523 - June 2012
May 3rd, 2012 - May 25th, 2012

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Obra: Mission Circles

Are seminarians still interested in the missions? That question was the focus of a gathering at the Oblates’ scholasticate in Obra on April 21, 2012. It was a meeting of seminary Mission Circles under the auspices of the Theology Faculty of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan.

Although it was an informal event, it attracted a large number of seminarians as well as members of the Student Mission Circle from AMU. The program included lectures on missionary spirituality, a missiology workshop and the sharing of experiences by seminarians and students from the various Mission Circles.

Special guests included some Oblate mission procurators and missionaries, among them, Oblate Frs. Marian LIS (missionary in Madagascar) and Mariusz BOSEK (missionary in Uruguay), as well as Fr. Szymon Stulkowski, PhD (theology professor at Adam Mickiewicz University and chaplain of the Student Mission Circle). In addition to the planned activities, there were many interesting conversations, reminiscing about old missionary experiences and a tasting of the “yerba mate” tea, a common drink in Uruguay. Present also was Bishop Jerzy Mazur, President of the Polish Bishops’ Commission for the Missions. In his address to those gathered he expressed his joy and appreciation for such initiatives. (Jacek ZIOMEK -- www.oblaci.pl)



Guitars in the land of the Vikings

The scholastics in Obra, Poland, have a band they call “Guitars of the Immaculate.” It began in 1970. Over the past 42 years, the members have changed many times. Their main purpose is to evangelize through song. They have produced several tapes and two CDs and have given concerts in Poland and abroad.

After a year’s break, with new members in tow, they recently resumed their activities. Their first show saw them setting out literally into deep water as they crossed to the other side of the Baltic Sea -- to Norway. The young Oblates were introduced to a country famous for its fjords, its forests and its salmon. Today’s descendants of the Vikings in Catholic parishes constitute but one part of a multicultural mosaic, largely Asian in composition.

As usual, the scholastics toured Polish communities. This time, however, they met new challenges, among others, conducting meetings in English for other ethnic groups. In the Church in Scandinavia, the Oblate parishes are made up of faithful from Norway and Sweden, but also from various Asian countries, Croatia, Spain, South America and some European countries, especially Poland. The activities of the team are more evangelical and catechetical than artistic, but they were able to offer new arrangements of some well-known songs. The group was accompanied by Fr. Sebastian LUSZCZKI, one of the formators from Obra, who preached on vocations.

Why Norway? The invitation came from Fathers Roman KUNKEL and Piotr PISARK, Oblates working in the Swedish-Norwegian district of the Polish Province of the Oblates. Fr. Roman had previously hosted “Guitars of the Immaculate” twice, in Landskron, Sweden, in 2009. This time, the young Oblates visited such places as Askim, Moss, Fredrikstad and Halden, from April 28 till May 1. (Jacek ZIOMEK in www.oblaci.pl)



Fr. Pierre Babin: 1925-2012

Fr. Pierre BABIN, world-renowned author, professor and promoter of the media as a means of evangelization, died in Lyon on May 9, 2012, at the age of 87.

He had taught at universities in Lyon, Paris (France), Strasbourg (France), as well as St. Paul's University, Ottawa (Canada) and the University of Dayton (Ohio) and St. Thomas University (Florida) in the United States. Internationally, he was known for his innovative vision for defining a new approach to catechesis in a media age. He founded an international research and training center in religious communications - CREC AVEX, Ecully (Lyon).

The work of Fr. Babin continues in France: a team of volunteers organizes sessions for the formation of seminarians, especially in Africa. For the past two years, sessions have taken place in Burkina Faso, in Togo, in South Africa and in Zambia. These sessions are supported and funded by the Society of St. Peter the Apostle. Another session, funded by CREC, was organized for the bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo. These sessions utilize the symbolic method invented by Pierre Babin. 

The website of the Talbott School of Theology in Los Angeles, California, has a brief biography of Fr. Babin in which it says: “As a man of faith, he was driven by a concern to communicate the message - the whole message of the Good News - to adolescents who are far more impressed by sights and sounds than by words. He embraced an adaptive stance to the changing media times with prophetic vision. He knew we have to break out of circles that confine our vision. It is impossible to enter into the digital world without breaking out of the print-oriented universe. One of Babin's mantras has been ‘It is impossible to have a real intercultural communication in the electronic age without leaving your country and your kindred and your father's house’ (Gen 12:1). Becoming a full person in the electronic age is not playing with the emerging new digital tools but being born to new depths of humanity for which our previous education has not prepared us. By 1975, he was one of the most acknowledged authorities in the Church on audiovisual catechetics. Still, early in the 21st century and in his early 80’s, he continued to query, explore and imagine the influence of social networking for communicating faith in a digital age.” (Pierre Babin by Angela Zukowski)



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