GENERAL ADMINISTRATIONPreparations continue
With less than a year to go before the 36th General Chapter during the 200th anniversary year of the Congregation, the Precapitular Commission met again in mid-October to review the preparations taken so far, and to plan the next steps.
The Commissioner, Fr. Claudio BERTUCCIO, commission members Frs. Martin WOLF and Emmanuel YOUNGTEN, secretary Fr. William O’DONNELL and General Council liaison Fr. Cornelius NGOKA spent 3 ½ days in Rome together, working through a busy agenda. Fr. Louis LOUGEN, Superior General, was on a visit to the Oblates in Poland and unable to be present.
The first item reviewed was the list of delegates to the Chapter. At present, all the delegates of the regions, and their alternates, have been elected. Those to be invited (5 Oblate Brothers and 4 others whom Fr. General can invite) and a few provincials who will finish their term (either first or second) prior to the chapter also are waiting to be determined. The total number of capitulars will be 86.
Staff for the chapter (translators, secretaries, a liturgical committee, hospitality, ambience, and other such roles) are in the process of being contacted and asked to serve. It is estimated there will be between 25 and 35 of these Oblates present in Rome for the Chapter.
In addition to reviewing the list of Oblates for the Chapter, the commission visited the Christian Brothers General House to see first-hand the various rooms and other space that will host the Chapter from next September 14 to October 12. A further visit will take place at the next commission meeting in February.
The commission reviewed the responses that were sent in to the questionnaire sent to all Oblates from the 5 Oblate regions. The number of commonalities in the responses was quite high. This information will be used by those preparing the 3rd year of the triennium and also be distributed to all Oblates for reflection and discussion prior to the chapter.
Finally, the commission reiterated that any proposals of subjects for discussion at the General Chapter must be in the hands of the commission by January 10, 2016 (firstname.lastname@example.org), in order to be considered for inclusion in the Chapter discussions.
The first such Congress was held in Sydney, Australia, on July 21-25, 2008, with about 50 Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, lay partners and youth representatives, along with members of the General Administration, in order to re-emphasize the importance of ministry with young people.
This time, the key objective will be to initiate a process to develop a missionary vision and a strategy for the coming years concerning the mission with youth in the Congregation. In addition, it will provide an opportunity for the regional representatives to share their experiences and highlight key needs of young people of our time. The Congress will also be a platform for evaluating our mission with youth as well as for discerning the means to meet the missionary challenges today, in light of the 2008 Congress and the 2004 Chapter Document ‘Witnessing to Hope’, where a separate section was dedicated to the Mission with Youth.
For this event, it has been decided that participation from the different regions and units must be limited due to the housing constraints in Aix. Along with Fr. Louis LOUGEN, Superior General, and the representatives from the General House, five representatives from each Oblate Region will participate (a combination of both Oblates and young lay men and women).
Fr. General and Fr. Luis Ignacio ROIS, the General Counselor in charge of mission with youth, invite the Oblate world to be involved in the event in the form of prayers and discussions in local Units. A separate section in the omiworld.org website dedicated to this special occasion is already open to public (http://www.omiworld.org/en/omi-youth-conference-2016).
Most members of the greater Oblate Family know such names as Michelangelo Buonarotti, Pablo Picasso, William Shakespeare, Salvador Dali and Auguste Rodin. Many Oblates also know such names as Frans CLAERHOUT, Guy MARY-ROUSSELIÈRE and even Clyde RAUSCH.
While the latter don’t (yet) have the renown of the famous artists whose works are considered masterpieces for the ages, nevertheless, they are just a few Oblates of Mary Immaculate who have used the arts as tools in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In a recent number of our Oblate review Oblatio, one will find interesting articles about some of our Oblate artists. In the preface to Volume 4 2015/2, the Director of the General Service for Oblate Studies, Fr. Fabio CIARDI, introduces the edition which is dedicated primarily to Oblate artists. In it, he states: Evangelization cannot disregard art. Paul VI, in a message to the artists in St. Peter’s Square on December 8, 1965 at the close of the Council, said: "The world in which we live needs beauty in order not to fall into despair. Beauty, like truth, is what brings joy to a person’s heart; it is the precious fruit which resists the ravages of time, which unites generations and unites them in admiration.”
He continues: Saint Eugene and our first missionaries understood this well. The art of oratory, singing, the theatrics of some ceremonies, like the tolling of the bells to call sinners to repentance, was indispensable during their parish missions; the superior of the mission going barefoot, a rope around his neck, the cross on his shoulders; processions, the erecting of a cross, etc. Already in 1826 St. Eugene had printed a Recueil de cantiques et de prières à l’usage des Missionnaires Oblats de Marie, dits de Provence. This was later followed by many other Oblates, who wrote hymns and published collections of songs in many different languages, to engage the new Christians in prayer.
"Theotókos” - Clyde RAUSCH, "Ataguvtalukutsuk, young Eskimo from Iglulik” - Guy MARY-ROUSSELIÈRE, "Woman with outstretched arms” - Wilfre JOYE
After naming many Oblates who have been engaged in the various arts over the past 200 years, he concludes his introductory remarks: You will find other names in the specific articles in this issue of Oblatio, but I know, reading this list, that many Oblates will feel unjustly excluded. I hope that this will be the beginning of a greater exchange between all the "artists” and for a deeper reflection on the relationship between art and evangelization.
At the IRS, we are starting a new year of formation. After five days of programming, on Monday, October 5, we are starting the academic year. Now we present to you our complete community: It is composed of 26 Oblates of Mary Immaculate with 18 nationalities from 4 continents:
AFRICA 9: Chad (1), Lesotho (2), Madagascar (1), Namibia (1), South Africa (1), Zambia (2), Zimbabwe (1).
AMERICA 3: Guatemala (1), Haiti (1), Paraguay (1).
ASIA 9: Korea (2), India (1), Sri Lanka (4), Vietnam (2).
EUROPE 5: Germany (1), Poland (2), Czech Republic (1), Spain (1).
We are an international and intercultural community, very diversified but enriching. It is divided into three Groups of Life. Our ideal is that which was proposed to us by Saint Eugene de Mazenod: "United by the bonds of the most intimate charity, form one heart and one soul.” (http://irsomi.blogspot.it/)