EUROPENational gathering of the Oblate family
The Spanish laity of the “Oblate Family” (which they prefer to call themselves rather than “Lay Associates) held a meeting in Pozuelo (Madrid) from 24 to 27 February 2011. There were about 75 present, many of them young people, plus some Oblates. Oblation, as an aspect of the Oblate charism, was the central theme. Understandably, the topic included, as an example of complete oblation, martyrdom and the Oblate Martyrs of Pozuelo. Fr. Joaquín MARTÍNEZ, Postulator General, was one of the speakers. At the request of the organizers, he gave an update on the beatification to be held in Madrid, probably in late November of this year 2011. After his impassioned speech, he requested the collaboration of Oblate laity to prepare this event. Several have given their names as volunteers to form the various committees. The Postulator also used his visit to coordinate with the Archbishop of Madrid specific details for this celebration.
At the age of 150, Eugene de Mazenod is going on a pilgrimage. Since last March 6, Eugene, accompanied by the Oblates, has begun to go as a pilgrim to some of the Roman Catholic parishes in southern Romania.
His age could be a hindrance, but in his case, it should be different, since on May 21, it will be 150 years since his birth into Heaven. Indeed, the Founder of the Oblates will celebrate his 150th birthday in authentically missionary style.
The visit of a saint should be exciting for Catholics, but in the case of Eugene, that is not so. The reactions are much more subdued, mainly because people do not know him. If he worked more miracles, he would probably be more popular. The first thing to do, then, is to tell who Eugene de Mazenod is. We begin with a screening of the movie “Eugene, a heart as big as the world,” realized by Angelica Ciccone. The video is an introduction to his life story, and during the homily, an Oblate focuses on one aspect of his life or his spirituality.
After this introduction, there follow the intercessory prayers for the needs of humanity and especially for families in need. One who has experienced the pain of separation in his family is proposed as an intercessor for those living in times of crisis. Then, after communion, the congregation turns to him in prayer and at the end of the celebration, they are invited to kiss his relic.
For the occasion, the Oblates have transformed the comic book “Eugene de Mazenod, Heart of Fire,” written by Antonio Perera and drawn by Juan Manuel Cicuéndez, into a delightful semi-animated cartoon. The first part is offered to the children to show how Eugene, as a boy, was able to move others in the light of the Gospel.