538 - November 2013
October 2nd, 2013 - November 4th, 2013



A teacher in prison

Anna Maria Gentili, a member of COMI, the Cooperator Oblate Missionaries of the Immaculate, the Secular Institute founded in Italy by Fr. Gaetano LIUZZO, tells us about her new adventure in prison.

School begins again in September. For some time I’ve been talking about my desire to teach in prison, so I asked to do it on a provisional basis during this school year. With a little courage, with the tenacity to go through the cumbersome bureaucratic red tape, and above all, with confidence in the will of God, I managed to get this job.

My deep love of children is well known. I also think I do my work as a teach well, but the difficult time of illness of my parents and the numerous reminders of Pope Francis to go to the “outskirts” of the world pushed me hard not to settle into a comfortable life situation, but to find what is necessary in the essentials, even in the professional life.

So already 15 days ago, I made the first entry in my “new” school for this scholastic year: the District Prison "The Dogaia" in Prato!

I’ve been assigned three groups: a group of students in the High Security section (they are mostly held for mafia crimes and with very long sentences, some of them for several life sentences); a group from the Medium Security section (drug dealers, robbers, but also for killing during an altercation...); and a group called Sex Offenders (rapists and pedophiles). The students are either of Italian nationality, especially persons from southern Italy, joined to organized crime from an early age and who have never attended school, or of foreign nationality (North Africans, Chinese, Albanians, Romanians...), who need to become literate.

Within a single group, there are very different levels: there are those who are completely illiterate (both Italian and foreign) and those who already have some linguistic tools. In general, it’s not easy to manage…

For the moment, I feel mostly at ease: I am not interested in the past of these persons but in whoever is in front of me at the present moment. It’s certainly a “parallel” world, a very deep “wound.” For this, I ask for your support in prayer.

Oblate Youth Service helps at Lourdes Pilgrimage

The Anglo-Irish Province’s pilgrimage to Lourdes has been a reality since 1883. For the past 26 years, the Oblate Youth Service (OYS) from that Oblate province has traveled to Lourdes to help those who make the pilgrimage to Lourdes in hopes of getting better. Many of the pilgrims cannot walk or they need assistance, and the OYS members, whose ages range from 17 to 30's, are there to help take care of them.

The OYS started with humble beginnings. In 1980, Fr. Peter CLUCAS was invited to travel with the ‘overland group’ which consisted of young adults traveling from Spain to Lourdes. During the Anglo-Irish Province’s pilgrimage, the OYS contributes by working with the pilgrims and making their experience as pleasant as possible. They spend long hours in the hospital working with doctors and nurses, but most importantly getting to know those patients. Like the patients, many of the volunteers come back every year and have formed friendships from the pilgrimage. The goal of their Lourdes Pilgrimage is to work with the sick, while developing a personal level of spirituality. (www.omiusa.org)

Second oldest Oblate celebrates 100th birthday

Confreres and friends from different times in his life came together on 21 October 2013 to celebrate the 100 years of life of Fr. Engelbert MACHINIA, in Gelsenkirchen, the community to which he has belonged for the past 26 years.

Born in 1913 in Silesia, the first third of his life was marked by the vicissitudes of this region: it was German, very Catholic and Oblate as well. Engelbert made ??his first vows as an Oblate in 1934 and was ordained a priest on the eve of World War II. But with the Russian occupation, Silesia became part of Poland, and the Germans had to flee the region. The young Fr. Machinia was arrested, but released from the detention camp in southern Germany by the intervention of a priest.

Having returned to the Oblate Province of Germany, he received his great commission: to create a Catholic parish among the refugees in a distinctly Protestant area in Northern Germany. For 35 years, Fr Engelbert set himself to form, not only one parish, but a pastoral consortium of 3 parishes -- something new from the fresh winds of the 2nd Vatican Council. And he also formed a whole generation of young Oblates, whom he introduced to pastoral ministry, with a broad, open, critical vision, and with fatherly wisdom and much humor.

In addition, he discovered his artistic talent: with great care he devoted himself to the art of enameling. One of his works adorns the Oblate chapel in which he celebrated daily Mass with “his community” in recent years.

Among the concelebrants on the festive day, there were Oblates from 50 to 80 years of age, who had at some time enjoyed community life with him. They recalled that he used to say to those who were much younger: “You cannot talk that way these days!” At the Mass (it was a Monday), there were more people than on Sunday; even the parish choir honored him.

The honoree enjoyed the party afterwards. In good form, he “endured” the endless compliments and returned happy to his current residence for aged Oblates. (Miguel FRITZ)

Rare parchment found in OMI library

Recently there officially began the cataloging of some 20,000 volumes collected at the “St. Eugene de Mazenod Oblate Library” at Santa Maria a Vico. The library contains texts from the 1400’s to the present day, works that have been taken care of for years by the Missionary Oblates who, through their efforts, have prevented this heritage from being lost.

It is actually the largest library in the Valley of Suessola and in the Diocese of Acerra; it bears the name of the Founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Eugene de Mazenod, a French nobleman who escaped revolutionary France in 1789, taking refuge in Italy.

The collection of texts has been enriched over time by almost 20,000 volumes of books and pamphlets, among which are many rare texts such as the Calepino or Encyclopedia Treccani, dating from the 30’s, whose volume entitled “Fascism” was dictated directly by Il Duce, Benito Mussolini.

There are many texts devoted to preaching; texts by Greek and Latin authors; texts about religion; lives of the saints; theology; history; literature, to name the principal themes. The first item “deciphered,” after the recent beginning of the cataloging, is a manufragment of 8 pages on lambskin parchment, from a liturgical book which was later bound to a text from the 1500’s, coming from the Observant Franciscan convent of Jesus and Mary in Foggia; this fragment, in fair condition, contains a musical text and notes not written on a staff (something which began after the thirteenth century), but on two lines, one red to indicate Fa and another yellow to indicate Do.

Pasquale Onorati, director of the Oblate Library, is particularly enthusiastic: “The digital cataloging has finally begun and is going well; this fragment is one of the most important ever found, but we also discovered other special pieces such as some manuscripts of St. Eugene and of St. Alphonsus from the 1700’s. After having cataloged at least 4,000-5,000 volumes, we would like to organize an exhibition in the coming months to show off the most important works.” But when will facility be open to the public? “Most likely next year, after the completion of cataloging.”

Not to be forgotten is the fact that doctoral candidates in cultural heritage from the Second University of Naples will very soon have the opportunity to finish their formation at the Oblate Library: “We are also open to new agreements with the University,” adds Onorati. “We have given the name of the Founder of the Missionary Oblates to this building, but in reality the library was already dedicated to St. Eugene, as proven by the discovery of volumes used at the time of its foundation: unwittingly,” concludes Onorati, “we are also following, with this name, a tradition already mentioned by Eugene de Mazenod.” It will be the Civilization Association of Santa Maria a Vico that will manage the opening of the library, thus allowing future visitors to admire the rooms that house the volumes, thanks to an agreement signed last September between the Association and the Oblates.

To follow all the news and events regarding the cataloging of the volumes found in the Oblate Library of Santa Maria a Vico, one can find its Facebook page at this link: http://goo.gl/VP93jB (From http://interno18.it)

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36th General Chapter 2016
36th General Chapter 2016
Oblate Triennium
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OMI Vocations
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