GENERAL ADMINISTRATIONThe Triennium will begin soon!
As you may have read in the lastCommuniqué,on December 8, 2013, we will begin a three year period of preparation and of celebration of our 200 years of history, since the time the first Oblate community gathered around Eugene in Aix-en-Provence on January 25, 1816.
“This– we read in the Communiqué –will be a period of three year intense listening to the call of conversion in our Oblate lives in order to fan the flame of Oblate life and mission in anticipation of the 36thGeneral Chapter and the 200thAnniversary of the Congregation”.
The resources that are meant“to assist the apostolic communities in sharing the faith and choosing signs of conversion relevant to their lived situation”are ready for translation. We aimed at assisting you for two community meetings per month. Therefore, for the first year of this triennium, we will offer you 24 schemes that can be used, as they are or adapted according to the different situations and needs, for community meetings. They will be made available five at a time through our website and the usual channels that we use to send out our newsletters. We hope that every Oblate and every member of the larger Oblate family will be able to receive this tool for animation. We hope to be able to make available the first five schemes by the end of November.
For the same purpose, the Superior General is also preparing a letter for the whole Congregation that will be ready by December 8, the feast of our Immaculate Mother and the day of the beginning of the triennium. We would like to invite the whole Oblate family to live these few weeks as a time of preparation for these three “years of grace” that the Lord is offering us as a very special gift.
In early November, General Councillor Fr. Chicho ROIS ALONSO, the Central Government’s liaison for youth ministry, wrote to all of the Congregation’s major superiors a letter encouraging them to invite the young people of their Units to take part in the celebration of the Triennium we are about to begin. On December 8, 2013, the Oblates around the world will begin a three-year period of prayer, reflection and celebration of the 200th anniversary of the 1816 founding of the Missionaries of Provence who ten years later would become the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
In his letter, Fr. Chicho wrote: “In fact, in 1816 our Founder, St. Eugene de Mazenod, began to live in common with the first group of his companions in the house in Aix. From the beginning, our first Fathers shared life, faith and mission with the youth of the Christian Association which St. Eugene had created three years earlier. We are convinced that we cannot celebrate the 200 years of the beginning of our community and missionary life without the presence of youth; furthermore, we cannot make our “three-year pilgrimage of preparation” without accompanying and being accompanied by young people who are somehow living our charism. We believe that moving through this Triennium together with youth will be of mutual benefit for the Oblates and the young people. So it was in the beginning and so it has been every time Oblates and youth have walked together, sharing life and mission, over the almost 200 years of history. The young people themselves have shown their enthusiasm and have suggested many ideas during the Oblate pre-World Youth Day in Aparecida, Brazil.”
Included with his letter was a document that contained a number of suggested activities that Units could adapt to their own circumstances in order to engage young people and Oblates to live the Triennium together. He also invited the Units to share with the whole Congregation some of their own initiatives in this regard.
year, the Oblates at Via Aurelia 290 have two permanent prayer appointments
outside of the house. The first is in the month of February at the church of
Santa Maria in Campitelli to commemorate the Founder’s long wait there for the
approval of the Rules. The second is in November, in the immense Roman cemetery
of Campo Verano, where, in an underground chapel, there repose the remains of
62 Oblates (two others died in Rome but we don’t know where they are buried).
During a trip to Rome in 1884, in order to buy the property for the scholasticate near the Colosseum, Fr. Aimé MARTINET, Assistant General, also concluded the purchase of the Oblate crypt at Campo Verano. Fr. SOULLIER, in a 20 November letter, writes: “We did not have a cemetery plot, and several French communities were in the same situation as we were. Mr. Captier, procurator for the Sulpicians, took the initiative to bring together these communities in a confraternity (it was necessary to purchase jointly).” The construction work began immediately for a cost of 30,000 francs to be divided among 8 religious families.
This first crypt had only 24 niches. After the Second World War, it was necessary to find a bigger one. The Archconfraternity of Charity for the Dead was building in those years a large multi-story building in the same cemetery. On 1 April 1955, Fathers Edmond SERVEL, General Treasurer, and Gaetano DRAGO, Superior of the General House, signed the purchase contract for the new chapel within this large building. It was the Father Drago who took care of the planning and decoration. Thirty-two deceased Oblates were moved there on 9 November, while it was dedicated on the 28th of the same month.
in the Codex historicus of the
General House: "During a solemn Mass, sung by Very Rev. Fr. General, in
the presence of the whole community and representatives of the scholasticate
and the General Studium, we dedicated the new chapel of the Oblates in the Verano
cemetery [...] It contains 62 niches: complete tombs; eight vaults capable of
about holding 200 reduced remains; and an underground repository that can hold
a dozen coffins. Such capacity ensures perpetual use. The chapel cost five
million lire; we added the iron gate at the entrance, bearing the arms and
title of the Congregation, and a travertine altar surmounted by a mosaic
depicting the Virgin of the “Cemeterium
maius” (ed. Sometimes called the St.
Agnes Catacomb) flanked by two bronze catacomb-style lamps and a mosaic
inscription below: Signun certissimum
nostrae salutis o Virgo Immaculata. [...] "
The celebration this year took place on 9 November and it saw the extraordinary participation of almost 50 Oblates living at Via Aurelia, among them, Fr. Louis LOUGEN, Superior General. The Mass was presided by Fr. Paolo ARCHIATI, Vicar General, who, in his homily, recalled that the deceased who lie there represent the whole Congregation: there is a Superior General, Fr. DONTENWILL; there are Assistants, Fathers, Brothers and scholastics. Fr. Archiati also recalled some texts of Saint Eugene de Mazenod about our family in heaven.
It was a touching moment when all who were present, in an air of recollection and silence, were invited to remember one or two Oblates who had an important role in their lives. (Nino BUCCA)