548 - October 2014
August 30th, 2014 - September 30th, 2014

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ASIA-OCEANIA

Mazenod Youth Team gathering

The Mazenod Youth Team met in August to grow in their faith and in their skills as leaders of youth. Their meeting was held at St. Vincent’s Children’s Home in Maggona.

The principal speaker was Mr. Mahinda Namal, a teacher, father, social-observer, social-analyst, artist, writer and motivator. He energized the team and encouraged them to look at the youth in society with their “third eye.” He further challenged the team to serve society by working with youth, irrespective of the race, sex, religion and provinces.

Fr. Dilan PERERA, Provincial Councillor in charge of youth ministry in the Oblate Colombo Province, addressed the Mazenod youth team, thanking them for the time and energy they give for the betterment of society. He challenged them to reach out to the “unreached” in society while making use of their team spirit, talents and resources.

The Mazenod Youth carry out their ministry in four teams:

The Mission team seeks out opportunities for the mission, encouraging the sub-units’ representatives to reach the unreached, organizing various new programs, uploading to the website and inserting the spirit of St. Eugene de Mazenod into society.

The Media team writes articles for the local and religious newspapers, magazines and the internet about the missionary experiences of youth, St. Eugene, social justice, issues important to young people and various burning topics in the country. They also publish a Mazenod Youth magazine and produce short films, dramas, musical programs, various works of art and documentaries for youth and others.

The Meditation team evaluates the mission efforts and organizes retreats for the team and other youth; they celebrate the death and wedding anniversaries of the team members’ parents, birthdays, Christmas and the feast day of St. Eugene. They organize prayer sessions, Holy Masses and Bible sharing. They visit the sick team members and their families. They also send out reminders about important feasts among the Oblates, especially the Founder and other Blessed Oblates.

The Market team instructs society on various environmental, political, health, educational, youth, childhood, family and religious topics through the use of banners, posters, stickers, CD, DVD, VCD, songs, leaflets, advertisements and other modern means. They use many public places for their displays in order to get the attention of youth and others. (Fr. S. Randil FERNANDO, coordinator of Mazenod Youth.)



The passing of a priest-physician

There is a small band of Oblate priests and Brothers in various parts of the world who do “double duty,” so to speak. Not only are they religious and missionaries with all that those words imply. They also exercise the profession of medical doctor. On 9 September 2014, Fr. Damian FERNANDO, Oblate, mission preacher and medical doctor/gynecologist, died at the Nazareth Preaching Community in Wennappuwa. He was only 58 years old. He had served people spiritually but also medically.

Fr. Damian was a well-known gynecologist in Sri Lanka as well as in the United Kingdom. He had being working as a doctor for 14 years before he joined the Oblates. He discerned a vocation to Oblate and religious life and made his first profession of vows in 1997. He was ordained a priest in 2001.

In his early years as a priest-physician, he was in Buttala, working tirelessly for the people, irrespective of their religion. He thoroughly sacrificed his time and energy in promoting healthy conditions and sanitation issues in that rural area. He also managed to establish voluntary health service for the people.

Having being transferred to Wennappuwa due to his ill-health, he further continued to work as a family counsellor, using both his spiritual and medical knowledge. With great success, he was able to give sound advice to many childless couples. The Oblate Colombo province and Fr. Damian’s patients will miss this man who used his talents so well in the service of others. (Fr. S. Randil FERNANDO)



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