FATHER GENERAL’S INTERCHAPTER LETTER TO THE CONGREGATION
Dear Brother Oblates,
Easter joy! The Interchapter is taking place in Bangkok, Thailand from April 22nd to May 3rd. As you know, this is a time to see what we have done to fulfill the mandate of the 2010 Chapter and on all the work that still remains to be done. During these days we will also begin the remote preparation for the Chapter of 2016.
I am here in Bangkok, Thailand with the members of the Central Government for the Joint Session with the Asia/Oceania Region. About 25 of us have been gathered since Sunday, April 14th. The Central Government members visited the various Units of the Asia/Oceania Region before the Joint Session. This is a huge and diverse Region and there is much Oblate history, mission and life here.
The great call of the 2010 Chapter, Conversion, is the substantial work that all of us have been called to embrace. Is conversion an intangible reality that evades evaluation? What have been the signs of conversion in my life? How have Oblate communities grown in missionary zeal and holiness in response to conversion? Have Oblate Units become more united in charity and more faithful to our mission? Has the call to conversion helped us be closer to the poor, more committed to them, more creative and audacious in the proclamation of the Good News? The Oblate Units of the Asia/Oceania Region at this Joint Session reported some of the good fruit of conversion in Oblate religious life (renewed apostolic community life through prayer and meetings; transparency and accountability in finances) and in the missionary thrust (mission planning and focused priorities).
Please pray for the grace of conversion for all the members of the Congregation. The Holy Spirit has been moving us to embrace a deep conversion, a “second conversion” as Father Jetté wrote in 1981. We have been responding to this call and this is the work of the Spirit. In this Easter season let us ask the Risen Lord to open us to a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I invite us to take the Chapter booklet and allow the calls to question us. We ask God for new minds and new hearts so that we will be that corps of apostolic men characterized by charity, unity, zeal for the poor, holiness of life and a daring spirit.
Please pray for the members of the Interchapter that we may be open to the Spirit’s breath of new life and that the service of authority and leadership we exercise will be the fruit of conversion. We have a wonderful example of this in Pope Francis. Wherever I have gone since the Holy Father’s election, Oblates have said to me that the Pope is an incentive to our conversion. His witness is a call to be simpler, to be humble, to be poor and to be missionaries close to the poor. Our 2010 General Chapter called us to this and now the striking example of the Holy Father is touching us. This is the movement of the Spirit. Let us welcome this new spirit!
With love and prayer in Jesus Christ and Mary Immaculate,
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