HOLY SEE3 Oblates at seminar for new bishops
In September, the Vatican Congregation for Bishops held a seminar for bishops nominated in the course of the previous year. There were 125 bishops, including three Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate: Bishops Jan KOT (Bishop of Zé Doca, Brazil); Wilhelm STECKLING (Bishop of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay); and Mark EDWARDS (Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne, Australia).
Bishops Jan KOT, Wilhelm STECKLING and Mark EDWARDS
This seminar, which some believe to have been modeled on the Oblate seminar for new provincials, included formal talks, opportunities for questions in the plenary forum and small group discussions in language groups. Topics included the understanding of what a bishop is, spiritual discernment, care for the family, healthy affectivity for priests, evangelization, finances and Eastern Rite Churches, among other things.
Highlights were Mass at the tomb of St Peter
and an audience with Pope Francis. However, connections at meals, friendships
and bonds with others from around the world may be the most important result. The
seminar afforded growth in understanding of the situation of the Church in
countries as various as rural Brazil, Ukraine, the Philippines, urban Italy,
the USA and Puerto Rico.
(Bishop Mark Edwards)
The Oblate General Postulator, Fr. Thomas KLOSTERKAMP, was recently interviewed on Vatican Radio concerning the future beatification of "Joseph Tien and his 16 companions,” the Vatican’s name for the 17 priests and laity whose decree of martyrdom was approved by Pope Francis earlier this year. Fr. Tien was the first Laotian martyr. The list includes European missionaries from France, one from Italy and several local Laotian Catholics.
The six Oblates of Mary Immaculate in the group are Fathers Mario BORZAGA (†1960); Louis LEROY (†1961); Michel COQUELET (†1961); Vincent L’HÉNORET (†1961); Jean WAUTHIER (†1967); and Joseph BOISSEL (†1969). Fr. Borzaga came from Italy. The other Oblate martyrs were from France. The day for their beatification is yet to be announced.
The following links lead to the two-apart interview with Fr. Klosterkamp, in English:
August 27, 2015
September 4, 2015
In his keynote address, the Prefect of the Congregation, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, dealt with the novel vital relationship that consecrated persons need to incarnate as a response to God's call. He explained that "the Church is inviting us to embrace the spirituality of communion, the 'culture of the encounter', where the brothers and sisters with whom we follow Jesus do not remain solely 'our major penance'; indeed, they offer us the possibility of experiencing God in a concrete way, because it is our brothers and sisters who give us the opportunity to love”.
Of course the highlight of the meeting was an audience with the Holy Father, Pope Francis. Addressing the young consecrated men and women gathered in the Paul VI hall, Pope Francis urged them to choose the true freedom which comes from the Spirit and not from worldliness, to nurture great dreams for God and to have a heart enkindled with love. He then addressed in particular those coming from Iraq and Syria, recalling the many martyrs that have witnessed their faith with their blood. A special thanks was reserved for the women consecrated for their witnessing: they are true icons of the Church-Bride and Mother.
One of the invited speakers was Fr. Fabio CIARDI, the Director of the Office of Oblate Studies and Research at the General House in Rome. He spoke to the participants twice. In his first talk, Fr. Fabio affirmed that "to be young means to be open to novelties, free from prejudices, ready for an unconditional donation, docile to the Holy Spirit's divine adventure, looking ahead for God's future and his infinite horizons”. It's an invitation to have the courage to trust in God and allow him to guide us by his Spirit, like a pencil or a brush in the Artist's hands. How can this be done? Fr Ciardi explained: "By listening to and living the Word of God; by spending time to talk to him lovingly in prayer; by practicing practical love with all, especially the poor and the marginalized”.
On the final day of the meeting, Fr. Fabio exhorted the Young Consecrated to follow their Founders' example: indeed, they were men and women capable to "see values where others saw none; to recognize beauty where others failed to do so”. All Young Consecrated men and women need to feel urged to have the same creative capacity, the boldness and the enterprise of their Founders; also, the capacity to know and understand contemporary society, and to work together with others to provide adequate responses for today's humanity's needs. Concluding, Fr Ciardi quotes St John Paul II: "Besides having a great story to narrate, we have also a great one to build”.(From press releases of the CICLSAL)