GENERAL ADMINISTRATIONCelebrating a new community
evening, February 22, I gave the obediences to all the members of the new
Oblate community in Aix en Provence in a simple and very beautiful ceremony
prepared by Father Saverio ZAMPA. The Oblates who make up the community at
Centre International de Mazenod are: Father Joseph BOIS (originally from the
Province of France); Brother Benoît DOSQUET
(also from the Province of France); Father Joseph LA BELLE (from the U.S.
Province); and Father Saverio Zampa (from the Mediterranean Province). At this
same time I installed Saverio as the new superior of the community. I am very
grateful to the Provincials of these Provinces who have generously worked
together with me to free up these men for Aix.
was in the Oblate chapel at 60 Cours Mirabeau. There were about fifty lay
people present who are closely associated to the Oblates and known as the
“Famille Mazenodienne.” This was a celebration of gratitude and joy for an
historic moment, the beginning of this Oblate community under the General
Administration. There are many people who have worked on this project from the
previous administration right up to the present and I am very grateful to
everyone who helped to make this happen.
celebration, the Oblates received their obediences and renewed their vows. Together
with the lay people present, we consecrated our lives to Mary Immaculate. The
evening concluded with a reception in which I met many of the “Famille
Mazenodienne” who are lay people close to the Oblates including some relatives
of the Founder. They have been an immense help to us during this time of
transition. Throughout the reception I was pleased to hear how happy the laity
are now because the community is in place. Once again, there is a lively Oblate
community presence in the house.
I had the opportunity to spend four days with the community. Three days were spent in a very rich time of reflection, sharing and prayer among the four Oblates and me. This new community is an important commitment for the General Administration and a special missionary outreach to the entire Congregation and to lay people associated with the charism. On the last day I was there, Friday the 22nd, I was given a tour of the house to see the work that has been done and is to yet be completed. It is expected that the renovations will be finished by mid to end of April. There is a beautiful simplicity to the renovations and the materials and colors chosen create a serene atmosphere.
After seeing the work done in the house, we went to Marseille for a visit to the tomb of Saint Eugene to dedicate this new beginning to his care. Gathered around his tomb we read his well-known homily for the First Sunday of Lent, 1813, had a time for prayer and sang the Salver Regina. We prayed for the future of this community and for the Congregation throughout the world. (Louis LOUGEN, Superior General)