Oblate Voices is a JPIC blog that follows stories of hope and is about how Oblates and associates live and experience mission work in the spirit of the Oblate founder, St Eugene De Mazenod of responding to the needs of poor and most abandoned around the world.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Executive Action: Keeping Migrant Families Together

Missionary Oblates JPIC join with other religious communities in celebrating President Obama historic action to provide deportation relief to an estimated 5 million of our undocumented immigrant brothers and sisters.

We applaud the President's executive decision to keep families together and thankful for his leadership in providing relief from the threat of deportation. Millions of people’s lives have been changed because of the brave organizing efforts of immigrants, people of faith and other allies.

People of faith stand with the President in celebrating this bold initiative, but we also re-commit to working alongside so many undocumented individuals who are still left out of this plan. A permanent solution awaits Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

National Call in Days to Protect Immigrant Families from deportation Nov. 5 -13

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Justice for Immigrants campaign will sponsor a week of call-in days to the White House. 

Starting on November 5 to November 13, the feast of St. Frances of Cabrini, the patroness of immigrants, U.S. Catholic Bishops initiative is urging protection for families facing deportation.

The call-in days comes as the Obama Administration pledged to take action on immigration after the November 2014 mid term elections.

Everyone is encouraged to call the White House every day during the call-in period and convey this message.  

Call the White House at 1-855-589-5698 and leave the message: "Protect as many immigrants and their families as possible from deportation."

More information at  www.justiceforimmigrants.org  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Oblates in Cameroon: Keeping Faith in the Midst of Insecurity.

Originally Published on www.omiworld.org

Northern Cameroon near Nigeria is also a victim of the abuses of the Islamist Boko Haram. This past September, Oblate Ferdinand Owono Ndih, head of the Yves Tabar pre-novitiate in Mokolo shares on the experience of living in this situation. Missionary Oblates join in thought and prayers with our brothers and sisters. Missionary Oblates have significant OMI presence in Cameroon

I had to quickly get to Mokolo where the situation is not at all happy because of the Islamic Boko Haram sect. It is spreading terror, and life is becoming unbearable.

Tomorrow we will bury a catechist who was beheaded on Sunday as he walked home after presiding over prayer in his community in the absence of a priest. That same Sunday, the chapel at Ldoubam (a few kilometers from the border near Mokolo) was burned and a village destroyed by a hundred individuals armed “to the teeth”. They opened fire on a population that was taking its Sunday walk in peace. In the disturbance, a policeman and a young teacher fresh out of Normal School in Maroua were beheaded. It’s horrible what we are experiencing in this part of the national triangle.

Thank God, we have an army (BIR: Rapid Intervention Battalion) that gives the best of itself and achieves significant victories, but given the extent of the border, it cannot be everywhere. In short, the situation is sad and the cost of living is undergoing a significant surge.

Here at the pre-novitiate, we will have 16 young men; 10 are already here, but 6 from Nigeria are not here yet because Cameroon has closed its border in the north because of the BH sect and in the south because of the Ebola disease. What’s to be done, I do not know. Currently we have started a program with those who are here until things become clearer. 
(OMI France, October 2014)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hope for Africa in the Age of Ebola: A Theological Reflection

By Tembo Michael OMI

---Scholastic Tembo Michael offers a theological reflection in the age of Ebola. Michael is  a graduate student of Theology in San Antonio Texas.

Let us continue to pray for strength and healing for those who are living with Ebola. We pray for courage and support to the medical team taking care of the patients. 

In these hard-pressed economic times, nourishing life has now become a business. You cannot afford not to be strategic. We are intentionally distancing ourselves. We are not our brothers and sisters’ keeper anymore. This was the story of humanity. This is the story of humanity. This will be the story of humanity. Each person seems to be preserving their own and neglecting others?We or the future generations will be victims and beneficiaries of our actions.

Every time one turns on the TV or listens to the Radio, the talk is about Ebola? We cannot for sure avoid talking about this current pandemic. It is affecting everyone. I suppose the whole of Africa will be under some travel restrictions and precautions. 

Recently, I found a person complaining. I asked what is wrong, the person said, “I came for my physical therapy and I was asked if I am African. I answered yes. So your country Africa is sick with Ebola." This person was told.  But Africa is not a country! Where Is Africa? Is Africa Dead? No! Africa Is still Alive and God is still in our midst!

Furthermore, I had to answer some couple questions. I am wondering now, Is Ebola is in the whole Continent of Africa or West Africa? I am so sad that some people think Africa is a country. This can be the story of this person, but it is the story of everyone. Going to the hospital, the first question you might be asked for medical precautions seek is: “When was the last you visited Africa?” “Have you traveled to African in the past 21 days? Are you from Africa?

Looking at what is happening on the African continent; one wonders what has gone wrong. Africa is one of the richest continent and how can we accept being dead. With men and women of goodwill, we need to reclaim our place. We need to re-evangelize ourselves. We need “the African who believes in God the Creator, … the African who believes as the beloved one of God, the African who believes not in being the second class citizen – my emphasis,  the African who believe the through him or her  God saves the African … from oppression and slavery of Ebola” (Ecclesia in Africa, no. 57).  
“The situation is at a point where it’s hopeless and people are giving up. But the role of the Church is to give hope to the people, and we try to enhance that hope,” says a Catholic Priest in West Africa  “There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. We are sad for those who died. So my message is that we are a symbol of hope for our people and will continue to give them hope.”

We implore our Leaders to see life in Africa. “Africa is not destined for death, but for life” (Ecclesia in Africa, no. 57). Africans are not dead. Africa is not a country. Africans have the responsibility together with their leaders to define reality.  We all need to be servants so as to bring an end to this Ebola pandemic. We cannot only be on the receiving end. 

Africa is still alive. It is the duty of Africa to rebrand itself and remove any bad any bad perceptions. It is my hope that more investments go to health sectors in Africa to deal with future Ebola and other types of outbreaks.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Oblates in Philippines:Immersion in the lives and struggles of the poor

Originally Published on Philippines Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate website

The Oblates of the Philippine Province minister to the Manobo-Dulangan tribe who dwell far beyond Sen. Ninoy Aquino municipality. Fr. Renan Aban, OMI is assigned as Indigenous Peoples Ministry Coordinator since 2009. The mission continues to provide scholarships from elementary to college through the Oblate Missionary Fund.  This school year, 60 children will be provided with dormitory privileges of free food and lodging aside from their educational scholarship.

Aside from the educational program, the Oblate missionary thrust centers on the Monobo-Dulangan tribal justice and self-governance. It ensures the retention of the tribe’s cultural heritage yet open to the enrichment of other cultures.

Read the entire work of Oblates in Philippines:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Pastoral Dictum to the Ebola Crisis in Nigeria

By Fr. Ali C Nnaemeka, OMI
Nigeria – Oblates of Mary Immaculate

**We Continue to Pray for the Victims of Ebola Outbreak **

Ebola virus is devastating the nations of West Africa. Nigeria is one of the African countries where the dreadful Ebola Virus Disease broke out. As a matter of history, Ebola Virus Disease first broke out in the year 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The 2014 Ebola outbreak is the worst in the history. 

This year saw Ebola moved to other new territories, therefore causing it to mutate into different forms. Even though it did not cause serious damage in Nigeria, its arrival created serious panic amongst the people. What frightened person most was the fact that Ebola was reported to have entered through Lagos, Nigeria’s economic and commercial capital and one of the fastest growing metropolitan cities in Africa.

Nigeria authorities reacted by closing schools and borders. Nigerians started to avoid public arenas. Churches embraced on health screening and precautions. The Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria rapidly issued a pastoral guideline, which was to be adapted by each diocese according to the vulnerability of their territory. The bishops called on Nigerian Catholics to be calm, observe common health hygiene routine, visit the hospital in case of sickness and pray against the spread of the contagious disease.  We, as Oblates in Nigeria adjusted our own pastoral activities and functions in line with Bishops guidelines and pastoral context in different dioceses.

Being in non-Ebola menaced territories, Oblates in Nigeria have responded to the situation by educating people about health personal hygiene and preventive measures. To the families we minister to in our Oblate parishes and institutions, we express solidarity and support. As Oblates, we are bringing a message of hope and witness that God is accompanying the people of West Africa in the midst of this suffering and fear.

The most difficult part of it is to diffuse the panic created by the frightful nature of Ebola virus disease. Even though the Ebola Virus Disease caused Nigeria much in human and economic resources, it has also created some positive effects. It made Nigeria review its health emergency scheme, train more primary health officers who could react to emergencies of the sort. Nigeria is also in the process to reorganize its medical partnership so that it is well prepared to respond to health disasters. Pastorally, it has made our Christians see the importance of the popular saying: “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”.