ASIA-OCEANIACelebrating the bicentenary in Central Java
The District of Purwokerto, Central Java, celebrated 200 years of the foundation of the Congregation with a Mass and a community gathering afterwards.
Firstly, all the Oblates of the District gathered in Cilacap Parish: Frs. Antonius RAJABANA, Yohanes DAMIANUS, Reynold SOMBOLAYUK, Fr. Niko Ola PAUKUMA), Frs. Charlie BURROWS, Vincent WATUN and Peter STOLL, as well as scholastic Petrus SIDABALOK. The Eucharist which was celebrated in a chapel about 5 km from the parish of Cilacap.
The Mass was packed with nearly 700 people. There was extra seats and canopies/tents to accommodate the extra crowd. The Vicar General and also the Dean of the diocese were present with several other diocesan and Missionaries of the Sacred Heart priests. The provincial, Fr. Rajabana, was the principal concelebrant.
In his homily, the provincial spoke of the Founder’s experience that is now the basis of Oblate spirituality as well as St Paul's experience, namely conversion and sacrifice. After the Eucharist, the Celebration Committee had prepared a few little ceremonies to mark the occasion: the traditional cutting of the cake as well as the cutting of the "tumpeng" - the cone shaped rice surrounded by assorted Indonesian dishes. Photos were taken and seven balloons were released into the night sky, representing the seven Oblates working in the District. Each balloon had a prayer attached to it. Afterwards, we all had a simple meal together. One of the endearing factors to this celebration was that there was a good number of young people involved. (Fr. Peter Subagyo Stoll)
Elle is a popular team sport in Sri Lanka. To an outsider’s eye, it might look somewhat similar to American baseball. Our Lady of Holy Rosary Church, Kuchchaveli, organized a friendly Elle tournament on January 15, which is the Thaipongal Day – the Tamil festival of thanksgiving.
The invitees were Catholic, Hindu and Buddhist girls’ teams from nine different towns. Among the guests who witnessed the occasion were Fr. Balasingam JEYABALAN, the parish priest of Nilaweli, and Fr. Jesu RAMESH, the parish priest of Kuchchaveli.
This event publicly demonstrated the harmonious co-existence and the dialogue among the multi-religious and multi-ethnic people in and around the parish. Meanwhile Fr. Ramesh has also taken a lot initiative to raise the educational level of the children of the area with his linguistic talents. He also travels long distances daily, which he does happily, in order to gather children and people together for religious and educational activities in his parish. (Fr. S. Randil FERNANDO)
HAVONOS is an organization in Holland that is designed to help those affected by the war in Northern Sri Lanka; they work in partnership with the Oblates of the Jaffna Province. The Oblates organize mini-programs, on behalf of HAVANOS, to grant support for war-affected widows.
On December 11, 2015, thirty-one widows from around Mankulam were granted first installments to start poultry or dairy farms. Additional help will be made available in order to establish a regular livelihood for these widows who are the only breadwinners in their families. Similar mini-programs are scheduled for the widows around Mullikulam, Kilinochchi, and Yakkachi.
It is to be noted that there are an estimated 90,000 war-widows and 160,000 amputees as a result of the 30 year civil war in Sri Lanka. These widows fall under either or both of these categories: some have lost their husbands while others’ husbands have lost their limbs. Compounding these problems, some of these widows themselves are amputees and are displaced persons, living on temporary land. (http://www.omijaffna.com/)
Samvaada is a Sri Lankan Catholic journal on interreligious dialogue started in 2012 in honour of late prophet-martyr Fr. Michael RODRIGO of treasured memory. So far it has had three issues. It is an Oblate venture whose editor-in-chief is Fr. Claude PERERA. Other Oblates on the editorial board are Fr. Chrysantha THILAKARATNE and Eric WASALATHANTHRI.
The editors say that their biggest challenge is to find articles for publication, and thus, appeal to Oblate and non-Oblate writers from all over the world to contribute by way of articles related to theology of religions and its praxis in various parts of the world. The main articles of the current issue are: A Difficult Vocation: Fr. Michael Rodrigo at the Foot of the Cross; Political Participation of Women in Early India; Relationship between Early India and the Old Testament; Thou Shalt not Worship Globalization. For any related correspondence please contact Fr. Claude Perera via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.