ASIA-OCEANIAAn Oblate in the “existential suburbs”
There is a Missionary of the Oblate of Mary Immaculate who works tirelessly “in the real and existential suburbs of a rich city such as Suwon”: we are talking about the Italian Fr. Vincenzo BORDO, who 21 years ago founded the “Casa di Anna”, a center for the “new poverty”. The Centre assists the elderly living alone, abandoned children, the homeless, street children, the unemployed.
Fr. Bordo tells Fides about “the challenge of the mission in a secular society, in a rich world and in a church where there are plenty of priests”. The point is that this society “did not see the new poor. People said: in Korea there are tramps. The ecclesial community did not understand and did not know what to do”. Hence the need to revitalize the social pastoral in a big city, starting from the suburbs.
In over 20 years, the Centre, built on the land of the diocese, has grown into a non-profit organization, recognized by Caritas and the Korean government, with a complex project. “Every day 500 homeless people take advantage of the dinner and shower. Then we have a dormitory. We offer social, psychological and medical assistance. We have created a training laboratory, where handmade bags are made”.
In the suburbs, he continues, “we meet street children, who have fled from their families. So we have created three specific structures for them. In the first they are welcomed for about 9 months, in which we try to understand their problems. In this period we contact the parents in order to understand their family reality. At that point, there are three paths for the children: either they return to their family, or go into a foster home to study; or they move to another foster home to enter the world of work”.
Fr. Bordo explains: “Ours is a testimony of faith and love, it is a work of evangelization which is based mainly on the laity. We have 25 lay employees and other volunteers. La Casa di Anna costs 1,300 euro per day and has been active for 20 years thanks to charity”, concludes Fr. Bordo. (Fides Agency, 03 October 2013)
For the past 50
years, the formation communities of the Province of Australia have found their
home at St. Mary’s Seminary in Mulgrave, Victoria. It serves both the
scholasticate and the novitiate programs.
Recently, Oblates, former students, family and friends of the seminary gathered at the St. John Vianney’s parish to mark the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the seminary. The celebration then moved to St. Mary’s for a period of reminiscing and sharing, looking through old photos and publications before a meal and formalities.
There was an official welcome by Fr. Christian FINI, current Superior of the community, followed by speeches from Fr. Leo MIFSUD, the Australian Provincial; Fr. Austin COOPER, founding Rector; and Jos Hensing, a former student.
The formal speeches held in the main chapel at St. Mary’s were followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, as a way to give thanks for the last 50 years and pray for the next 50 years of formation in our Province.