561 - December 2015
November 11th, 2015 - November 30th, 2015

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First scholastics from Madagascar at Obra


Oblate Scholasticate, Obra, Poland

About thirty-five years ago, Oblates from Poland established a mission on the large island of Madagascar, in the diocese of Tamatave. They immediately began to think of the future, being faithful to a challenge from the Superior General, Fr. Marcello ZAGO, who told them: "If we have started some undertaking, we must know how to continue it”. Encouraged by this, the Oblates of Madagascar by 1988 began to open houses of formation. This has been so successful that according to the latest OMI Personnel, there are now 40 Oblate priests, 5 Brothers and 25 scholastics in the delegation.


Hippolyta RANDRIAMTSALAMA and Andry HERINIRINA

While they have well-established houses of formation in Madagascar itself, wishing to teach the candidates that the Congregation is international, for many years they have also sent seminarians and Fathers to study in other countries, especially in Africa and in Rome. Three Malagasy students are currently pursuing their theological studies at the Oblate Scholasticate in Cameroon; one in Rome.

On October 14. 2015, for the first time, two scholastics arrived in Poland, and after one year of a Polish language course in Poznan, they will continue their theology studies at the Oblate Scholasticate in Obra.

Hippolyta RANDRIAMTSALAMA and Andry HERINIRINA have begun their Polish studies. Both of these young Oblates professed their first vows in 2012 and completed their philosophical studies at the Archdiocesan Seminary in Fianarantsoa in 2015.

 




Three days of hope…

Dare to live in hope: that was the theme that brought together some Oblates and their friends last August 27-29. Three days for reflecting, sharing, meditating, breathing… three days for the intersecting of intellectual, artistic, spiritual and convivial approaches. This first summer university met the expectations of the sixty or so persons who were there, even more than they could have hoped for!

About sixty persons gathered at Pontmain, in Mayenne, with Luc TARDIF, the provincial of the Oblates of Notre-Dame-du-Cap Province, a theology professor at St. Paul University in Ottawa, and with Lorraine Sainte-Marie, his colleague at the same university.

A "summer university” at the end of summer break and before "back to the grindstone”, it was appealing for us to act "like grownups!” And these days, we did not have to look far to find a relevant topic ... But we wanted to approach it in a various ways!

Intellectual, first of all: three conferences focused on hope from the "theological and practical” point of view; then from "ecclesial perspectives”; and finally vis-à-vis the Oblate charism as a "source of hope for our world.”

Next, the artistic, with a classical piano recital at Friday noon by Laurence Garcin; then a concert on Saturday afternoon by Mathieu Pirro, a composer and author. But the artistic dimension was equally considered in two workshops, one on plastic arts led by Anne-Claude Aclif and the other on writing by Mathieu.


The spiritual was covered on Thursday evening with a visit whose theme was the message of Pontmain, followed by a period of spiritual refreshment in the basilica where Amélie Appettiti, a young professional dancer, offered us a beautiful danced version of a Salve Regina, something very new for most of us. On Friday morning, a trip to Mont-St-Michel allowed us to live an enchanting moment at the Eucharist in the little village church. On Saturday, the three days concluded with a celebration of hope in the Oblates’ chapel of the missions.

Finally, the convivial dimension because that’s sort of the trademark of the OMI! We could have used some sunshine to organize a barbecue, but….never mind! Good humor, joy at meeting one another, at discovering one another: in short, "being human”, gave all the color that was needed at the table. (Bertrand EVELIN in Audacieux pour l’évangile, November 2015)

 

 




Planning for events with youth

The European Commission for Youth and Vocation Ministry, made up of an Oblate from each Oblate Unit in Europe, met at Pozuelo, Spain, on October 23-29. Again this year, the meeting was open to a small representation of laity, youth and religious women coming from various places and who work with the Oblates in youth ministry. Present were youth from France, Spain, the Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Poland and Italy, as well some OMMI, COMI, and Oblate Sisters.


The first days of the meeting, when the youth and the religious women were present, had the character of a "pre-congress” in view of the Second Congress on the Mission with Youth that will be held in Aix next March. The work followed the model that will be used at the Congress itself: "see, judge and act.” The working language was English, but the sharing went beyond the limitations of that one language and the native languages, allowing a deep exchange of experiences, impressions and new ideas from the diverse Oblate youth realities.

The rich sharing emphasized strong common threads: the explicit belonging to the Oblate charism and the relationship with the experience of Eugene; but also those special, individual differences that make it possible to "look at” the world of youth to which we each belong.

Coming into contact with the special characteristics of each one, whether on the personal level or the cultural reality, brought us closer to each other and allowed us to better discover what is going on with youth in our own milieu.


The meeting of the Committee was just part of the different experiences we have lived in common during these past few years: the two GECO meetings (from the Italian: Giovani d’Europa per il Carisma Oblato [Youth of Europe for the Oblate Charism]); the Oblate pre-WYD in Malaga, Spain; the PilgrimAix experience of this past summer. It was also another opportunity to make our contribution to the Oblate mission with youth. To have been able to attend the meeting made us feel like "privileged” youth and made us realize how great the Oblate charism is, and can be embodied in various youth situations, even while greatly distant by culture and geography.

After the departure of the youth and the religious women, the Oblates continued the work of the preceding days in order to make a synthesis that will be the contribution of Oblate Europe at the Congress in Aix. There was also an update on the preparations for the upcoming Oblate WYD in Poland. We especially tried to foster fraternity amongst ourselves; we had the strong feeling of having been called to build that "non-territorial community” which is so special to the mission with the youth of Europe. (Francesca and Fr. Antonio D’AMORE)




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