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.

Open by appointment

Reflections from the Shrine ...


      Why are you here? I know you are here to come to Mass. As a good Catholic, you want to participate at Mass.  It is part of your obligation as a Catholic. But I am asking a bigger question. Why are you here in this world? For what reason are you alive and still kicking?

      Do not say it is to watch the super bowl with the Patriots this Sunday. Perhaps that will bring some excitement and enjoyment sharing the game with  family and friends. Really - what is the purpose of your  existence? Why do you have a place in this sometimes confusing but still  beautiful world? It is a fundamental  question we all  need  to answer.

      Jesus has a clear answer to that question in today's Gospel. When Simon and some of his  fellow disciples go out  looking for Jesus early  in the morning to bring him back to their village, he has a clear response.  "He  told them, 'Let us go on to the nearby villages that I  may preach there also.  For this purpose I have  come."  He had success  healing and preaching in one village. The people loved him and probably wanted him to stay. But no, it was time to go, to move  on to other places that needed his compassion and powerful  preaching.

      As one commentary says: "His ministry  is not to  restore bodies to health but to restore spirits to wholeness." Simon's mother-in-law is a good example. He healed her of her fever. However the Scripture continues:  "Then the fever left  her and  she waited on them."  Jesus attended to her physical illness but also restored her desire and  energy to  get up and serve the people in the house of her son-in-law Simon.

      We read of the enthusiasm of Saint Paul in his letter to the Corinthians to be busy about preaching to a whole variety of people, both  weak and strong:  "To the weak I became weak, to win over the  weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some.  All this I do for the sake of the gospel,  so that I too may have a share  in it."

      So I return to that important question: Why are you here?  Perhaps you are not called to preach as a priest from the pulpit with a microphone.  But as  Followers as Jesus are we not all called to preach  the Good  News by the example of  our lives? That is  true - as parents,  teachers, truck drivers, construction workers, students - no matter what is our vocation. Underneath it all, that is our purpose in life.

      Perhaps, especially as Lent approaches we too, like Jesus,  need to get away to "a deserted  place" to think and pray about that question. Why am I here?  What is the purpose of my life?

      As Lent quickly approaches, I plan on offering a Scripture reflection again, on the Mass readings, on Tuesday mornings in the cafeteria from 10 AM to 11:30AM with a coffee and snack included. If you would like to be part of it, mark your calendars and plan to attend. It will begin on the morning of February 27th and end on March 27th.

                                                                                 Father John Sullivan M.S.       


      A few weeks ago, on January 15th, we  celebrated the memory of Martin Luther  King. When he  stood up to speak, whether it  was at the Lincoln Memorial  where he gave his famous  "I have a Dream" speech or a Baptist  Church in Montgomery, Alabama,  people were quiet and listened. That was  because  he spoke with authority; he practiced what he preached; as  Alcoholics Anonymous says: "He did  not just talk the talk,  but he walked the walk."

      In the opening lines of today's Gospel we read:  "The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as  one  having authority  and not as  the scribes."  What was the difference between Jesus and the Scribes?  They knew the  Scriptures in their  minds and  they could  preach about  it with clarity. But often they said one thing and practiced another.  There was division between their words and their actions.

      But not with Jesus.   Even in the synagogue, a place of prayer, there  was a man with an unclean spirit.  Jesus healed him with his  brief but powerful words: "Quiet!  Come out of him." In this way  Jesus  showed the compassion of God, in both Word and deed.

        Again on the question of the great authority of Jesus, we read:  "All were amazed and  asked one another, what is this? A new  teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and  they obey  him."

      That is  because Jesus is the real deal. There  is nothing  false or duplicitous about  him. He practices what he preaches and preaches what he practices.  That is  true where ever he is,  whether in the Synagogue in Capernaum or on the hillside multiplying loaves of bread for the people to  have their strength with food  for the journey home. It is also with all types of people, be it his own disciples or the poor,  the lame, and the blind.

      Jesus gives us the tremendous challenge to live with the same  "authority" in our lives. As Christians  we need to ask  Jesus  to  heal the "unclean spirit" in our own lives - the jealousy, the resentments,  the pride  - that can so easily separate us  not only from God  but also from the people that are important to us.  Then as the healing continues to take place in our own lives by God's grace,  we are better able to  be messengers of healing to the wounded people that God sends into our lives. The refrain in today's readings  from Psalm 95 says it so well:  "If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts."

      Just a reminder - the beginning of  Lent is  just a few weeks away.  How are you going to use this special  time of penance, prayer and alms giving to grow deeper in your relationship with God  and with others?

                                                                                    Father John Sullivan  M.S.       


      We are less than a month away from the beginning of Lent - which is  February 14th - Ash Wednesday. It is humorous because Ash Wednesday this year falls on Valentine's Day. The  day we begin to fast and pray with a special intensity is also the  day we honor the love of our lives, be it our spouse or a special boy friend  or girl  friend.

      However we can find  meaning  in that if we realize  that any loving relationship takes time to grow and mature, be it with a girl friend or with Jesus Himself.  True love is a lot more than flowers and a box of  chocolates. As we know, love is a decision we  need to make over and over again,  on the bright sunny days  as well as  the dark nights of strong winds and pouring rain.

      In today's Gospel we see Jesus reaching out in love to call  His first disciples: " Jesus said to them,  'Come after me, and  I will  make you fishers of men.' Then they abandoned their nets and followed him."

      It is still  a surprise to me that Jesus  chose hardworking fishermen  who were fixing their nets by the Sea of Galilee.  He did not call people with a good education or those in powerful  political positions but common fishermen. It also seems there must have  been something awesome or very compelling about Jesus. It took  only one call to leave everything, although perhaps they had some previous  contact with Jesus when they were together in the company  of John the Baptist who had recently been arrested. Looking down the road, we  see how that call of Jesus truly transformed their whole lives.  They certainly had their doubts and even later denials,  but in the end, to follow Jesus, they gave up their very lives by their own deaths on a cross.

      What about us?  Where are we in our  response to the call of Jesus Our Lord?  It is clear that the more we listen to the call  of  Jesus and obey Him, the more it really transforms our lives. Saint  Paul  gives us a wakeup call  in the second reading when he writes: "I tell you,  brothers and sisters, the time is running out……………For the world in its present form is passing away."

      We know that living a love filled life is  very difficult. But yet with all  its struggles, we also are aware that there is no better choice  to be made.  Like the hearts  so common on Valentine's Day, we know deep down in our  own hearts,  we do not have to do it alone. Jesus has all the grace we need.

      In the quiet of winter we continue to ask your prayer for the full recovery of Brother David's health and all family and friends who are dealing with health issues. We also encourage you to find  a book perhaps in our gift  shop that would make for good spiritual reading  as we begin to prepare for another Lenten Season and the new challenges of 2018.

                                                                                         Father John Sullivan M.S.     

Ouch!  Father Rene Butler M.S. La Salette Provincial  

Fifth Sunday of Easter: Acts 9:26-31; 1 John 3:18-24; John 15:1-8)

After Saul encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus, he remained blind, and had to be led by hand into the city. The Lord sent a certain Ananias to pray over him and restore his sight. Ananias objected, “I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones;” but Jesus answered, “I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.”

In our first reading we see what Jesus meant. Saul is at first shunned by the Christians of Jerusalem; and even once he is accepted by them, the former persecutor is himself persecuted and must flee.

Saul, later known as Paul, would go on to produce abundant fruits of grace. But, as a new branch on the vine of Christ, he had to be pruned. Ouch! that hurts!

No one can be said to enjoy this part of discipleship, but it is inescapable. In the message of Our Lady of La Salette, her first words after calling the children to her, are, “If my people refuse to submit…” Submit? Ouch! No , thank you.

But when St. John tells us to love in deed and in truth, isn’t he saying fundamentally the same thing? It is easy to utter loving words, but putting love into practice puts serious demands on us. We are to love one another as Jesus commanded us.

Jesus presents the same thought in a very different way: “Remain in me as I remain in you... Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither,...thrown into a fire.” Ouch!

It was clear to Our Lady that her people had not remained in her Son. Like any mother who sees her children not living in harmony, she was pained by  the situation, and decided to do something about it, in order to ease their suffering

In the message of our heavenly Queen, there is much that can cause us pain and remorse. It is meant to be medicinal, its goal is healing.

We are in the Easter season, but did you notice that our responsorial Psalm is the same one as on Palm Sunday? Today we have the joyful conclusion of that Psalm, such a contrast to its opening cry of despair. Another Psalm puts it more concisely: “At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing.”


Facts of Life ... Father Rene Butler M.S. La Salette Provincial  
(Third Sunday of Easter: Acts 3:13-19; 1 John 2:1-5; Luke 24:35-48)
St. Peter takes a conciliatory approach in addressing those who crucified Jesus: “You acted out of ignorance.” And he offers them the prospect of having their sins wiped away.
St. John writes something similar to his Christian community. He takes for granted that they will commit sin, and assures them that they have an advocate, Jesus, who will not only plead their cause but is himself expiation for their sins.
Neither Peter nor John is remotely suggesting that it is all right to sin. That would be like saying it is all right to drink poison as long as you have the antidote.
Continuing the health analogy, it is a fact of life that people do eat things that are bad for them, or neglect things that are good for them. Diabetics can find it hard to resist sweets; overweight persons may be unwilling to exercise. So, too, a “besetting sin” can have tremendous power over us.
Peter and John were realists. They understood human nature, and recognized that sin is a fact of life. They also realized that sin should not lead to despair. Peter knew this from personal experience. He denied Jesus. Afterward he proclaimed him to any who would listen.
Ignorance and doubt are also a fact of life. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus’ has trouble convincing the disciples that it really is he standing there, and finally he proves it by eating baked fish. At the same time he, too, points to the gift of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
At La Salette, Mary is painfully aware of the reality of sin. Her list of offences is not exhaustive, but enough to indicate the nature of the sins that cause her the deepest concern. Here, too, there is no need to despair. “If they are converted,” is a turning point in her discourse.
In all of the above, the promise is based on the Passion and Resurrection of Christ. That is why Jesus draws attention to his hands and feet, rather than his face, to verify his identity. That is why the Beautiful Lady wears a large crucifix. He who conquered death can surely conquer sin.
Yes, sin is a fact of life. But thanks to Peter and John and Luke, and Our Lady of La Salette, we are reminded of another fact of life, which we call hope.

 Imperfect Faith ... Father Rene Butler M.S. La Salette Provincial  

Second Sunday of Easter: Acts 4:32-35; 1 John 5:1-6; John 20:19-31)

The end of Chapter 4 of the Acts of the Apostles paints a picture of the first Christians as a perfect society. Chapter 5, however begins with the story of a couple who tried to perpetrate a fraud on the community, and Chapter 6 describes quarrels over the distribution of the donations brought to the apostles.

And in the Gospel, we find Thomas refusing to trust the other apostles.

This is not so surprising. Even today there are strong differences of opinions, and sometimes conflicts, among Christians. These have led to tragic divisions.

We are divided among ourselves because we are divided within ourselves. In other words, all of us are—and each of us is—always in need of conversion and reconciliation. None of us will ever be able to say, Now I’m perfect. But help is always available.

The Christian community in Acts received the grace it needed to overcome situations dangerous to their unity. Thomas received from Jesus himself the help he needed in his moment of crisis.

The first major divisions in the Church had begun in the fourth century, over matters of doctrine. Was Jesus really God? What does the Church believe about the Holy Spirit? The Nicene Creed goes back to those times.

Fast-forward to 1846. The grace of La Salette was given to the Church in response to a new danger, worse even than doctrinal differences. People had stopped caring about such things. They had become indifferent to doctrine, to the commandments, and to the practice of their faith. Either they had rejected these things outright, or they had simply drifted away from them.

Mary was rightly concerned about the impact of all this on her people. They could not afford to sever their relationship with her Son, their Savior.

At Mass, before the sign of peace, we pray, “Look not on our sins but on the faith of your Church.” Our sins and the faith of your Church refer to the same group of people. We are sinners, we are Church. These are not mutually exclusive.

Imperfect and weak our faith may be, but it is real and can grow if we will let it. That is the Beautiful Lady’s hope—and ours—as she calls us to reconciliation.

Paradoxical ... Father Rene Butler M.S. La Salette Provincial  


(Palm Sunday: Mark 11:1-10; Isaiah 50:4-7; Philippians 2:6-11; Mark 14:1—15:47)

The readings for Palm Sunday create unexpected pairings  In the first Gospel passage, Jesus is recognized by the crowd as the one who comes in the name of the Lord, before whom they shout ‘Hosanna.’  Later the crowd clamors for his crucifixion. On Calvary, the Roman centurion supervising the crucifixion of Jesus comes to believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

The Psalm, which begins with a famous cry of despair, ends on a note of exultation. God’s servant described by Isaiah is treated shamefully, yet firmly believes he will not be put to shame.  And St. Paul portrays Jesus as emptying and humbling himself, obedient to the point of death, but also as exalted, given a name above all other names—Lord.

It ought not to surprise us to find similar pairings at La Salette. Mary appears in heavenly light, but she weeps.  She speaks of the dire consequences of lost faith, and yet does so with infinite gentleness. She gives an important mission to two children who can scarcely make sense of what she has said to them.

When we look at the Church, we find much the same. The brilliant English author G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936) pointed out many paradoxes which one finds in the Church: variously criticized as “the enemy of women, and their foolish refuge;” a“solemn pessimist and a silly optimist,” who produced “fierce crusaders and meek saints;” the list goes on at some length. He sums up his thoughts with the central paradox of Christian theology: “Christ was not a being apart from God and man, like an elf, nor yet a being half human and half not, like a centaur, but both things at once and both things thoroughly, very man and very God.”

This pairing of “true man and true God” is indeed at the very center of our faith. Hard as it is to understand, we proclaim it in our creed.

These are not simply theological musings. They say a  lot about us as well. As Christians we are a paradox; we are aware of the contradictions within ourselves, sinners and saints that we are, individually and as Church. The La Salette call to conversion must be taken seriously, but we will never be able to say: Now I am holy. And yet we do not despair of reaching that goal under the watchful eye of the Beautiful Lady.