Monsignor Michael Palud – a knowledgeable priest whose many titles includes doctor of canon law, Vicar General of the Diocese of Mandeville, and Prior General of the Missionary Society of Mandeville – has gently corrected my earlier comments about how the society was founded out of the ashes of the Fils de Marie, which were based upon media reports I had read. (And before I forget, please check out the related Journey of a Young Priest blog – well worth reading for those following the LC situation). I apologize for the inaccuracies in my initial report, and appreciate Mgr. Palud taking time to correct the record (which I have bolded and italicized) and give CL readers a first-hand account of how his institute was founded – an experience that gives hope to those currently in LC/RC:
Interesting comment, although not totally accurate. Allow me to expand. Before the Fils de Marie saga broke out, indeed a few years before that, the officials of the Propagation of the Faith advised Bishop Boyle, former Superior General of the Passionists and First Bishop of Mandeville, that he might consider founding a missionary group of men dedicated especially for mission work in the Caribbean and to sustain the missionary works of the Diocese. I was his Vicar General at the time (and still am the Vicar General of the Diocese). I encouraged Bishop Boyle to go forward. He was touched by my enthusiasm, but said to me, “Mike, I am too old to begin something new, and then again, I would need a group of men to begin this.”
When the Fils de Marie became manifestly heretical, the Superior General–after the Doctrinal Note of 2000 bearing Cardinal Ratzinger’s signature was published–ordered all the Sons of Mary “back home” to Canada. Five Sons of Mary, including myself, left the institute and remained in the Diocese of Mandeville. We were just interested in continuing our lives as missionaries, under the guidance of our Bishop like all the other missionaries in the Diocese.
It was then that the BISHOP approached us and proposed to us the project which the authorities in Rome had nudged him to do a few years earlier. He first convoked me and asked me if I remembered what he had told me about this project. “Of course, I remember Your Excellency, I even pushed your Excellency to go forward with it.”
He replied, “Yes, that is correct. I was thinking of giving that project to you and your men [who left the Sons of Mary].”
I said to him, “If that is your intention, Your Excellency, you will have to speak with the men yourself.”
So, a few days later, he convoked us all to his office, thanked us for remaining faithful to the Church and the People of God then he sat us together and gave to all present what was to be our initial legislation [remember, Paul Boyle was an excellent canonist]. One of our members asked if we could reflect on this before embarking on this new venture he was proposing to us.Indeed, the separation from our Institute had been painful. Naturally he said yes and we took time to pray and discern. Then we said yes to this project.
Our charism of course is Passionist, Marian and Missionary. We have an excellent relationship with the Passionist General and of course with our new Bishop who is a Passionist. Indeed we are considered a “branch” of the Passionists (like there are many branches in the Franciscan family).
We are configured as a Diocesan Society of Apostolic Life. After our consent to his project, Bishop Boyle formally founded and established the Mission Society of Mandeville by episcopal Decree. He received the perpetual incorporation of the first members. He then appointed a Passionist as our first Master of Novices as vocations started coming to join us. The rest is history.
We run a high school, a home for abandoned children, two parishes, a mission station and we staff the Passionist Retreat House and do retreat work..A number of us occupy curial positions. As for me, I am still the Vicar General of the Diocese, another member is the Diocesan M.C. and Liturgy Director. Another member occupied the Office of Youth Ministry for a number of years. We are also involved in tertiary education within the Catholic College of Mandeville. Our life is totally “poured out” for the sake of he missions in this developing country.
Indeed, we would welcome anyone who is serious, hard-working, has a genuine love for the Eucharist, the Blessed Mother and the Magisterium (a good sensus Ecclesiae!), has a genuine sense of mission and being with the People of God, and ready to lay down his life in the Mission Lands forever by proclaiming the memory of the Passion to our People.
We have more work than we have men. We were asked to open in other areas of the Caribbean. So, anyone interested can petition, and we will help them in the process.
I just wanted to set the record straight that we did not intend to begin something new. We did not approach our Bishop. He approached us with this project, founded our Institute, guided us, presided the first General Chapter and obtained a first grant from the Propagation of the Faith to help us begin the Mission Society of Mandeville. He has left this world, but has left us a legacy intimately tied to mission life, passionist and marian spirituality.
Out of a terrible experience of death came new life. And I am grateful for it.
Monsignor Michael Palud, JCD
Vicar general of the Diocese
Prior General of the Mission Society
Again, thank-you Monsignor for correcting the record, fpr doing so with charity, and for giving hope to others now going through what you went through a decade ago. Now let’s see if we can net you some vocations!