551 - January 2015
December 6th, 2014 - January 7th, 2015



A happy progress report

On November 27, the theological congress of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints met to give their judgment on the cause of Fr. Mario BORZAGA (1932-1960) and his catechist Thoj Xyooj Paul (1941-1960). Both lost their lives in Laos. The commission affirmed the martyrdom of both Servants of God, a major step toward their beatification, which could possibly take place at the end of next year, 2015.

At the next theological congress of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, in the spring of 2015, the General Postulation might be able to present the cause of the other “Laotian martyrs”. Among them are five Oblates: Fr. Louis LEROY (1923-1961), Fr. Michel COQUELET (1931-1961), Fr. Vincent L’HÉNORET (1921-1961), Fr. Jean WAUTHIER, (1926-1967) and Fr. Joseph BOISSEL (1909-1969).

Also, this November, the diocesan inquiry into the cause of Fr. Bastiampillai Anthonipillai THOMAS (1886-1964) from Jaffna, Sri Lanka, founder of the first Asian contemplative male and female Congregations, the Rosarians, came to an end. All the material has already arrived in Rome. The cause will be introduced to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in December.

At present, the Oblate General Postulation administers the causes of St. Eugene DE MAZENOD, Bl. Joseph GERARD, Bl. Joseph CEBULA, Bl. Francesco Esteban LACAL and companions (Spanish Oblate Martyrs); the Venerables, Vital GRANDIN, Charles Dominique ALBINI and Anthony KOWALCZYK; the Servants of God, Ovide CHARLEBOIS, Victor LELIÈVRE, Mario BORZAGA and Thoj Xyooj Paul, Joseph Thao Tien and Companions (Laotian Martyrs) and Bastiampillai Anthonipillai THOMAS.

At the same time the Roman Postulation is working on five non-Oblate causes: Bl. Joseph Vaz, Sri Lanka (Canonization on January 14, 2015); Bl. Maria Anna Blondin, Canada; Bl. Maria Rosa Durocher, Canada; Bl. Nicolas Bunkerd Kitbamrung, Thailand, and the S.G. Johannes Maria Haw, Germany.

Presently these other Oblate causes, which have already obtained the nihil obstat from the Holy See, are in the phase of the diocesan inquiry: Fr. Michael Jean Alexandre GUILLAME (1871-1951), Sri Lanka; Cardinal Thomas Benjamin COORAY (1901-1988), Sri Lanka; and Fr. Ludwik WRODARCZYK (1907-1943), Ukraine. The diocese of Bayeux-Lisieux in France has shown interest in the opening of the cause of Bishop Pierre FALLAIZE (1887-1964). Oblates from Paraguay speak of the possibility of opening the cause of Bishop Piet Jacobus SHAW (1925-1984). (Fr. Thomas KLOSTERKAMP, Postulator General)

Beginning to plan for the 36th General Chapter

The first meeting of the 2016 Precapitular Commission took place at the General house in Rome on December 2-4, 2014. The Chapter Commissioner, Fr. Claudio BERTUCCIO and two Commission members, Frs. Martin WOLF and Emmanuel YOUNGTEN were appointed by the Superior General in Council in September 2014. Fr. William O’DONNELL is the Commission secretary.

We spent some time getting to know each other better before starting the work that will bring us together for about two years. Then we started listening to the Central Government expectations for the coming Chapter. Finally the real work began.

We examined the Chapter Directory and the documentation left by the former Precapitular Commissions, taking notes of the changes and follow-up needed. Little by little a long list of things to be done was written, together with a timetable for their accomplishment.

Lastly we studied the responses received from the consultation started by Father General for the theme of the Chapter. Luckily there were many commonalities on the proposals focusing on our Oblate identity and mission, also taking into account the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Congregation in the same year as the Chapter. Keeping all this material in mind, we formulated some proposals for a possible Chapter theme to be considered in the January/February Plenary Session of the Central Government.

We are thankful to those who have worked on this same task for previous Chapters. They have left us plenty of material, very helpful for us as we start our work. In spite of the huge amount of work that we can foresee, we still feel blessed for this opportunity to know more closely the entire Congregation.

Our next meeting will be on March 24-26, 2015. Soon you will hear from us again. We hope that the process of preparation for the Chapter will be enriching for all and will draw the interest and the collaboration of all Oblates. We entrust ourselves and this coming Chapter to your prayers, so that the Chapter may become a special Spirit-filled time for the Congregation on this 200th anniversary. (Claudio Bertuccio)

Orientation session for new Major Superiors

From November 17 to 29, the new provincials and a vicar provincial appointed in 2014 met at the General House in Rome for an orientation session so that their mission would be positive and rewarding for them and useful for the service of their Unit. In getting to know each other and members of the General Council, each one spoke about his province and its various communal realities as well as his own questions, concerns, hopes and joys.

Sharing about situations of persecution, about growing older or the reduction of the charism to parish ministry, but also about joys, allowed the group to gradually form an attentive, enthusiastic and very fraternal Oblate community. Taking turns in preparing prayer and Eucharist, taking meals and recreation together, having useful interpersonal meetings all strengthened the bonds among the participants.

The witness of the unity and solidarity of the General Council community, as well as the the wonderful welcome by members of the local community and the kind attention of the heads of General Services helped the provincials to experience the Oblate family and find ways to ensure their mission. They gratefully thank the student priests and the students at the International and the Italian scholasticates for leading some of the evening prayers.

Part of the first week was devoted to formation for leadership and self-esteem, led by Brother Loughlan Sofield of the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity. Unanimously appreciated, this interactive input brought out elements to help superiors and communities grow in kindness. A time of recollection, led by Father Luis Ignacio ROIS (Chicho) closed the week, inviting the participants to consider leadership as a revolution in tenderness, beginning with the sacrament of the Samaritan love of the Trinity.

The second week was devoted to the discovery of administrative, canonical, missionary and financial aspects, as well as an introduction to the General Services as resources for the provinces: JPIC, first and continuing formation, postulation, various realities of the General House and the community of Aix-en-Provence. It is difficult to name here all those who took the time to respond to specific situations and the very specific questions of the provincials. We heartily thank them.

Each one left this experience with a suitcase full of new ideas, new acquaintances and supports, and finally, with the brotherly smile of Louis LOUGEN who took the time to meet with each one. The mission continues!

The following Major Superiors took part in the session: Anthony MATSOSO (Lesotho); Vincent GRUBER (France); Edwin S. VASANTHARAJAH (Jaffna); Ronald CAIRNS (Northern Province, South Africa; Daniel CORIJN (Belgium/Holland); Antoni BOCHM (Poland); Edouard DAGAVOUNANSOU (Cameroon); Alberto HUAMAN (Delegation of Peru); V. Derrick WARNAKULASURIYA (Delegation of Pakistan); Raymond LEUTA (Vicar Provincial of Lesotho); Mokone RATHOKOA (Central Province, South Africa.).

Translator for the session was Fr. Daniel LEBLANC. (Vincent GRUBER, Provincial of France, the Mother Province)

A committee meeting in Rome

From the 3-7 November 2014, the OMI JPIC General Service Committee met in Rome for their annual session. Present at this session were Fathers Camille PICHE, the former director; Kennedy KATONGO, the new director; Gilberto PINON, Assistant General and holder of the Mission portfolio; Miguel FRITZ General Councillor for Latin America. Representing the Regions were Frs. Kevin MCLAUGHLIN (Europe); Bradly ROZAIRO (Asia-Oceania); Didier ZANADRAFARA (Africa-Madagascar); Antonio PONCE (Canada-United States); and Miguel PIPOLO (Latin America). Also present was Fr. Daniel LEBLANC, representative of the Oblates at the United Nations (UNO) in New York and Fr. Felix Mushobozi, CPPS, the co-executive secretary USG/UISG/ JPIC Commission in Rome who was invited as an observer and special contributor to the session.

During the five days together, the committee looked at various issues pertaining to JPIC in the places were Oblates are present and beyond. On the first day, participants were all welcomed and the new director of the General Service read a letter from the Superior General. In his letter to the committee, Fr. General said, “Study thoroughly how you can animate our Local Oblate Units in this essential ministry of our Oblate mission with the poor. How can this important ministry be coordinated in the different Oblate Regions?”

The letter by the Superior General set a tone for the deliberations of the session. Reports from the various regions and also from the UN were shared and Fr. Felix gave feedback as an observer and special listener to the presentations. Fr. Camille also shared and reflected with the group his past 6 years as director.

The second day was spent discussing the question of “How Oblate Units and Regions link with the UNO and the Washington, DC office; how they interact with NGOs, governments and others Congregations in their Regions.” Fr. Daniel CORIJN, then gave the background to the JPIC Vade Mecum, a document which the committee is reviewing and adapting.

The third day began with a talk by the Vicar General, Fr. Paolo ARCHIATI, who thanked the committee for their dedication and commitment. He challenged the committee to do more in the area of animation of Units and local communities regarding JPIC. Later in the day, the committee looked at the preparation for the Third Year of the Oblate Triennium.

The next day, the committee focused on the Superior General’s letter and his recommendations to the committee and later the group looked at the OMI JPIC priorities and statutes. The committee also outlined their strategy for the coming year and beyond, by considering capacity building workshops; improvement of the communication system and dissemination of information; integration of JPIC in formation of Oblates and the laity; more involvement of Oblate Brothers in JPIC; and developing tools for animation. The last day was spent on reviewing and looking at the way forward to better animate the Regions, Units and local communities. (Kennedy Katongo)

One body in one spirit in hope

A sandal, a candle, a petal, a chrysalis, an Oblate cross, a sign saying God is faithful, an autumn leaf and branch, and a clock. These symbols captured the experience of the participants of the General Committee of Oblate Brothers. The meeting held at the General House on 1-5 December 2014 was attended by the Brothers representing the various Regions of the Congregation as well as the members of the Mission Committee of the Central Government. The participants were: Brothers Jean-Marie DIAKANOU (Cameroun, Region of Africa-Madagascar); Noel GARCIA (Philippines, Region of Asia-Oceania); Rafal DABKOWSKI (Poland, Region of Europe); and Thomas NOVAK (OMI Lacombe, Region of Canada-United States). Bro. Ivar RUÍZ (Bolivia, Region of Latin America) was unable to attend due to a visa problem. From the Central Government, there were: Fathers Gilberto PIÑÓN Gaytán, Assistant General, and head of the Internal Mission Committee and General Councillors Luis Ignacio ROIS (Region of Europe) and Miguel FRITZ (Region of Latin America).

The first day opened with prayer led by Fr. Miguel Fritz at the Founder’s chapel. This was followed by a welcome from the Superior General, Fr. Louis LOUGEN. Fr. Gilberto walked us though the agenda of the meeting. With Fr. Miguel, we shared our hopes and fears and expectations from this meeting. This was followed by an introduction and sharing of experiences by the Brothers and the sharing of their experiences with the Brothers by Frs. Gilberto, Luis Ignacio and Miguel.

The Committee worked on various documents to ensure a greater participation of the Brothers in the different services and activities of the Congregation. They also discussed the promotion of the Brother’s vocation as well as the formation of Brothers in the different Regions of the Congregation. The committee reviewed and discussed the Statutes of the Permanent Committee for Oblate Brothers. They studied how the Brothers could participate in the General Services, like JPIC ministry and “Oblatio”; they also spoke of greater participation in the Oblate Triennium and the organization of workshops to promote Oblate fraternity.

We have made recommendations to the Superior General for decisions so that what we had envisioned for the Brothers would not just be a dream but a reality.

The meeting was not just about recommendations. We experienced Oblate fraternity; we shared our thoughts; we had discussions and clarifications and even moments of confusion. There was time for laughter, for prayer and Eucharist, and there were fraternal gatherings with the Oblate communities at the General House and the International Scholasticate. (Noel Garcia )

A truly original Congress!

The Congress on the Oblate Charism in Context will be held … in context! It will take place on 30 June until 3 July 2015 at the same time in all the Regions of the Congregation, via internet connections in eight places: San Antonio (USA); Mexico City (Mexico); Rome (Italy); Obra (Poland); Kinshasa (D.R. Congo); Johannesburg (South Africa); Colombo (Sri Lanka); and Manila (Philippines).

Every day, the Congress will have two time frames: 3 hours of connection among all the places where it is being held; 3 hours at the local level, with presentations prepared at the regional level and dialogue among the participants.

1. Objectives of the Congress

The Congress has as its primary objective to listen to the opportunities for and the challenges to the Oblate charism as it is being lived in different contexts, with a view to give a new impetus for the entire Congregation, 200 years after its birth. The Congress should, in a particular way, touch upon the internal life of the Congregation – community, formation, vows, prayer – and on its mission.

A second objective is to become more aware – especially among the young Oblates – of the richness of Oblate life today, and to increase the awareness and sense of belonging to one apostolic body.

A third objective is to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Oblate founding.

2. Content

The Congress will be divided into four sections: 1. Reading the signs of the times. 2. Understanding our present experiences. 3. Learning from the great Oblate story. 4. Dreaming of future prospects.

3. Participants

It is envisaged that a group of about 60 Oblates and lay people from the Oblate Family will attend the Congress, ready to present a paper in experiential, historical and doctrinal areas.

In addition to the official members, other participants may be invited for the duration of the Congress or for specific moments. It would be appropriate, wherever possible, that Oblates in first formation, living in the designated places, participate, even if partially.

4. Leaders on the local level

In each of the locations, a person responsible for the event has been designated. His duties are: 1. During the preparatory phase: to make and maintain contact with the participants of his area, so as to coordinate the various written contributions. 2. During the Congress: to chair and guide the work of the local Congress and internet connections with the other points of the Congress.

Five persons will be called to assist at the Congress to offer their general evaluation of the Congress and a synthesis of the most significant elements that will have emerged, together with prospects for the future.

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36th General Chapter 2016
36th General Chapter 2016
Oblate Triennium
Oblate Triennium
OMI Vocations
OMI Vocations
Links to Other Oblate Sites
Links to Other Oblate Sites