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.

Monday, August 18, 2014

How I Stop My Guardian Angel from Slapping Me in the Face

By Patti Radle  in San Antonio, Texas.

I am a pacifist, so I don’t really think of my Guardian Angel as a being who would use violence.

But lately I’ve been saying to people, “If I tell you ‘yes, I’ll do it,’ I’m afraid my guardian angel is going to slap me.  Well, yes, of course, they look at me strangely. 

Even so, we’ve all seen one of those movies where someone is getting hysterical—just losing it!—and all of a sudden someone slaps them and they come out of their crazy state and face reality, pulling their psyche together.

Well, I think the challenge of the Christian, or, in more general terms, the person who is spiritually determined and karmatically driven to do good in a loving manner, is to get a balance on the use of the word “yes” before they get into a psychotic disabling habit of using the word.

I am no one to model that kind of balanced behavior.  I’m learning.  I have only recently come to a position of conscious change in behavior after years of saying, “I have to do something! I’ve got to cut back.  I’m too damn busy!  I’m constantly exhausted!”

A statement that gave me a bit of a slap in the face was when I heard my spiritual director say, “Being too busy is evil. It affects everything you do and it affects your relationships.”  I’ve certainly gotten to a point where I see the depth of relationships suffering while the breadth of the number of relationships increases.  I serve in an elected public office, so it’s a bit hard to get a handle on this. But I think anyone working in the service of peace, justice, and integrity of creation is serving in “public office” and faces the same challenge.  More strongly, I am better understanding the importance of deepening the close relationships.  These relationships provide for me a fortress against insanity.

Let’s return to the “yes problem.”   I’ve finally learned that to not say “yes” doesn’t mean to say “no.”   I have found other phrases that put it a different way:  “I’m sorry I won’t be able to do that, but I have the contact info for someone who would be a terrific help.”  Or, “I’m not free to take care of that now, but after ________ (blah, blah, blah), I’ll have a little more time.” Or, “I don’t have the time to do that, but I’d be glad to sit with you for a while and work on some ideas.”  

Anyway, by using creativity in a response that makes the other person and I feel there has not been a rejection, I’m able to ease my conscious and conserve my time and energy.  I figure it works a lot better than pushing myself to that hysterical state with a screaming rant that ends with, “Are you crazy?!!!  I’m so friggin’ busy!!!  I don’t have time for that!!” because that’s when I just might start to feel the hand of the winged being come flying at me.  I must remember that even Jesus took the boat out away from the shore, away from all the demand on His time.  And, He went out to the desert…alone…to the silence! 

But we are so accessible these days whether by email, Facebook, Linked-in, Twitter, Text, or Phone call, it’s hard to pull the boat out from the shore of communications and accessibility. Just as God is not in the earthquake, the wind, or the fire, He is not in the emailing, facebooking, or the texting.  He is in the silence. “Yes” cuts down on our time to be silent unless we are saying yes to the silence.  I think the hand of my guardian angel is held back by my now greater commitment of a yes to Silence.

Mrs. Patti Radle serves on Missionary Oblate Justice and Peace Committee and was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Theology from the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio. Mrs. Radle also serves as elected trustee to the San Antonio Independent School District Board of Trustees.  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

August Recess Toolkit: Lift Up Your Faith Voice For Immigration Reform

During this month of August, many U.S. Members of Congress are spending time in their home districts, hosting local town hall meetings and speaking with constituents.

This is a great opportunity for you to let your Member of Congress know that people of faith want a place of protection and hope for migrant families seeking refuge in the United States.

Faith communities have created a resource;  August Congressional Recess Guide 2014 to support your advocacy efforts and have outlined four actions you can ask your Member of Congress to take:
                       -Maintain critical protections for migrant children.
                      -Ensure adequate funding for the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
                      -Reject the use of family detention. Expand the use of alternatives to detention
                      -Ensure access to legal protection for all migrant children and refugees.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Peace is Living Together – Philippines

By Fr. Jun Mercado, OMI

Originally posted on OMI Philippine Province - www.omiphil.org  

An international conference with the theme, “Living Together: Interreligious and InterculturalDialogue for Peace and Reconciliation” was held at Notre Dame University last June 6-7, 2014.  The Community of Sant’Egidio partnered with the Archdiocese of Cotabato under the leadership of Most Rev. Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, OMI in holding the said conference.

The conference provided platforms for conversation not only between the two protagonists in the peace talks but a real dialogue and conversations between and among the stakeholders on the ground. 

Peace workers, advocates and builders across religions and ethnicity took time to share their stories and experiences as they continued the difficult and at times lonely journey to peace.  

Thursday, August 7, 2014


By Fr. Ali Nnaemeka Cornelius,OMI.  

In light of the recent U.S.-Africa Summit held in Washington DC, Nigerian Oblate Fr. Cornelius OMI Urges for Action on Youth Education.

When we look at the rate at which young men and women from the ‘third world,’ in general are leaving the continent of Africa, the situation is not only alarming but also scaring. One would ask, “Where are we going? The response will be, “Nowhere.” Hopeful ones will answer, “To the better place.” Where is the better place? The response of many youth is outside Africa.

The education is the key for today’s generation. Education is a human right. We need education that values all because all people. Africa needs educational institutions that promote job creators and produce graduates who can easily find work. A generation enticed by a better tomorrow but deprived of the present moment. There are many reasons for which they indulge in such perilous trip among which are the enticement of developed nations.

Looking at the rate at which young men and women from Africa in particular, indulge in unauthorized immigration these days is not just quite alarming but scaring. The news of those dying in the hazardous sea mishaps instead of scaring them, give them more audacity to make new trials. The situation is such that no one remains indifferent to this appalling condition of our youth.

Many young people from the less developed countries are more attracted by the pictures view of the developed countries. While few privileged ones born with golden spoons on their mouth make it through the help of their wealthy parents or relatives, the less privileged are left behind to study at abandoned government universities and colleges destabilized by strikes and corruption. Faced with the dilapidated economical, educational and security systems of our societies, many young people are forced to migrate to developed nations by all means.

Africa has an opportunity now to work with the international communities especially the United States to provide more opportunities for young people. We believe that the U.S-Africa Summit should be an opportunity to discuss on how to make the future of the youths a priority. And to achieve that, they should, first of all, bring out the African education system from the dustbin where politics and corruption have thrown them.

The US should challenge and partner with African leaders to provide a good atmosphere for youth development especially by investing in youth education. Investment in Africa’s youth education should be a priority. This has potential to prevent them from taking dangerous migrant routes to developed nations.

Contributing Editor: Br Micheal Tembo OMI. JPIC Intern.

Friday, August 1, 2014

U.S.- Africa Leaders Summit: Power Africa Initiative to Address Access to Electricity in Africa

In Africa today, about millions of people have no access to electricity. This impact on how hospitals keep medicines refrigerated, how businesses operate and school children study time. Some of the missionaries in Africa live and work in areas with no electricity and if they have some access to electricity it is usually for few hours only.

As Washington DC prepare to host the first ever U.S.-Africa Leaders summit, we take a look at the new U.S program Power Africa Initiative which was announced by President Obama in 2013. 

Power Africa is a new five-year U.S Presidential initiative that aims at supporting economic growth and development by increasing access to reliable, affordable and sustainable power in Africa.

Initiative aims to add thousands of megawatts of electricity generation capacity to some selected Sub Saharan African households and companies in Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania by 2018. The initiative will focus on clean, renewable energy technology solutions, including geothermal, hydro, wind and solar.

Through the development agency USAID, the U.S Government will commit $7 billion and some 40 private companies have committed $14 billion to finance the initiative over the next five years.  

To complement and support the Power Initiative announcement, the United States Congress has introduced two bills, namely HR2548 (Electrify Africa Act) and S 2014 (Energize Africa Act). Both bills enjoy  bipartisan support.  Civil society and faith groups in United States and Africa see this Power initiative if done right as a positive opportunity to make a difference lives of millions of people who lack electricity in Africa.