525 - September 2012
July 4th, 2012 - August 29th, 2012



“Peter’s Community” has been born

After taking part for several years in the Young Life Group Kyrianos, five young people in our parish in Aluche have taken a step in mature faith by making a promise to live community life. On June 29, Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul Apostles, Diego, Veronica, Nacho, Teresa and Jose Luis began a fascinating journey of community life under the protection of St. Peter, the name chosen for the new community. Thank you for your generous response and may God take care of you always!

The parish is a community of communities. The parish in Aluche has several communities of young people trying to live the charism of the early Christian communities, following the spirituality of St. Eugene and the Oblates. The groups that become communities sign a pledge to stay closely linked with the different groups and communities of the parish. The Oblates follow their development by accompanying these young people and offering them a “different” way of being Christians in the world today. (www.omi.it)

“Toit pour Toi” in Nice

Fr. Grégoire SKICKI tells us of the origins of the project called the Association “Toit pour Toi” in Nice and how the project became a reality. [Editor’s note: The English translation of “Toit pour Toi” is “A roof for you” but the wordplay is lost in the translation!]

I lived for quite a while in the bush, in Cameroon. When I arrived in Nice, at first I was dazzled by the beauty of this city. But I was also very surprised. In Cameroon, a very poor country, there are no homeless. How could it be that in a city so rich and beautiful, there were so many street people?

“The beauty of a city,” said Abbé Pierre, “the beauty of a nation, is not in its gardens, its theaters, its museums, or even its cathedrals. It consists in having no slums; it consists in having no one who lives in destitution.”

With the “Toit pour toi” Association, therefore, we are working to beautify our city. We want to live something beautiful here.

This association originated in the fact that I wanted to be present to the destitute homeless. But I lived in an upscale, bourgeois neighborhood, a few dozen meters from the sea. And the Oblates’ house contained many unoccupied square meters. What could we do to be consistent with what we were? It was a simple reaction of solidarity. I was ashamed to tell my friends on the street that I lived in Rue de France!

The day care center run by Catholic Relief Services was full. They could only send the youngsters back to the street! And we lived in a largely unoccupied house. We had to do something.

So we decided, Jacques LANGLET and I, to create an association whose goal is to manage a temporary housing building. Jacques suggested that the association be called “Toit pour toi: we succeed together.” To be effective, more people were needed, competent people. Otherwise, it does more harm than good. Jacques, who works at the SAMU Social (emergency medical assistance service) handles the administrative and financial tasks.

The youth, whom we welcome for six months, must be seen by professionals: social workers, educators. It is a guarantee of success. If those whom we took in return after six months to their starting point, it would really be a failure. During these six months, something important happens in the lives of our youth. Six months should be enough for them to get moving, to stabilize their social position, find work and small but independent housing.

The Oblate community, which was scattered throughout the house, has regrouped, so as to free two floors. The first floor is common space, a place to live. This is where we meet: there is a lounge. This is where one can do laundry, cook, and eat together.

Five rooms have been set up on the second floor. Then another five on the third. Each room is painted with bright colors. It’s simple, clean, elegant. The project has been funded by the De Mazenod Foundation. We are grateful. And thanks also to the Oblate authorities of France who supported our project. (Audacieux pour l’Evangile, July 2012. See also an internet video in French: http://goo.gl/JRUzd)

Anniversary of martyrdom

July 24th marked 76 years since the martyrdom of seven Oblates and the father of a family, beatified last December. To commemorate such a significant date, various celebrations were organized in different places. Therefore, around July 24th, the town of Villaverde de Arcayos celebrated the blessed martyrs, Justo GONZÁLEZ and Pascual ALÁEZ; statues of the two were blessed and placed for the devotion of the people in their parish church. The Eucharist was presided by the Oblate Bishop Ramiro DÍAZ, a son of the same town. Joining him and other Oblates, some of whom were also born there, were numerous friends and family members of the two martyrs.

There was a Mass celebrated also in Santa Marina del Rey, this time presided by the diocesan bishop, recalling the martyr Juan Antonio PÉREZ. Although martyred in November, they also celebrated Blessed Gregorio ESCOBAR in Estella and in Prioro, Blessed Serviliano RIAÑO. In similar celebrations presided by their diocesan bishops or their parish pastors, the memory of other martyrs was celebrated. It is summertime in Spain and at this season, many go back to their hometown. For that reason, they chose these dates so that no one would miss the opportunity.

In our Oblate house in Pozuelo de Alarcón, a large group of the faithful and of Oblates also gathered to commemorate the martyrs. On the 24th, everyone wanted to be near the house of the martyrs to remember what happened there. The walls and rooms of the house still speak and give witness to the sacrifice of our martyrs: their oblation, their strong commitment to community, their Eucharist-centered prayer, their love and forgiveness of their enemies. Visiting these areas on pilgrimage has a major impact on all those who have the opportunity to do so. During the homily, mention was made of the testimony of Fr. Felipe DÍEZ, one of the survivors. The militants went about grabbing all the members of the community, one by one, pointing their weapons at them, and locking them in a small room. In passing, one of the formators invited them to make the act of contrition so as to receive general absolution. Fr. Felipe said: “I wanted to pray the prayer, Lord Jesus Christ, but I couldn’t get it out. Indeed, what came out were acts of love for God, of forgiveness for those who we thought were going to shoot us and offering my life for those who were killing us, for the Church and for Spain.”

To end the celebration at Pozuelo, all participants went to the monument, located outside of the house, which symbolically brings together and commemorates the martyrdom of our blessed brothers. There we renewed our baptismal promises, and each person could pray, asking for some special grace, while offering a lighted candle that was left in front of the main part of the monument. This consists of four large slabs of granite in which is carved a cross, surrounded by the names of all the martyrs, with the image of the Virgin Mary enshrined at the foot. All renewed their commitment to being witnesses of the love and forgiveness of Jesus at this time in the life of the Church, symbolized by a beautiful historic bell familiar also to the martyrs, and which rang out a beautiful sound as each of us was invited to renew our baptismal promises. The Litany of the Blessed Martyrs and the praying of the Salve completed this prayer which ended at the same time as the setting sun flashed red in the sky over Madrid. Blessed Oblate Martyrs of Pozuelo, pray for us.

Forming teenagers with TV series

In Florence, “Veronica Mars”, “Pushing Daisies”, “Friends,” “Chuck,” “Nip & Tuck”, “Flashforward”, “Glee,” and “Gilmore Girls” are no longer simply TV series. As of this year, they are also and especially the themes of days held for the youngest members of the Oblate youth group, MGC (Movimento Giovanile Costruire = “To Build” Youth Movement). Thanks to the world of series, they are learning to walk as human beings and as Christians in the world, inspired by scenes and main themes treated in the most famous series of last year, the daily bread of our adolescents.

In fact, the MGC of Florence has undertaken this project with the teens and leaders of various “post-confirmation” groups from different parishes. In November, it went into full swing with a day that was inspired by the series “Veronica Mars.” The message focused on the ability to be consistent and be able to fight for one’s ideals, as does the main character.

During a pizza party in December, on the other hand, “Pushing Daisies” had them thinking about the possibility of being life-giving through simple gestures and with the people they meet in everyday life.

The three-day event organized during the Christmas holidays led to the discovery of “Friends,” a TV series which served as a springboard for talking about friendship. Who are the real friends? What are some inherent “risks” that can shoot down the friendly relationships between man and man, man and woman, woman and woman?

January brought to the fore the adventures of “Chuck.” This allowed them to deal with the relationship between the real and the virtual, rather hot topics among the new generations, and the ability to build authentic relationships.

After the February break, the project was continued with “Nip & Tuck.” This TV series helped the young people address the relationship with their own body, emphasizing the importance of not continually seeking perfection, but simply appreciating the beauty (interior and exterior) that God has given us.

In April, “Flashforward” helped them to speak about God’s plan for each one and the importance of being attentive in order to understand it and make it happen.

In May, they considered the escapades of “Glee:” their dreams, ambitions, and successes, but also one’s relationship with self, with one’s own talents and weaknesses.

The concluding session in June, based on “Gilmore Girls,” helped them to focus on the theme of their relationship with their parents. (Taken from an article by Daniela Paoletti in www.omi.it)

An oasis for families

The Cana Oasis Association began in Palermo (Sicily) on November 11, 1984, at the initiative of Fr. Antonio SANTORO. It is an association of volunteers, of Christian inspiration, for the welcoming and training of individuals, couples and families.

Informal meetings at the beginning became, over the years, more and more organized training sessions as a service to the needs of the members of the group as well as of other couples. Thus, the Association, through the efforts of its enrolled members and people who share its aims and objectives, has designed and manages some ongoing service structures: family groups, programs for engaged couples, an Association Bulletin, a center for the integration and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities and support to their families, a solidarity fund to support needy families, a Center for Studies and Research on Individuals, Couples and Families..

The Association is meant specifically to serve the couple and the family: couples to couple, family to family, individuals working to bolster the reality of marriage and family. In this sense, worth special mention is the “Cana” Family Counseling Center, which is a counseling center of Christian inspiration and is part of the Regional Federation and the Italian Confederation of Family Consultants of Christian Inspiration. What motivates and guides the efforts of the counselors and serves as a basis for its methodology of intervention is a vision of the integral good of the human person and of the great values of family, of life, and of sexuality, enlightened by the wisdom of the Gospel, by the deeper view given by the Church’s Magisterium and by the wisdom of research in the field of human sciences.

The Counseling Center is located in the city of Palermo and its outreach covers a vast territory. Although it performs a service useful to the public, it receives no funding of any kind: to cover the costs of management and training, it requires the help of benefactors and, within the limits of their own ability, the clients themselves.

All those who work at the Counseling Center render their services as volunteers. The professional personnel are licensed in accordance with current norms. In addition to team work, the Counseling Center organizes, for the benefit of those providing psychological services, periodic monitoring by outside professionals and continuing education seminars. Psychologists who are interns in psychotherapy are monitored and supervised by an instructor.

There are over 30 staff members, including: a Church counselor for spiritual and family issues and for Canon Law concerning marriage, secretaries, psychologists/psychotherapists, a social worker, a gynecologist/sexologist, teachers of natural methods, a consultant for the promotion of breastfeeding, a civil lawyer, a pediatrician, an ear, nose and throat specialist, an orthopedic specialist, and a manager for administration.

The Cana Association has strong ties to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, not only because it was founded by Father Santoro, but because its basic commitment is to confront the many forms of poverty facing individuals, couples and families. The Association’s members -- from the first steps of the former “Cana Group” -- have almost unconsciously breathed, and in a various ways, assimilated the fundamental characteristics of the charism of St. Eugene: a passionate love for Christ and the Church, concern for the poor with their many faces, especially the “poverty” of married couples and families, a missionary zeal originating with the family, social responsibility, a family climate in the apostolate and other services. (www.oasicana.it)

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36th General Chapter 2016
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OMI Vocations
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Links to Other Oblate Sites
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