558 - August-September 2015
July 9th, 2015 - September 9th, 2015

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ASIA-OCEANIA

Death of an old friend of the Oblates

ZENIT Information Agency announced on June 25, 2015, that the Patriarch of Cilicia of Armenian Catholics, His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, died in Beirut that same day. Born in Cairo in 1940, he was ordained a priest on August 15, 1965 in his hometown. Later, already Bishop of Iskanderiya (Alexandria) in Egypt since 1989, he was elected in October 1999 as head of the Armenian Catholic Church.

During the years in Rome for his preparation for the priesthood (1958-1965), the young man, who then bore the name of Peter Taza, was a student at the Pontifical Armenian College. At the request of Cardinal Gregory Peter Agagianian, prefect of the Congregation of Propaganda, a dozen seminarians of the college came in July-August 1959, for a few weeks of relaxation with us at our holiday home in Roviano. Their presence made the community more international as these young Armenians came from countries not represented among their Oblates friends: Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, Greece, Egypt and Argentina. They participated fully in our community life - prayer, sports, walks, conversations, etc. -- and they wove with us lasting friendships. The experience was repeated the following two years.

The years passed. And then, fifty years later, one of those seminarians was now the Armenian Patriarch. During his first visit to Rome after his election, he remembered the pleasant holiday once spent in Roviano with his colleagues and also the Oblates who had welcomed them. By accepting the invitation to dine by Father STECKLING, Superior General, on February 7, 2000, His Beatitude wanted to express once again his gratitude and fond memories of the beautiful weeks spent in the Sabine hills with young Oblates of that time.

The Roman Oblate students of more than a half-century ago also remember their friend, the Patriarch of the Armenians, who, during the commemoration of the centennial of the Armenian “martyrdom” in St. Peter's Basilica last April 12, delivered an address for the proclamation of St. Gregory of Narek (950-1005) “the most loved and most widely read among the saints of the Armenian people”, as a new doctor of the Church. Later, on April 21, he would assert “that 2015 was of paramount importance for all Armenians of the world (because) it was an opportunity for them to claim their rights and justice.”

In union with the so proven faithful of the Patriarchate, we ask the Lord to welcome their deceased Pastor into his peace. (Alexandre TACHÉ)



Youth experience compassionate action for the poor

The 2015 "Temu Raya Orang Muda OMI Indonesia – TERAMO” (OMI Indonesia Youth Encounter) was held from 25-30 June at the District of North Borneo. Around 472 participants from 10 Oblate parishes attended the event. Two other nearby parishes joined the program: Mensalong and Sebuku, both established by the Oblates before being handed over to the diocese.

TERAMO was opened by Archbishop Yustinus Harjo Susanto, MSF, of Samarinda and the Apostolic Administrator of Tanjung Selor Diocese. He was joined by with Fr. Antonius RAJABANA, the Oblate provincial of Indonesia. The opening ceremony was conducted in the tradition of the Tidung culture (the local tribe). Holy Mass followed, presided by the archbishop, with 13 Oblates and one MSF priest concelebrating. Their presence showed the big support of the Oblates and the Church for this youth gathering.

The entire program highlighted the TERAMO theme, "A New Spirit Actualized in Compassionate Action for the Poor”. The participants experienced many interesting and new things. It was the first visit to Borneo for many of them. They traveled by speedboat and were carried on a dump truck; they swam in the river; they enjoyed native delicacies of the Dayak and experienced Dayak customs. Staying with the local people, the participants could learn and feel a simple and community life style.

There were seminars and faith sharing led by several lay dignitaries. The Oblate provincial helped the participants reflect more deeply on the spirit and values of the Oblates.

The whole event was concluded with a Mass led by Father Rajabana. In his homily, he sang an Indonesian song entitled "Sampai Akhir” (Till the End), to show that the Oblates will accompany, support, and walk together with the youth forever. At the end of the Mass, the TERAMO candle was handed over to the OMI District of Balikpapan (East Borneo) who will be the host of the 2019 OMI Indonesia Youth Encounter. (Indonesian Triennium Team)




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