LATIN AMERICACOLOMBIA: Living the Chapter at the prenovitiate in Bogotá
During the 35th General Chapter of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the community of the Oblate prenovitiate in Bogotá was in constant prayer, with the participation of all its members.
These moments of prayer were not only constant but also intense. We also invited the ladies who live near our house of formation, as well as some friends, especially the members of the Oblate friends’ club in Niza Antigua. We truly lived the Chapter with enthusiasm, even though we were more than seven hours of time difference from the locale of the Chapter itself; yet we heard the summons of the Lord Jesus, calling us to the most important gathering in Oblate life. It was a moment of communal life as we gathered around Jesus Christ (as in the scene from the Acts of the Apostles) to learn about the norms of the community.
We learned how much our neighbors and friends appreciate the Oblates, even more so during the Chapter, since they asked about the community and what the capitulars were experiencing. They also expressed their affection for Fr. Hérick, wondering how he was doing in the Eternal City of Rome and how he was doing at the Chapter.
Throughout all of this, as prenovices, we were proud to be part of this community and we can testify that the Oblates of Colombia, in their mission, are little by little imprinting in the heart of the neighbors and friends of the prenovitiate of Niza Antigua a very large mark of God’s love.
During the Chapter, we prenovices held a day of retreat with the postulants from Calvo Sur. It was a good time to talk about the nature of a General Chapter and what they were discussing in the chapter assembly at the Casa La Salle in Rome. For us prenovices, it was moment of renewal of our vocational commitment through our sharing and the strengthening of our fraternal and communal bonds.
At home, during the whole Chapter, our prayer and the daily Eucharist were offered for the intention of the Chapter and the whole Congregation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Thanks to the online coverage of the Chapter, the news, updated daily by those responsible for the web page of the Oblates, was a means by which we felt connected to the reality of the Chapter. It was awesome, the way all the news was provided in a timely fashion and the way that communications within and beyond the Chapter were handled. We really felt very proud of the human talents we have in the Congregation.
Finally, during the retreat preceding the election of the new Superior General, we too were able to pray that the Holy Spirit would enlighten the voters to make the right decision about who would direct the course of the Oblate family which some day, our father, St. Eugene de Mazenod, will reunite in the community of the Lord Jesus so as to receive the crown of glory. (Marlon David Espitaleta Mejía, Prenovice OMI-Bogotá, in the Boletín Institucional, November/December 2010)