549 - November 2014
September 30th, 2014 - October 31st, 2014



A new document on the Oblate Mission

The document "Discerning and Sustaining Oblate Mission" is in conformity with the 2010 General Chapter mandate:That in the framework of a renewed Immense Hope Project, Oblates cooperate with the new Central Government, who will develop a fresh animation for mission and for discerning new missionary strategies and major missionary challenges, in relationship with the local church, in dialogue with other religious, Oblate Associates, and all people of good will.” On Conversion in our Oblate Mission, Nº 1, pp. 24-25. With this Document, the Superior General in Council has revised the criteria and policies related to establishing new Oblate Missions in the light of the 2012 edition of the Constitutions and Rules and recent General Chapters, especially the 2010 Chapter.

The Central Government is grateful for the cooperation it received from members of previous General Administrations who reviewed the work done and offered valuable suggestions during the process. It was very helpful that past General Administrations treated this topic between October 1989 and May 2002 and took decisions concerning the procedures related to founding new Oblate mission.

Its content is intended to help all those in the administrative and leadership service of the Congregation. This document also establishes the policy to both change the status and amend the statutes of a Unit. Because of its nature, it could also be used to discern and evaluate the missionary presence of any Oblate community.

The Superior General in Council was guided by the very nature of our identity, expressed in our CCRR:

  •  “We are a missionary Congregation. Our principal service in the Church is to proclaim Christ and his Kingdom to the most abandoned.” (C 5)
  •  “A Mission is established by the Superior General in Council in response to the call of a local Church addressing a perceived missionary need”(C 117).
  •  “The acceptance of a new Mission and the approval of general contracts between a province and a local ordinary pertain to the Superior General in Council” (R 7e).

The establishing of a new Mission requires a process of discernment in order to make the right decisions in being faithful to our mission in the world today. In the spirit of the Founder, this new document ensures “that the Congregation remains faithful to its mission and to the demands of religious life.” (C 124) “Discerning and Sustaining Oblate Mission” is in line and complementary with the other Central Government administrative documents.

We hope that this document will also help not only Major Superiors but every Oblate and community to discern and evaluate our ministries at the light of the Oblate Criteria contained in this document. The 2010 Chapter invites Oblates to “periodically submit their ministries to the discernment of their local community for evaluation and review.” cfr. Chapter 2010, On Conversion in our Oblate Mission, Nº 3, p. 25.

This document will help us:

  • to be faithful in our missionary call to be prophets and inspiring leaders at the service of our communities;
  • to listen to the Spirit in obedience to the will of God and for the love of our Oblate mission;
  • to use appropriately the authority given to us, especially in timely intervention to address difficult situations of our Oblate Units. (cfr. Chapter 2010, On Conversion in our Service of Leadership and Authority, Nº 1, p. 28.)
  • to be faithful to the spirit of government according to our CC and RR, guiding those in authority to “make sure that the structures are flexible enough to evolve with our lived experience” (C. 72) and to restructure at the proper time.
  • to restructure our Oblate Units in response to the Chapter Call to “continue to evaluate and review our mission, particularly at the level of the whole Congregation, so as to establish priorities to guide us in the effective use of personnel and material resources. (cfr. Chapter 2010, On Conversion in our Service of Leadership and Authority, Nº 3, p. 28.)

As we approach our 200th Anniversary of Foundation in 2016, this document of Discerning and Sustaining Oblate Mission” will help us to open new missions and ministries; to accompany and support Units in their situation of growing or decreasing.

This Central Government document is available already in digital version in the three languages of the Congregation. (The Internal Mission Committee of the Central Government, 7 October 2014)

A new member for the community

The 6th member of our community arrived on the 20th of August: Fr. Bonga MAJOLA, a young Oblate from South Africa. We can say that 2014 has actually been the starting year of the EMIC. Since 2012 the year in which this new community was founded, we have been living in a temporary situation with the renovations of the property that were not fully completed and a lot of uncertainties about the members of the community: Having to change the Superior because of family problems; the arrival and departure, after 40 days, of Fr. ASODO having to reapply for the right visa, etc. We hope that the arrival of Bonga will put an end to this instability of the foundation of our community.

In spite of these initial difficulties, already a number of activities have been initiated. At the end of January we had a very powerful and special time in Rome, with the members of the General Administration, during which we shared our joys and concerns. We also spent time preparing the essentials for the bicentennial of the foundation of the Congregation.

Most of the renovation of the house was completed in February shortly before the beginning of the session on the Oblate Charism in view of the bicentenary preparation for the Congregation (25 January 1816). And this session became a totally new beginning, marked with a week’s pilgrimage on the footsteps of St. Eugene, by an Oblate group from Belgium and Netherlands. Shortly after this was a two month “Mazenod Experience” in Spanish, which was followed by a pilgrimage of the Oblates and lay people of the Anglo-Irish Province. In July, the Provincial Council of Poland came for a retreat and pilgrimage. This was immediately followed by a three week session for those who work in the Oblate pre-novitiates. In August we had a three week session for the European Scholastics in preparation for Perpetual Oblation. Currently there is another Mazenod Experience in English and a number of other meetings are already on our programme.

The “Mazenod Experience” session is being animated by Richard SUDLIK from the United States Province, Joseph LABELLE from the Aix community, and John O’DOHERTY from the Australian Province. The participants come from 8 Oblate Units: Wolfgang BOEMER from the Province of Central Europe, Tshidiso MOLEKO from the Central Province of South Africa, Adam FILAS from the Assumption Province in Canada, John MALAZDREWICH, Douglas JEFFREY and Daniel SZWARC from the Lacombe Province in Canada, Tony RIGOLI and Paul NOURIE from the United States Province, Marius NIMAL and Ruwan PRASANNA from the Colombo Province of Sri Lanka, Dango SOMOR from the Bangladesh Delegation, Eko SAKTIO and Andri ATMAKA from the Indonesian Province and Bonga MAJOLA from the Aix community.

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