land seven years ago with four good friends, we spent the first week of our journey in northern Israel  where Jesus grew up and began his public ministry. But the second week we spent in Jerusalem, principally in the Old City. I remember how eager I was to watch for those old walls and spend time where Jesus actually walked, suffered, and died and then rose from the dead.

      Advent  is a  time of waiting and watching for the coming of Jesus. In the Gospel, Jesus is clear from the opening lines:  "Be watchful!  Be alert! You do not know when the time will come." Then he repeats himself: "Watch, therefore ; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming…." The very last words of today's Gospel are: "What I say to you, I say  to all: 'Watch.'''

      But what are we looking for? Why so  much vigilance?  It is not so much "what" but "who."  We are watching for  Jesus himself  - his presence, not just on the altar in the beautiful Sacrament of the Eucharist - but in the people around us every day. They could be family, friends, or perfect strangers. Jesus is present in these people in his own mysterious way.   We are all images of God.  It is so easy to forget, to get caught up in the daily rush of life, that we treat one another with impatience, quick judgment, or worst of all,  ignoring the person altogether. We also so frequently  overlook  the presence of Christ in ourselves.

      "Be watchful! Be alert!"  Be more aware of the opinions and feelings of others and not just our own. The color of this season is purple. It is a reminder that it is also a season of penance. It is an opportunity to say  : "I am sorry,"  whether it be to God in confession or someone we have offended in our own selfishness or eagerness to pursue only our own interest. That is a lack of watchfulness.

      The first reading from the Prophet Isaiah has a very powerful line:  "Behold, you are angry, and we are sinful; all of us  have become like unclean people; all our  good deeds are like polluted rags." That seems to be a wake-up call; to truly watch ourselves and see how we are treating others.  It means really "waking up and smelling the coffee."

      However Advent is  not just a time of repentance and watchfulness.  It is also  a time of  profound hope, of new beginnings. I love the Scripture readings for this time of year. Again, Isaiah expresses it so well  at the end  of the  first reading: "Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay and you the potter: we are all the work of your hands."    Isn't that a consoling thought?

      This coming Friday, December 8th, is a Holy Day of  Obligation, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Consequently we will  have a Mass at 6:30 that evening. The Santa program will follow immediately afterwards. We also have a full weekend of activities as part of the Festival  of Lights. On Saturday we have the North East Catholic  College who will be playing at 5:15PM and then also at Mass a week from this evening. On Sunday we have the Seven Stars Ensemble performing also at 5;15 PM.  We hope to see you there at such memorable functions.

                                                                                    Father John Sullivan M.S.


THE KINGDOM OF GOD  IS NOT A KINGDOM OF POWER BUT OF SERVICE

      There has been much in the news lately of women coming forward who have been abused emotionally and even physically by men who had authority over them.  The women were afraid to speak  out for fear of losing their jobs. But recently so many women have had the courage to come forward, we finally may be coming closer to the day when there will be equality between women and men in the work  place and in our society. The abuse of the power of men over women is slowly  changing to respect, as women are treated as persons and not as objects.

      That is clearly connected to the Feast Day we celebrate today: the Solemnity of Our Lord  Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Jesus is a king  like no other. He comes not to dominate or control others  as many do who are in authority or in positions of leadership.  Rather Jesus  comes  to serve instead of being served. It is so beautifully symbolized at the  Last Supper in John's Gospel when Jesus washes the feet of his own disciples as a common servant would do. 

      The Last Judgment that is described in the Gospel shows  how Jesus wants us to treat the poor and those who live on the margins as subjects  in their own right and not simply as objects. He speaks of the hungry, the thirsty, the naked and the ill,  as persons who deserve our compassion.  The stranger and the person in prison merit our attention and concern because:  "Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine,  you  did for me." We cannot separate our faith and love for Jesus from our respect and trust in those persons who are  often considered almost invisible in the eyes of  our contemporary society.

      It comes down to transforming the power to  criticize or dominate others into the power to  love and encourage those around us, be they family, friends, or even perfect strangers. So much is expressed in the words of Jesus: "I come not to  be served,  but to serve." (Mark 10: 45).

      Psalm 23 in today's readings  gives  us a healing image of the faithful shepherd who provides  for the needs of his sheep. "The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing   I shall  want." Let us be aware that the  Lord calls us into  one flock:  old or young, weak or strong, woman or man.

      Now that we have begun our Festival  of Lights, we encourage you to bring your children and your grand children for Children's Day tomorrow with the Christmas Story, ornament making, and Santa's visit. Next week  end, Father Pat will be here, Saturday, December 2nd, for two concerts at 3:15 and 5:15 PM. He will also be the main celebrant for the Mass one week  from this evening.

      On the theme of service, having just celebrated Thanksgiving, we are grateful  too for the many parents who served their children and the many adult children who served their elderly parents in the spirit of such a family centered holiday.

                                                                                          Father John Sullivan  M.S.


LET US NOT JUST WAIT FOR THE LORD TO COME  BUT THIRST FOR HIM ON A  DAILY BASIS

      This past spring I finally climbed Mount Cardigan with a friend. When you hike up a mountain you need comfortable boots  , warm clothes as  you come closer to the summit, and especially water. The climb takes effort and perspiration. When you reach the top you are really thirsty. That first mouthful of water tastes so good and is so refreshing.

      The psalm response for today says:  "My soul is thirsting  for you, O Lord my God." It is combined with the parable of the ten virgins waiting for the arrival of the bridegroom to begin the wedding celebration. It is an obvious reference to one day,  Christ the Bridegroom will come to share with us the Church, the People of God, His glorious wedding banquet.  Are we prepared?

      I suggest that we not be like the five foolish virgins passively waiting with their lamps.  Let us rather be like the five wise virgins so thirsting to celebrate with the Lord that they bring an extra flask of oil  to be sure they have enough for the festivities.

      The extra container of oil symbolizes the gift of wisdom that is so beautifully described in the first reading from the Book of Wisdom: "Resplendent and unfading is wisdom, and she is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her."   Wisdom is personified as a woman who wishes to color our relationships with God and others with vitality and variety. It is not just a gift to the intellect but more to  the will, to a person's heart. As a result the person seeks to do God's will and not simply their own.  That is why wisdom is eternal as  love and God are eternal.

      The five wise virgins had developed a virtuous life which made  them thirsting for Christ, the Bridegroom, while also eager to celebrate with others who  also loved the Lord. That is why  they could  not share their oil  with the foolish virgins.  Each of us is  called to personally  develop virtues in our own lives which we cannot give to someone else. Each person must work  on the discipline that is required in their own personal  life.

      To simply wait for the Lord's coming can be such  a passive attitude. But to thirst for the Lord is an activity, an act of the will, that  calls us to pray well and reach out frequently to those around us with the spiritual and corporeal  works of mercy.

      With that attitude, together let  us pray and thirst for a true spirit of welcome and hospitality for the hundreds of people to visit our Shrine during the Festival  of Lights that begins in less than two weeks.

                                                                                         Father John Sullivan   M.S.








Identity   Father Rene Butler M.S. La Salkette Provincial
(Third Sunday of Advent: Isaiah 61:1-11; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8,19-28)
In her Magnificat (today’s Responsorial Psalm), Mary joyfully identified herself as God’s servant. This means she understood her role in God’s plan. John the Baptist identified himself as a Voice. He, too, knew his role, his place.
The Beautiful Lady of La Salette did not identify herself in this way, but she did indicate her role: “I am here to tell you great news.” She identified herself, therefore, as God’s Messenger.
Isaiah describes himself in similar terms. He is sent by God to bring tidings, to proclaim, to announce.
What we do, however, does not define us completely.  When St. Paul encourages the Thessalonians to rejoice, to pray, to refrain from evil, there is an underlying reality that explains the doing, the role, the behavior. They are disciples of Jesus Christ, and therefore they live in a certain way.
That is Mary’s message at La Salette. The difference is that St. Paul was encouraging Christians who were aware of their identity, while Our Lady was speaking to those who had lost that sense of Christian identity, whose behavior contradicted it in many ways.
Conversion, a turning back, a return to a Christian way of life, might restore that identity. Mary promises that if her people are converted, their fields will again produce abundantly. In a mirror-image way, this would fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy: “As the earth brings forth its plants…, so will the Lord God make justice and praise spring up before all the nations.”
What all plants do, regardless of species, is to grow and produce fruit. That is the way God made them, and so they do God’s work. What true disciples of Christ do is to grow in their faith and produce fruits of righteousness, made holy and preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord. This is what God calls us to, it is his work and, as St. Paul writes, he will also accomplish it.
There should therefore be no difference between who we are and what we do. A poet named G.M. Hopkins wrote that everything in the universe cries out: “What I do is me: for that I came.” This applies to John the Baptist, to Mary and—why not?—to us.

Like King, Like Queen Father Rene Butler M.S. La Salkette Provincial
(Solemnity of Christ the King: Ezekiel 34:11-17; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28; Matthew 25:31-46)
Hungry, thirsty, naked, stranger, sick, in prison. That’s the checklist Jesus uses in the famous judgment scene in Matthew’s gospel. There is another list, in today’s reading from Ezekiel, where the Lord catalogues all the things he will do for his sheep which, as we find in the preceding verses (not included), the official shepherds have failed to do.
But, as with other lists in the Scriptures, these are not exhaustive. They point us in a certain direction and allow us to see beyond the list, to draw up “new, improved” lists according to the world we live in. This is exactly how many Religious Orders came into existence. Some literally feed the hungry and clothe the naked. Some meet other, equally urgent, needs.
Interestingly, though hunger and sickness are specifically mentioned in the message of La Salette, the perspective is quite different. There they are seen as the consequence of sin.
When people bring misfortune on themselves, we can be “judgmental,” content to blame them. But we are not dispensed from reaching out to them in their need. Jesus identifies himself with “the least,” the lowest of the low, whom we might think of as “those people.” What we do or fail to do—even for them—we do or fail to do for him. Jesus says that none of us has the right to look the other way when confronted by the essential needs of others.
Our Lady, whom we also call the “Queen of La Salette,” not content to blame her people, saw beyond their sufferings. She came to “seek out the lost and bring back the strayed,” (cf. Ezekiel) promising abundance “if they are converted.”
She spoke of Lent. How can we adopt Lenten practices, and not be aware of the death of children and the famines that continue to occur in our world? If we are converted, we will not turn a blind eye.
In the Gospel, it is clear that the failure to respond to the needs of others reflects a failure to grasp the full implications of discipleship.
Once again, the message of Our Lady of La Salette is remarkably close to the message of Christ. King and Queen are in perfect accord.

Mary Reaches out to us  Father Rene Butler M.S. La Salkette Provincial

(Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time: Proverbs 31:10-31; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6; Matthew 25:14-30)

The last verses of the Book of Proverbs are in praise of the “worthy wife.” Among other things, “She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy.”

This image reminds me of a bronze statue of Our Lady of La Salette, sculpted by Brother Juan Magro Andrés, M.S., depicting the precise moment when the Weeping Mother lifts her head from her hands, looks up at the two startled children on the hillside, and holds out her hands to them, saying, “Come closer, children, don’t be afraid.”

Mary reached out to them in their poverty and ignorance and, through them, to her People, also materially poor, and seemingly ignorant of the depths of their spiritual poverty.

In today’s parable we have a record of success and failure. Two servants are promoted for their successful investments. The third tries to justify himself, laying the blame on his master’s severity;  but he is rightly fired for incompetence.

We are quite willing to take credit for our well-being when all is well. But when life fails to meet our expectations, we are prone to blame. It’s someone else’s fault, even God’s.

At La Salette the Blessed Virgin spoke twice about those who abused the name of her Son—the cart-drivers in general, then the farmers whose potatoes were rotting in the ground. By using the Lord’s name they were blaming God for their troubles.

Mary tells us to look at ourselves. She speaks words we never like to hear: “It’s your own fault.”

In the message of La Salette, we have a record of failure and need—on two levels, material and spiritual—and a prospect of success and abundance.

The failure of crops was due to blight and bad weather. The failure of the people was on the level of faith. The Beautiful Lady draws the connection between these two kinds of poverty.

In reaching out to us, she offers a solution that we may sum up in the words of today’s Psalm: “Blessed are you who fear (i.e., deeply respect) the Lord, who walk in his ways!... Blessed shall you be, and favored.”