CANADA-UNITED STATESMeeting of Young Oblates of the Region
On February 14, 2017 the first official meeting of the Young Oblates of CA-US Region Committee was held in the Provincial House of Assumption Province in Toronto, Canada. CROCUS representatives Frs. Marian GIL and Luc TARDIF facilitated this event. Young Oblates from the following Provinces were present: Fr. Remi LEPAGE – Notre-Dame-du-Cap; Fr. Daniel JANULEWICZ – Assumption; Fr. Vijay DEIVANAYAGAM – OMI Lacombe, and Fr. Juan GASPAR – US. They selected Fr. Lepage as chairman and Fr. Gaspar as secretary of this newly established committee whose role is to move forward efforts for "Discerning the future of missionary presence of the Oblates in the CA-US Region”.
There was discussion about current ministries and Oblate formation, as well as faith sharing about one’s personal Oblate vocation. A reawakening zeal to contribute to future missionary efforts colored the meeting. The recent 36th General Chapter document and its six directives became the basis for ongoing conversation about the future of Oblate mission and missionary presence.
This permanent committee (whose membership will have a 3-year term) will embark on a yearlong process to organize a Congress for Young Oblates of CA-US Region to be held in Canada in late spring of 2018. The process to be employed at the gathering will be the SEE-JUDGE-ACT methodology. Five representatives from each province will be invited to take part in this event. Each province will host a meeting in order to allow participants to learn more about our ministries. The undercurrent feeling of this meeting was one of hopefulness and enthusiasm from all members present. (By Marian Gil, OMI - Provincial Assumption Province)
The Oblate Conference of the Canada-United States Region (CROCUS) met at Yellowknife, NWT, at the invitation of the Lacombe Province. The Major Superiors (provincials and vicars) took part. Besides questions of usual coordination, the Conference focused on some common projects with the youth of the Region, as well as joint efforts in the area of Vocations and First Formation. A program of ongoing formation for superiors is beginning to take shape.
The Chapter of 2016 had asked that a Brother be included in the regional meetings. Jason ROSSIGNOL, from the U.S. Province, was able to be present for part of the gathering. His presence was visible corroboration for the leadership of the Region of the importance of the Brothers in the life and mission of the Congregation.
Mother Nature, cold and beautiful, contrasted with the warmth of heart and the immense energy of the bishop and his humble pastoral team (including the 3 Oblates among his 7 priests). The people and their pastors are proud of the work to which the Oblates have been dedicating themselves since the 1850’s. It was a beautiful experience. (INFO OMI, 15 March 2017)
On January 22, 2017, the Missionary Oblates of Assumption Province and their guests gathered at St. Eugene de Mazenod parish in Brampton to celebrate a Eucharist for the closing of the Oblate Triennium and Bicentenary Jubilee. The Bicentenary Jubilee marked the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Oblate religious family by St. Eugene de Mazenod. The Oblate Triennium was a three-year period of preparation for the bicentenary, with a special focus on the religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. The Mass in Brampton officially closed the Jubilee celebrations for the Oblates of Assumption Province.
Presiding the Jubilee Mass was Cardinal Orlando QUEVEDO, OMI, Archbishop of Cotabato, Philippines. He was joined by Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, Bishop Douglas CROSBY of Hamilton, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, and several other bishops.
Numerous priests, both religious and diocesan, concelebrated the Mass. The church was filled with people: consecrated men and women, as well as representatives of groups and organizations, families, and parishioners from Oblate churches.
In his homily, Cardinal Quevedo stated that he undertook the 9000 mile journey to Canada to pay a debt of gratitude, since a Quebec Oblate – Fr. Gerard MONGEAU – who later became the first Archbishop of Cotabato, was one of the "Magnificent Seven”, a group of great missionaries in the south of the Philippines. Cardinal Quevedo urged the Oblates to keep alive the "sacred fire” that "is a fire of love of God and our Immaculate Mother…a fire of missionary daring for those in need of God’s grace”.
During the offertory, gifts representing the five continents, along with bread and wine, were brought to the altar: a yellow candle and rice for Asia; a green candle and fruit for Africa; a red candle and grains of corn for the Americas; a blue candle and flowers for Oceania;, and a white candle as well as a Bible for Europe. After Holy Communion, the Ulman and Kasprzak families received the Crystal Oblate Madonna Award from Father Marian GIL, Provincial, in recognition of exceptional dedication in promoting the Oblate charism, and participation in the mission of Assumption Province.
Before the final blessing, members of the Missionary Association of Mary Immaculate, and young people who attended the World Youth Day 2016, were commissioned as "faithful witnesses” of the Good News and "friends of the poor” by Cardinal Thomas Collins. The joyful celebration continued with a well-attended reception at Millennium Gardens Banquet Hall.
While the Oblate Triennium and Bicentenary Jubilee have ended, the work of the Missionary Oblates of Assumption Province and their collaborators continues with a great amount of zeal as well as enthusiasm. (Fr. Pawel RATAJCZAK in News and Views, January-February 2017)