GENERAL ADMINISTRATIONWelcoming a new superior
On July 4, 2015, the International Roman Scholaticate (IRS) witnessed the installation of their new Superior. After six years of service to the scholasticate community Fr. Mario BRANDI passed the ‘baton’ to his successor, Fr. Wojciech POPIELEWSKI, during a solemn celebration of the Eucharist, presided over by Fr. Louis LOUGEN, the Superior General. He was accompanied by eighteen concelebrants, all Oblates, and the few scholastics who were present in Rome on the day.
Wojciech was born in Poland in 1966. He made his First Vows in 1986 and was
ordained a priest in 1992. In his years of specialization at the Biblicum
(1995-1998), he had already been part of the formation Team of IRS. Until now
he was Novice Master in the Poland province. Meanwhile, Fr. Mario Brandi, after
a short period of well-deserved rest, will be welcomed into the Oblate
community of Aix for the moment.
We were about twenty Oblates from
the Province of France and one from the Province of Cameroon; we came to deeply
immerse ourselves in the source of the charism of St. Eugene de Mazenod. A week
of retreat in Aix-en-Provence, the cradle of the Oblates; it is indeed a grace!
It was good to be here, in this lively city, so rich in history, and in this
house where each corner tells this or that aspect of the founding events: The
Foundation room, the Church of the Mission, the Chapel of the First Vows, and
the Founder’s Room.
We felt at home in Aix and yet… overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the missionary project that arose here 200 years ago and has spread throughout the world, from the pole to the tropics. One would have to be Father General to be able to embrace the Oblate presence all over the world! However, each one of us has been called by the Lord to give his small contribution. This is our pride and our joy!
The general theme of the retreat was that of the 2nd year of the triennium: Formation.
Joseph BOIS helped us to reflect
on our first and only love, the love we bear for Christ, to continue to let
ourselves be formed by Him. Henricus ASODO from Indonesia, made us discover how
his missionary experience has helped to form him as an apostolic man; is it not
so for each one of us? He also presented the apostolate of our Oblate brothers
in his vast country: Oblates from Australia, France, and Italy and now from
Indonesia who brought and continue to bring Christ to the poorest of the poor
in Java and Borneo. Benoît DOSQUET made us to relive the 200 years history of
our beginnings, and revealed the face of our founding fathers. It was good to
hear about their wealth or their weaknesses or their experiences; it was all
helpful to us for it allowed us to interpret our own experiences. Bonga MAJOLA,
from South Africa, put his young missionary experience at our service to make
us discover how the many crises that we might have been through have also
formed us and how the cross is present in our mission. How do we accept it, how
do we live it? And all this with reference to Eugene de Mazenod’s experience of
the Cross. Krzysztof ZIELENDA, from Poland, challenged us concerning the place
of the Virgin Mary in our life as Oblates. The stories leading to the
proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and the role our Founder
played in this regard left us surprised and amazed.
Every day we went out on a pilgrimage in town to visit the sites in which Eugene de Mazenod and our First Fathers lived. These places are now engraved in our hearts.
We leave Aix, already prepared in heart and spirit to live this 200th anniversary of our Foundation in communion with all our Oblate brothers of the world. We have had more than a pilgrimage, more than a retreat; we have contributed to what could be seen as a "new Foundation” of the congregation in the world on the occasion of its bicentenary. Thanks to the wonderful and generous team which received us and animated our retreat. (François CARPENTIER at http://www.centremazenod.org/ )
The summer session for Oblate
scholastics is a session that allows participants to live in the cradle of the
Congregation, a spiritual experience which helps them to make a concrete step
in their formation to missionary life.
This year there were 15
scholastics who attended the session. They came from Poland, India, Italy, USA,
South Korea, Czech Republic and Guatemala. During the session, they followed
lectures on the life of St. Eugene de Mazenod, the history of the Congregation
and the Oblate Charism. The lectures were followed by visits to places where
Eugene had lived as well as by sharing in smaller groups. All those were done
in a climate of openness to the linguistic and cultural differences of each
On the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Church of the Mission hosted a beautiful International Mass animated by the participants of the Scholastics’ Summer Session. The richness of our Oblate family in culture, language and diversity became evident and was highly appreciated by the parishioners of the Church of the Mission. During the Mass three young Oblates shared their vocation stories and gave inspiring testimonies of their experience of the Session.
The session was animated by two members of the European Office of Formation (BEF), three formators and the Aix community. The session closed with a Mass and renewal of vows presided by Father General at the tomb of the Founder in the Cathedral of Marseille. (Krzysztof ZIELENDA in http://www.centremazenod.org)