CANADA-UNITED STATESDeath of the Oblate Dean
Father Leopold ENGEL passed away on 22 January 2014 in Saskatoon, SK. Early in his ordained life, Father Engel was chosen to be Superior of the Oblate Community in Toronto. Thereafter, he was named Superior for a total of forty years in various places: St. Charles Scholasticate in Battleford, St. Thomas College in North Battleford, Provincial Superior of St. Mary’s Province, Superior of the Oblate General House in Rome, and finally, Mazenod Residence in Saskatoon.
Father Engel was blessed with a rich variety of qualities and skills. Fluent in a half-dozen languages, he exercised a voluminous correspondence and readership. His leadership was enhanced by love of community, attention to detail and organization, faithfulness in relationship and communication, willingness to serve, exceptional hospitality and a hope-filled, upbeat attitude.
Father Engel was born on 5 September, 1913, in Regina, SK. He professed his First Vows in 1933. His scholasticate years were spent at St. Charles Scholasticate, Battleford, SK, and at Obra, Poland. In 1938, Father Engel was ordained to the priesthood in Obra, Poland.
The funeral liturgy was held on 27 January at St. Francis Xavier Parish, Saskatoon, SK, presided by another former provincial of St. Mary’s Province, Bishop Gerald WIESNER.
The new Oblate Dean is Fr. Englebert MACHINIA, of the Central European Province. He celebrated his 100th birthday on 21 October 2013 at Gelsenkirchen in Germany.
On 10 November 2013, the Consul General of the Republic of Poland, Mr. Grzegorz Morawski, on behalf of the President of the Republic of Poland, honoured Fr. Janusz BLAZEJAK, pastor of St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Toronto, with the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Polish Republic. The Order of Merit of the Polish Republic is an honour bestowed by the President of Poland on “Polish citizens living abroad, who have made an outstanding contribution to international cooperation and collaboration in joining the Republic of Poland with other states and nations.”
In his speech, the Consul General stressed Fr. Janusz’s involvement in Polonia. Fr. Janusz is the chaplain and a member of the main board of the Canadian Polish Congress, vice-president of the Polish Christian Millennium Foundation, a board member of Copernicus Lodge and Cultural Center of John Paul II, chaplain of ZHP Canada, chairman of the Conference of Polish Priests for Eastern Canada and chairman of the Polish Pastoral Council of the Archdiocese of Toronto. (Assumption Province News and Views, November-December 2013)
marked the anniversary of the first gathering to share the charism of St.
Eugene de Mazenod. Although February 17, 1826, is the anniversary of papal
approval of the Oblates’ Constitutions and Rules, it was on January 25, 1816,
that St. Eugene gathered a group of five other priests and asked the diocese of
Aix for approval to live in community as the Missionaries of Provence. The novitiate
in Godfrey, Illinois, USA, celebrated the anniversary with a special meal and
prayer. Prior to the meal and following a reading about an experience St.
Eugene had in Rome when having his own feet washed, the novitiate community
knelt down and washed each other’s feet.
A member of last
year’s novitiate class used his artistic talent to express the significance of
the day. “The ‘First Supper’ painting touched my faith in a very particular
way. It sprung from an experience of a beautiful meal to commemorate the
foundation day of our congregation, OMI. That evening [Jan. 25] was shared in
great fraternity, and the faith and vision of the first Oblates was brought to
life by revisiting stories and sharing around the tables in a spirit of
brotherhood. Fr. Jack LAU of the novitiate team proposed the idea of painting
my experience of that evening while it was still burning within me,” said Bro. Sidney
Sakala made his first vows as an Oblate on August 1, 2013, and is now a scholastic studying in Cameroon. He has been painting since he was young, but began attending art classes in the ninth grade. What started out as pencil sketches turned into a life-long passion of his, “I intend to continue painting for it is a huge part of my life.”
He has found a way to combine his passion for painting and devotion to faith, “Faith touches a huge part of my life and I am blessed in so many ways to express this relationship I have with God.” His artwork can be found hanging around the halls of the novitiate in Godfrey.
Sakala says he has high hopes for the Oblate Congregation. “I hope that we will continue to make an effort and bring to life what we hold as core to our life in community and ministry. The creation of art works, stories and all talents that touch our Charism is of great importance.” (By Becky May in www.omiusa.org)