ASIA-OCEANIAOblate Bishop slightly injured in bombing
The suicide bombing that, after the elections in Pakistan, hit the police station in Quetta, capital of the troubled province of Baluchistan, also had a major impact on the small Christian community. As reported to Fides by the local Church, the car stuffed with 2,000 kilograms of explosives, detonated in the evening of May 12 at 10:45, causing eight deaths and 97 wounded. It also damaged the nearby structure of the Catholic Church.
The Apostolic Vicar of Quetta, Bishop Victor GNANAPRAGASAM, who was sleeping in his room, was hit by the glass from the window and suffered minor injuries. The doors and windows of the convent’s chapel were broken. The doors, windows and walls of the Bishop’s house, of the Caritas office, the schools and the convent of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate are badly damaged. Catholic schools run by missionaries and nuns are currently closed and will remain uninhabitable for about a week, to remove debris and check the stability of the school complex.
The Bishop is back to work, but the missionaries expressed to Fides great fear and asked for help in the restoration of the damage. Oblate Fr. Renard LAWRENCE, who lives and works in the structure affected, explained to Fides that “the attack was linked to electoral violence. Now we hope to return to a peaceful and constructive climate for the development of the society in Beluchstan.” (Fides News Agency, 15/05/13)
A state of the
art library in Killinochchi, North Sri Lanka was officially inaugurated in
February of 2013. The library center was a wonderful initiative of Fr.
Jeevendra PAUL, Grant Director at the Oblate General House in Rome, and the
Oblates of Jaffna, in partnership with Lebara Foundation, UK. It is a vitally
important development in the rebuilding of the north after a devastating civil
The Lebara Library will maintain an important collection of books, journals and reference materials for the use of the children and adults of the community. A language lab will assist the children and adults to become competent in English as a second language. Other foreign languages will be added according to need.
The Information Technology (I.T.) Unit consisting of twenty-eight computers offers access to the Internet and web, an essential element in meeting the demands of a globalized world.
I.T. Professionals will be available to assist students to learn the basics and advanced skills required for proficiency in computer technology. The Library facility includes an auditorium and two lecture halls that will be utilized for tuition, seminars, lectures and interactive programs with social relevance.
The Centre will also be utilized for mentoring and guidance to enable the children and adults to facilitate progress in their studies and integrate within their resettlement communities. A bus is provided for access to ERC to children of remote villages, schools and institutions.
Additional meeting rooms will be available for organizations for conferences, workshops and interactive programs for the betterment of the community. (OMI JPIC Outreach)
Caritas in Quetta, charitable arm of the Apostolic Vicariate of Quetta, capital of Baluchistan province, has sent a team of volunteers in the district of Mashkail, an area hard hit by the earthquake on April 16 which devastated the southeast of Iran and the southwest of Pakistan. The Apostolic Vicar of Quetta is Oblate Bishop Victor GNANAPRAGASAM.
As reported to Fides by missionary Fr. Renald LAWRENCE, Procurator of the Vicariate, Caritas has prepared a first shipment of humanitarian aid consisting of 150 tents, 150 hygiene kits, 150 food rations that will reach 150 families, including 1,500 internally displaced persons. “The city of Mashkel, on the border with Iran,” the missionary told Fides, “is deserted. Nearly all the houses collapsed or were damaged. In a few seconds a dust storm covered the entire city, which had 4,500 inhabitants. More than 1,500 people are homeless in Mashkel. There is an acute shortage of doctors and medicines, as there is no hospital in the area. The people engaged in the removal of debris are in difficulty due to the lack of machinery and labor. There are many wounded, many of whom have been moved to other districts.”
In the area dozens of villages were destroyed. According to the “Disaster Management Agency” there are about 40 confirmed deaths and 200 are wounded, but the toll is set to rise: 25 people are missing. The Civil Protection of Pakistan has sent rescue teams, with food and medicine. The displaced are spending the night outdoors. Immediate needs are drinking water, tents, blankets and food. (Fides Agency, 22/04/13)
The missionary zeal planted by St. Eugene de
Mazenod in his children’s heart has brought the Oblates to preach Jesus Christ
in many difficult places around the world – including Indonesia.
The first delegation of Australian Oblates arrived at the Diocese of Purwokerto, Central Java, on 25 October 1971. Frs. Patrick MORONEY, David SHELTON, Patrick SLATTERY and John Kevin CASEY started working in the Diocese of Purwokerto in 1972, then in the Archdiocese of Jakarta in 1975. Seeing the chance of developing Oblate vocations among Indonesian youth, in 1982 the Oblates opened a seminary; in 1985, they opened a novitiate. Both formation houses are located in Yogyakarta.
The first delegation of French Oblates arrived in the Diocese of Sintang, West Kalimantan (Borneo), on 25 January 1977. Frs. Andre HEBTING, Jean-Pierre MEICHEL, Rene COLIN, Bernard KERADEC, Jacques CHAPUIS, Jean SUBRA and Lucien BOUCHARD were missionaries expelled from Laos when the country fell to the Communists. On 30 August 1977, these Oblates began their work at the Diocese of Sintang, West Kalimantan, breaking through forests and traveling down the rivers to find souls who longed to meet our Lord.
The first Delegation of Italian Oblates reached
the Diocese of Samarinda, East Kalimantan (Borneo), on 25 April 1977. Frs. Giuseppe REBUSSI, the Superior of the
Delegation, Fr. Pietro Maria BONOMETTI, Natalino BELINGHERI, Antonio BOCCHI,
Angelo ALBINI, Mario BERTOLI and Pancrazio DI GRAZIA were also missionaries
expelled from Laos. They
were entrusted the development of the northern part of the Diocese of
Samarinda. On 09 January 2002, the Holy See announced the birth of a new
diocese, the Diocese of Tanjung Selor. This was a great grace from God to
celebrate the silver jubilee of the Oblates’ work in East Kalimantan.
Three delegations of Oblates from 3 different provinces
worked in Indonesia, in the unreachable parts of the country. A good
communication was established among the 3 delegations, but there was a yearning
to be united – to be one in their work, to be one Oblate Missionary Community,
especially as the number of Indonesian youth who would like to be Oblates was
increasing. The yearning to be united was proposed in a meeting in the
Philippines, which was attended by Father General, Marcello ZAGO, members of the
General Administration, the provincials of the Asia-Oceania Region, and the superiors
from the 3 delegations who worked in Indonesia. An encouraging response was
given by Father General who then visited the mission fields of the Oblates in
Indonesia. The positive results of the visit made the desire for unity more
In August 1992, a Congress for all Oblates in Indonesia took place in Sanggau, West Kalimantan, resulting in a final decision to be united as the OMI Province of Indonesia. Father General and his Council officially received the results of the Congress and prepared for the birth of a new province in the Congregation. Father General officially appointed Fr. Mario BERTOLI as the first Provincial of the Province of Indonesia, and Frs. John Kevin CASEY, Bernard KERADEC, Natalino BELINGHERI and Gregorius Basir KARIMANTO as the first Provincial Council.
During a Mass on the Founder’s anniversary of death, on 21 May 1993, the Province of Indonesia was inaugurated by Fr. Marcello Zago, at the chapel of the Sisters of Charles Borromeo at Yogyakarta. At the same time, 3 scholastics professed their perpetual vows before Father General: Scholastics Dominikus PARETA, Yakobus PRIYATNA, and Antonius Andri ATMAKA.
In his homily, Father General said, among others things: “The main reason for which the Oblates came to Indonesia is the same: to preach God’s love to the people of Indonesia and to save those who need salvation. Today, by the formation of the Province of Indonesia, we declare our permanent commitment to preach to the poor in Indonesia and from Indonesia, as an expression of sharing God’s love with His people. God the Father so loved the world that He sent His Son to save the people. We are sent to do the same mission: to share the compassion and love of God with the people who needs salvation.”
One important step began 20 years ago. A dream of unity has been realized. Together we have a dream; together in unity we make the dream come true. (Caraka Team)