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Sunday, July 3, 2011

SOLT General Vicar Servant Investigates the Possibility of a Mission in Spain

The following article was taken from the Spring 2011 issue of the Communio, the official publication of SOLT and can be viewed HERE.

The words of our risen Savior “Go make disciples of all the nations,” inspires Our Lady’s Society in the fulfillment of her missionary mandate and outreach to bring the Good News of Salvation to all mankind.

In the fulfillment of the vision of Our Lady's Society, given to Father Flanagan, the Southwest (New Mexico) of the U.S. was to be the springboard to the evangelization of the Americas, the Philippines to Asia and the Pacific, and Spain, the springboard to Europe and Africa.

As General Vicar Servant, Fr. Vince Albano, is assigned “the responsility for ministries in missions and apostolates with special concern for education, planning, and evaluation.”

In carrying out this responsibility he was sent to Spain by Fr. Ogie, the General Priest Servant, to investigate and evaluate the needs of the local Church and look into the possibility of establishing a missionary work of Our Lady's Society.  After visiting eight different dioceses, Bilbao diocese in the northern Basque part of Spain and Coria-Caceres diocese in the mid western part, expressed very great desire to have Our Lady's Society come to serve.  The Diocese of Coria-Caceres was chosen because of its greater pastoral needs as well as their desire to have us come as soon as we were available.

The Bishop, Don Francisco Cerro Chaves is very active in promoting the apostolote of the laity in the spirit of Vatican II, and he recognizes the charism of serving together on ecclesial teams, as priests, religious, and laity as a very important and essential witness that is needed to inspire and encourage the laity in the living of their vocations as active members and “living stones” in building up the Church. There is also a great need of priests and religious because of a lack of vocations coming from faith-filled and loving families.  There are only 5 seminarians in theology and 6 in the minor seminary.  There are very few religious in pastoral work.  Older priests who have reached the age of 75 and 80 years old are still attending parishes because there are not enough younger priests to take their place.  So the needs are very great for such a Catholic country as Spain.

The very great light in the darkness, however is their great love and devotion to our Blessed Mother and Fr. Vince sees why Our Lady wants her Society to be in Spain.  Her very first shrine, Our Lady of Pilar, was established in Zaragoza by St James the Apostle himself.  Almost every place you go there is a shrine dedicated in her honor under a special title and celebrated with special feast days.  Each town has its own patron saint and a special devotion to Mary that are publicy celebrated.

A lot of interest in going to Spain and serving there has been expressed by members of Our Lady's Society and Fr. Vince will available at the International Assembly and Chapter to share more information with us and see if Our Lady is calling different SOLT members to become a pioneer and member of the ecclesial family team to Spain!