LATIN AMERICAA shrine for Pa’i Puku
“Pa’i Puku” (“Tall Father”) is the affectionate nickname in Guarani for Bishop Peter SHAW, who died in 1984 in the Paraguayan Chaco, where he worked as a missionary and finally as bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Pilcomayo.
Soon, the people began to venerate him as a saint. Beginning in 2008, the Oblates of the Province of Paraguay began to promote research and the steps to open the Cause of beatification, approved in 2010 by the Superior General.
The following year, two books were published about his
life, besides the exhaustive research. There also premiered a song in Guarani,
sung by a singer, accompanied by a harpist, both of whom are well known in the
Another publication highlights eight places in Paraguay which bear his name: streets, a stadium, a school, a radio station, and some commercial enterprises. To that list, there is now added a chapel, standing as a future shrine at the place of his fatal accident, with the blessing of the bishop of the diocese where he died, who is also in charge of the official Cause. There is a sign which displays the project, and draws attention to the many drivers who pass through this only route across the Chaco and which leads to neighboring Bolivia.
The people, who happily tell of their experiences and memories with Pa'i Puku, including the favors received at his intercession, eagerly hope that the virtues of the future Blessed might be quickly recognized, and they can continue venerating him in that shrine. (Miguel FRITZ)
On 3 to 6 August 2013, there was a congress of Oblate
Brothers of the Region of Latin America in Camp Perrin, Haiti. At the
invitation of all the superiors of the Region, 11 of the 24 Brothers attended,
coming from four provinces. The Provincial of Haiti, Fr. Loudeger MAZILE,
welcomed them and accompanied them during their meeting.
After “getting to know” one another, they elected their representative, since Bro. Phaniel NEPTUNE (Haiti) had completed his three years. Elected was Bro. Ivar RUÍZ from Bolivia. Besides being a link among all the Brothers, he represents them at the assembly of the superiors of the Region (CIAL), where they participate with voice and vote. As such, he was presented to the Superior General in Council who named him representative of the Region in the Permanent Committee of Brothers for the whole Congregation.
Another moment in the congress was the sharing of what they see as the challenges and needs of the Brothers in Latin America. What stood out was the need for a better formation program, first and on-going.
It bears mentioning in this regard that the Central Government had the theme of the Brothers in the Congregation as their principal theme during the last plenary session, during which they approved the program for the formation of Brothers.
Thanks go to the province that hosted this meeting, the home of 1/3 of the Brothers! (Miguel FRITZ)
International Book Fair in La Paz, on October 19, there was a book presentation
by an Oblate. Nuestro Papa Francisco
(Our Pope Francis) was written by Fr.
Guillermo SILES PAZ, former provincial of the Oblates of Bolivia and currently
the manager of Catholic Television and a member of the Communication Commission
of the Archdiocese of La Paz. The book tries to present the image of the new
pope, but in the current context and with new elements from his own thoughts
and from how he became Pope.
Father Siles says that the book of 156 pages was born of the need and desire to get to the very heart of the people. It is filled with a new message of hope for organizations, both the Church and society. But it also offers edifying content at this historical moment. When we read the messages of the Pope, we see that they are about inclusion, about building up and above all, about hope.
In the book, which may be purchased in Pauline book stores, the author gathers and links statements and facts that place the reader firmly into this historic moment. The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the arrival of a new Pope, with a renewed charisma, seem to respond to current needs.
Twenty-five years ago, Fr. Pat THOMPSON, along with a young laywoman, Belia Molina, laid the foundation of an organization that continues to thrive today. In September, the provincial of the United States, Fr. Bill ANTONE and Fr. Pat paid a visit to that group.
EDUSEC is an acronym for Education and Community Services. For many years, EDUSEC received financial support from the former Western U.S. province and the United States province, and now is able to sustain itself. EDUSEC provides services for the marginalized communities in Mexicali, in the state of Baja California, Mexico, focusing especially on the needs of adolescents, youth and working women.
Many of the families in these communities live from week to week on the low wages they earn from working at numerous assembly plants or maquiladoras (Assembly plants in Mexico, especially along the border between the United States and Mexico, to which foreign materials and parts are shipped and from which the finished product is returned to the original market.) Women are especially overworked as they try to raise families and bring in a necessary income at the same time. Young people come home from school to homes without a parent, so EDUSEC provides afterschool tutoring, counseling and training, among other services.
EDUSEC has been able to build an excellent facility as their center. From there, it has been able to reach out to numerous neighborhoods. The Oblates ministered in Mexicali for over 30 years. Fr. Thompson led that ministry for most of those years. (OMI USA, November 2013)