ASIA-OCEANIAPlanning the future
On 30 April 2014, the Oblate Delegation of Pakistan gathered at Mazenod House, Lahore, for its Annual Assembly. During the session, the members took part in groups for further discussion of a 5-10 year plan for the Delegation. It was a follow-up of a previous planning session held in November 2013.
Later Fr. Aloysius ROY, the Delegation Superior, invited Fr. Vernon DERRICK to share his thoughts on the Oblate Triennium of preparation for 2016. First of all he spoke about the need and purpose of the Triennium which began in the congregation on 8 December 2013. He explained the schema for weekly reflection, citing the documents appearing on omiworld.org. It was recommended that every Oblate community celebrate the Triennium liturgy once a week to be in communion with the Oblate Congregation and for personal and community renewal.
On the evening
of that same day, the Oblates gathered in the chapel for Holy Mass and to
participate in a paraliturgy during which Fr. Roy handed over to each member
the new edition of Constitutions and Rules 2012.
On the first of May, two Oblates Waqas RAZA and Kashif GAURI made perpetual vows at the Oblate Philosophate, Lahore, and at the same venue, on 9 May, they were ordained deacons by His Grace Sebastian Shaw, OFM, the Archbishop of Lahore. (Fr. Gulshan BARKAT)
To emphasize the crucial role
that religions and cultures can have in building peace and reconciliation in
Mindanao: that is the aim of the international conference held on 6 and 7 June
in Cotabato, at Notre Dame University, a university founded by the Missionary
Oblates of Mary Immaculate present in the Southern Philippines.
The conference, entitled “Peace is living together”, was organized in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Cotabato, the Community of Sant’Egidio and the Indonesian Muslim “Muhammadiyah” association. Leading Christian and Muslim figures spoke, including Cardinal Orlando QUEVEDO, Archbishop of Cotabato, civic leaders and politicians, as well as personalities from the world of education and culture. Religious, political, social and cultural organizations interested or involved in the peace process in the South Philippines were present.
The conference was a moment of reflection after the historic agreement signed for peace in the southern Philippines, emphasizing the principle of inclusion, described as “fundamental at a social and political level, for majorities and minorities, all with the right to be represented”, as reported in an explanatory note sent to Fides. In this context, it is said, “it will be extremely significant that Bangsamoro Parliament is composed of Muslims, Christians, indigenous and independent members”.
The event intended to support the peace process and to broaden the participation in all religious, civil and political realities in Mindanao. After signing the agreement, in fact, “the challenge now is to implement the peace process in the region”. (Fides News Agency, 5 June 2014)
In South Korea,
the Ho-Am Prize is considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize. On the Wikipedia site, it is described in these
words: The Ho-Am Prize is a Korean annual
award awarded to “ethnic Koreans, at home or abroad, who have made outstanding
contributions to the development of science and culture and enhancement of the
welfare of mankind.” It is named after a pseudonym of the late Byung-chull
Lee (1910-1987), founder of Samsung.
This year’s recipient in the field of Community Service is Father Ha Jong Kim (the Korean name of Oblate Fr. Vicenzo BORDO). The Ho-Am Prize’s own website tells briefly why Fr. Vincenzo was chosen for this honor: “Father Ha Jong Kim (Bordo Vincenzo), recipient of the Prize in Community Service, having overcome his own dyslexia, entered the priesthood to serve the poor and struggling. He came to Korea in 1990 and has served the homeless, the lonely aged, and troubled youth through a variety of programs including a soup kitchen for over 400 homeless per day and a center for youth in the city of Seongnam. He is also recognized for his efforts in publicizing and treating dyslexia.”
Four other recipients, all Korean citizens, received recognition in the fields of Science, Engineering, Medicine and The Arts. Only the award for Community Service may go to a non-Korean. This is the first time it has gone to an Italian. Besides a gold medal, the prize consists also of 300 million Korean won, the equivalent of 215 thousand Euros.
It is the Oblate Triennium, a time to give thanks to God for the grace of our Congregation, to review and reflect on our lives, to sharpen our missionary zeal, and to recommit ourselves to the call and the vision of our Founding Father, St. Eugene de Mazenod. In this context, the OMI Province of Indonesia held a workshop for Triennium animators at the Oblate scholasticate in Yogyakarta on 13-15 June 2014. Each of the six districts sent delegates (an Oblate together with some laity and youth) who were trained for future animation within the districts. They were from Jakarta, Purwokerto, East Borneo, West Borneo, North Borneo, and the formation communities. Present as well were scholastics, novices, and members of Mazenodian family.
The aim of the workshop was to familiarize the participants with the meaning, themes, and goals of the Oblate Triennium, as well as to plan Triennium activities to be carried out in their respective districts. During the workshop, the theme song of the Oblate Triennium for the province, entitled “Misionaris Sejati” (“A True Missionary”), was played, learned and sung with great enthusiasm by all who were present. The district representatives were able to sit together to plan their Triennium programmes and present them to the assembly.
The workshop concluded with a Mass concelebrated by 12 Oblates participants. At the end of the Mass, the Provincial of Indonesia, Fr. Antonius RAJABANA, gave all participants an Oblate Triennium cross and sent them off as OMI Triennium animators. (Triennium Team of the Indonesian Province)
Oblates of the Philippine Province minister to the Manobo- Dulangan tribe who
dwell far beyond the Senator Ninoy Aquino municipality, throughout Sultan
Fr. Renan ABAN has been the Indigenous Peoples Ministry Coordinator since 2009. The mission continues to provide scholarships to students from elementary to college age through the Oblate Missionary Fund. This school year, 60 children will be provided with dormitory privileges of free food and lodging, besides their educational scholarship.
Aside from the educational program, the Oblate missionary effort centers on Monobo-Dulangan tribal justice and their self-governance. It ensures the retention of the tribe’s cultural heritage, while being open to the enrichment of other cultures. Tribal leaders are more aware that they are not journeying alone; they are accompanied by the Church.
Immersion in the lives and struggles of the poor, particularly the Manobo-Dulangan tribe, is a vivid reality and a mission call for the Oblates. In general, the Manobos are not highly regarded since a small number of them have reached higher socio-political levels; they are mostly content with meeting their day-to-day subsistence and they greatly depend on communal work ethics. The latter have both positive and negative qualities. For a wedding, for example, the community joins forces to provide the dowry required of a prospective groom. On the other hand, the communal spirit may discourage others from working hard since they can depend on other families to share their crops or food with them.
Lately, the sad plight of the Manobo-Dulangan in the Ninoy Aquino municipality has intensified. Logging operations have prospered because of an Integrated Forestry Management Agreement issued by the National Department of Environment and Natural Resources, without due regard to the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 or any prior informed consent by the Manobo-Dulangan. The ancestral lands of the Manobo-Dulangan tribe have been materially exploited; crops ready for harvest have been ruined by heavy logging equipment; and forest resources which serve as a major source of sustenance have abruptly diminished.
In view of peaceful dialogue, networking attempts have been made so that the Manobo-Dulangans’ voice may be heard and proper consultation can take place. The Oblates’ support and presence among the Manobo-Dulangan offers a leverage by which the Indigenous Peoples of Ninoy Aquino municipality can assert their rights with less fear.
Empowerment and the development of a strong will among the Manobo-Dulangan is a slow evolution, considering the ethno-cultural way of life that they strongly adhere to. However, Fr. Aban, firmly adheres to his missionary vow of obedience and Christ’s parable of the mustard seed. For however small and painfully slow it might be, missionary work will fully blossom in the end: “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” Matt. 17:20 (OMI Philippines Newsletter, June 2014)