GENERAL ADMINISTRATIONWorkshop for Triennium animators
Oblates and four lay coworkers took part in a session in Aix to prepare
animators for the Triennium of preparation for the 200th anniversary
of the founding of the Oblate Congregation. The participants presently continue
the work of St. Eugene in Nigeria, Angola, Australia, Venezuela, India,
Uruguay, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Cameroun, Canada, Cuba, Brazil, Zimbabwe,
the United States, Ireland, England and Poland. During the session, talks were
given by Fathers Gilberto PIÑON, Fabio CIARDI and Joseph LABELLE.
The goal of this
animator workshop in Aix was to form the participants from different parts of
the world by revisiting the history of the Founder (including relevant
locations of early Oblate life), re-read the Constitutions and Rules,
familiarize them with the existing resources and create some new materials for
the Oblate family in order to celebrate the Oblate Triennium in word and
Ultimately, this whole Triennium process is to continue the Call to Conversion (the theme of the 2010 General Chapter) and the call of our baptism. Of course, one does this individually, but much of conversion can only be done in community and through the pain of difficult situations.
The entire Mazenodian family wants to acknowledge the 200 years of dedication, work, joys and sorrows of so many who have gone before them and to honestly discern where God calls them into the future. Participants will be communicating with their respective Unit and Regional leaders about this experience and offer animation ideas. (www.centremazenod.org and www.omiusa.org)
Fr. Oscar LUCAS is a Filipino Oblate who arrived at the General House last summer to oversee computer technology there and to coordinate the Oblate Database Modernization Project. Here, he tells of the recent naming of Orlando Cardinal QUEVEDO to the College of Cardinals, from the point of view of a fellow Filipino Oblate.
“It came as a complete surprise”, this was how Archbishop Orlando Quevedo,
OMI, DD, started narrating the story about his being named a cardinal by Pope
Francis during his conference with the whole Oblate community of the OMI
General House, in Rome, on February 16, 2014. He related that at first he did
not believe the news because he never had a single clue it was coming at all. In
fact, according to him, he was already preparing his letter of resignation to
be submitted to the Holy Father as he was reaching the age of 75 on March 11, 2014,
the age of retirement for a diocesan bishop as mandated by Canon Law. He said
that he had already made known to the people about this retirement plan in
various occasions, even prior to his being named as a cardinal. Archbishop
Quevedo has already devoted many years of his life both as an Oblate priest and
Bishop in the mission of Mindanao. However, this time God still has other plans
I must admit that personally, as a Filipino Oblate, it brings immense pride to know that the Holy Father has chosen Archbishop Quevedo, a fellow Oblate, to be the first cardinal of Mindanao. I felt that it was God’s way of recognizing the good works the Oblates have been doing for seventy-five years in Mindanao. At the same time I could not help but be amazed on how God, in his own mysterious ways, could work and intervene in human history, considering that in the context of the whole tradition of the Philippine Catholic Church, Manila and Cebu are the only places that have had cardinals. Mindanao was never a place where we would expect the Holy Father would name a cardinal.
Reflecting on the whole turn of events, I could not help but consider it as an act of pure divine providence – a sheer inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I believe God only used the Holy Father now to make obvious and clear something which we have already known for so long: the Church of Mindanao, where a large number of Oblates have been doing missionary work, has so much to contribute and has a very vital role to play in the life of the Philippine Catholic Church as a whole.
Now, with Archbishop Quevedo being named as a cardinal, it is as if a “spotlight” is all of sudden focused on the whole of Church of Mindanao. I am convinced that this occasion reveals all the more the sincerity of Pope Francis in recognizing the importance of the People of God especially in the places where there are great problems of poverty and peace. By naming a cardinal in such remote area of Archdiocese of Cotabato, the Holy Father is giving a very clear and strong message to everyone that this is how serious he is in making the Catholic Church more sensitive to the plight of the poor, especially in Mindanao.
Cardinal Quevedo said that he was praying for special grace so that he can help the Holy Father’s vision for a humble Church of the poor: “I pray that I can contribute a little to that vision of the Holy Father about the Church of the poor in the Philippines.” With this new gift from God, Cardinal Quevedo recognizes very well the fact that it can always bring a surprise. Indeed, God has given him now one of the biggest surprises of his life. He feels all the more humble now before Him – the God of surprises!
During the winter plenary session of the Central Government, Father General in Council named Fr. Kennedy KATONGO as the next Director of the General Service for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation. He will succeed Fr. Camille PICHÉ who has held the office since 2008.
Fr. Kennedy was born in Zambia in 1980. Before entering the Oblate prenovitiate in Lusaka in 2000, he was a volunteer with the program “Youth Alive Zambia,” which sponsors programs with youth regarding prevention of HIV/AIDS, child abuse, unemployment and poverty. After his first vows as an Oblate in South Africa in 2003, he completed his philosophy studies in Cedara and returned to Zambia in 2005 for regency.
During his year of regency, besides working at Michael’s Mission in Kalabo, he worked with the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and Youth Ministry. The CCJP offers outreach programs on civic education, trade and debt in Zambia, human rights, human trafficking, rights of refugees, access to clean water, food security. It also leads in the fight against corruption and against the abuse of women and children.
In 2006, he went to the United States for his theological his studies at the scholasticate in San Antonio, Texas, and Oblate School of Theology.
While in the USA, he did a summer internship at the OMI-JPIC office in Washington, DC, where he was able to do research on such issues as trade and debt, climate change, human trafficking, access to clean water, immigration and the plight of refugees.
At Oblate School of Theology, in 2009 he earned a “Master of Arts” degree with the thesis: “Beyond Vulture Funds: A Catholic Social Teaching Response to Zambia’s Economic Debt Reality”. He also earned a “Master of Divinity” degree in 2010.
Having returned to Zambia, he was ordained to the priesthood in 2010. His first obedience was to work in Zambia as associate pastor in Kalabo Mission. He was treasurer of the mission and also director of youth ministry in the Delegation of Zambia. Later, he was named Director of OMI-JPIC for Zambia. Since 2012, he has been at Sancta Maria Mission in Lukulu.
In 2012, he was invited to take part in the Justice and Peace Animators workshop in Rome and he participated in the OMI-JPIC General Executive meeting in that same year. He will take up residence at the General House later in 2014.