EUROPEOMI Martyrs inspire devotion and art
In various parts of the Oblate world, the lives and sacrifices of the Blessed Oblate Spanish Martyrs continue to inspire devotion among the faithful; some artists have been inspired to depict them in new ways.
Fr. François CARPENTIER, a native of France and for 50 years a missionary in Cameroon, has told former General Postulator, Fr. Joaquín MARTÍNEZ, of a large picture of the martyrs that now hangs in that African Mission.
In the United
States, the Pastoral Center at the Lourdes/Guadalupe Shrine in San Antonio,
Texas, has been dedicated to the Oblate Spanish Martyrs. A large copy of the
image painted for the beatification hangs in a prominent place in the Center.
An Italian artist from Sicily, Liliana Niceta Siracusano, a member of MAMI, has painted an image of the martyrs standing in a field of wheat and dressed in white robes. “The harvest is still plentiful but workers that were preparing for the harvest were cut down in their youth.”
While the landing of migrants continues unabated in various ports of Sicily – since 1 January, there have been more than 52,000 – a commission of the German Federal Parliament, consisting of eight members and led by the Honorable Gero Storjohann, arrived in Palermo and remained in Sicily until 17 June for an immersion into the reality of immigration as it is lived on the island, in order to understand the issues and to consider some possible solutions, as well as the impact of the phenomenon in Germany.
The commission is the guest of the Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany in Palermo, Professor Vincenzo Militello, a professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Palermo. Besides meeting with the Mayor of Palermo, Professor Leoluca Orlando, the commission also met with the Vice-prefect of the city and officials in the immigration office.
at the University with Dr. Giuliani of the United Nations’ High Commission on
Refugees. She spoke about forced migrations and the phenomenon of migration of
unaccompanied minors. She pointed out the great efforts Italy is making with
the operation of “Mare Nostrum” (Our Sea), and the important role that Caritas
is playing in the initial welcoming of migrants.
Oblate Father Sergio NATOLI made a brief report on the economic aspects of migration, touching especially upon intercultural issues and explaining the project "Rainbow of peoples" as a way to help everyone, immigrants and natives, to live in harmony in the same territory, avoiding types of uniformity and ghetto-like isolation.
The meeting left a very positive impression by way of contributing to an exchange of ideas and the search for realistic programs for the benefit of those who choose to migrate in order to have hope for a life with a better future. (Sergio Natoli, omi)
A youth organization founded by
and accompanied by Italian Oblates has recently experienced the corporal work
of mercy of visiting a prison, much like the Oblate Founder, St. Eugene de
Mazenod, did as a young priest. The Movimento
Giovanile Costruire (Youth Movement “To Build” or MGC) sent 15 of its
members to visit a prison in the Tuscan city of Prato, thanks to Annamaria
GENTILI of the Oblate Cooperators of Mary Immaculate (COMI), who teaches
The youth sang at two Sunday morning Masses last May, one in the medium security section and the other in the maximum security section. One of the MGC members, Andrea Cuminatto, tells of the experience:
“In this experience, we didn’t do anything other than sing at two Masses, but this small gesture was most valuable for the prisoners who were excited about our visit and who tried to linger as long as possible (within the limits of the strict prison rules) to speak with us and to share their own experiences. Many of them have discovered (or rediscovered) the faith while in prison. But it is not an atmosphere where it is easy to live the faith and our simple offering at the Sunday Mass was seen as a big event.
“For us, it was a powerful experience. Most of us had never entered a prison and just the control procedures for checking in and out were not very easy to do. The direct contact with the prisoners and the few words we exchanged with them made us understand a little better what it means not to have had the good fortune of a peaceful life, what it means to have grown up in conditions that led to life experiences that were ugly and often brutal enough to make you end up serving a sentence of several years. A penalty that often loses its rehabilitative function and leaves the men on their own, simply to survive in a cage.
“We saw this experience as something important enough to do again and we are already planning to repeat it on a regular basis throughout the next year.”