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.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Oblates Celebrate Jubilees in Belleville

Originally Published at OMIUSA.ORG

(Front L-R) Fr. Jack Lau, Fr. Mark Dean, Fr. Andrew Chalkey (Back row (L-R) Fr. William Maher, Fr. James Taylor, Fr. Frank Santucci

Friends, relatives and Oblates gathered at the Church of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois on September 12 for a 2016 Jubilee celebration.  Six of eleven Jubilarians were able to attend the event at the church on the grounds of Our Lady of the Snows.

Jubilarian, Fr. Mark Dean, OMI officiated at the celebratory Mass and Fr. Jack Lau, OMI, also celebrating a Jubilee delivered the homily.

After Mass the Oblates and their guests enjoyed dinner and fellowship at the Shrine Restaurant.

Those attending the celebration were:

Fr. Andrew Chalkey, OMI     65 Years of Religious Life, 60 Years of Priesthood

Fr. James Taylor, OMI     65 Years of Religious Life, 60 Years of Priesthood

Fr. William Maher, OMI     50 Years of Priesthood

Fr. Francis (Frank) Santucci, OMI     40 Years of Priesthood

Fr. Mark Dean, OMI     40 Years of Religious Life

Fr. John-Raymond (Jack) Lau, OMI     25 Years of Priesthood

Those Unable to Attend were:

Fr. Boniface Wittenbrink, OMI     80 Years of Religious Life, 75 Years of Priesthood

Fr. William Woestman, OMI     60 Years of Priesthood

Fr. Edward Hauf, OMI     50 Years of Priesthood

Fr. Ronald Meyer, OMI     50 Years of Religious Life

Fr. Louis Studer, OMI,     40 Years of Priesthood

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Towards a Spirituality of JPIC: the Oblate Charism at the service of the poor

Written by the late Fr. Kennedy Katongo, OMI 
OMI JPIC Director – Rome
1980 - 2016
Originally Published at OMIWORLD.ORG 

Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Ministry is central and at the heart of our mission as Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. JPIC ministry is our way of life and our way of mission and forms an integral part in our process of Evangelization. This is important to remember especially as we go through the third year of the Oblate Triennium, as we reflect on the 200th anniversary of the Congregation and as we approach the forth-coming 36th General Chapter. It is important to note that we live in a world today that is characterized by rapid changes that create both opportunities and challenges.

Therefore, the ministry of JPIC begins with seeing, to ‘really see’ – to have a truthful and deeper look at – to take a contemplative stance and a prophetic reading, to be able to discern in light of the values of the Gospel what is happening in our world today – our common home. JPIC ministry assists us in analyzing the current reality with a contemplative perspective to see more deeply the structures that generate poverty, devastation of the environment, conflict and violence and how we might more fully make the values of the Kingdom more visible and functional. This is the reality and the world in which we as Oblates live and minister to the people.

As Oblates, we look at the world through the eyes of the Crucified Savior so that those who suffer will be strengthened with the hope of the power of the resurrection (C#4); this was the perspective of our Founder St. Eugene de Mazenod and the Oblate charism. As Father Louis LOUGEN, our Superior General, says about the Oblate Charism:” "We are fired by a charism that is unique and special in the Church, one that makes us very close to the poor, the rejected, the forgotten, the people that society ignores, and the people who don’t feel accepted in church…We show a very human face of Jesus to the world, one full of compassion and solidarity.” Thus, many Oblates all over the world are working with, among and for the poor and are therefore exercising this ministry, even though they may not use this JPIC terminology.

Therefore, as Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and our associates, we strive to integrate into our ministry this vital aspect of the "liberating presence of Jesus Christ and the new world born in his resurrection” (C 9). We do this through our OMI JPIC congregational priorities.

These four Priorities were first developed in 2009 and were revised in 2012 following a process of both consultation and discernment by the Central Government and the OMI JPIC General Service. This process took into account the 2010 Chapter mandate "to develop fresh animation for mission and for discerning new missionary strategies and major missionary challenges”. It is also very clear that these priorities are ad intra: Witnessing Jesus Christ faithfully through our Oblate Charism demands that we put these priorities into practice first in our own Oblate community life; and ad extra: The way we organize our community is our first missionary commitment in witnessing and building the Kingdom of God, preached by Jesus, as the Good News for all Creation, all men and women. These priorities are:

We commit ourselves to work especially in promoting the rights of all peoples, as individuals and as communities, with special emphasis on indigenous peoples and migrants. We commit ourselves so that all peoples should be respected in their right to life from conception to life’s natural end and to have access to basic human needs as well as the right to enjoy the free exercise of civic, political, social, religious and cultural rights, and to have a healthy community to live in.

We are also attentive to include in the initial and ongoing Oblate Formation curriculum the specific training in the area of conflict resolution and reconciliation at the social, religious and political levels, for instance between ethnic groups in the regions that we are currently ministering.

We commit ourselves to an integral relationship between humanity and nature as gifts of God, and protection of the environment and commitment to ecology.

We are committed to the promotion of basic literacy and education as a fundamental right so as to empower people in their search for greater dignity and opportunities. We believe that preparation and updating for this dimension of our mission should be included in all of our formation programs. This includes the different stages of initial formation, ongoing formation and leadership training programs that are planned at different levels of the congregation. We act so that lay people and Oblates together assume responsibility for our mission. Catholic social teaching and JPIC training needs to be an integral part of our formation programs for Oblates and the laity.
As Pope Francis states: "the deterioration of the environment and of society affects the most vulnerable people on the planet, the poorest and the excluded, who are the majority of the planet’s population, and who are often treated in international discussions as an afterthought or as collateral damage.” He notes that "a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (LS 48-49).

Therefore, in this Year of Mercy and the Oblate 200th anniversary, let us be renewed and resolved in our commitment to our mission and the ministry of JPIC. For this is the call and invitation from the forthcoming General Chapter, "Evangelizare pauperibus misit me”. May Mary Immaculate strengthen and inspire us, as she herself is a woman of justice who sang of the new world of God’s kingdom where the poor would be given their fill and find freedom as sons and daughters of God.

Friday, September 9, 2016

JPIC Congratulates Bishop Valentine Kalumba, OMI, on His Installetion as Bishop of Livingstone, Zambia

Republished from OMIUSA.ORG

Bishop Kalumba was born in Mufulira in 1967. He joined the Zambian Air Force after high school and later was a cashier at Standard Chartered Bank. In 1993 he spent a year at Emmaus Spirituality Centre in Lusaka discerning a calling to religious life. He then studied philosophy at seminaries in Zambia and in 2000 joined the Missionary Oblates. He was ordained a priest on October 22, 2005.
Bishop Kalumba is the third Oblate to be named a bishop in Zambia.  The first was Bp. Paul Duffy of Mongu, who presided at Bp. Kalumba’s ordination in 2005.  Bishop Duffy was an iconic voice in Zambia on behalf of the poor. Today, Bp. Kalumba is carrying the torch of justice in Zambia passed to him by people like Bp. Duffy.  He is committed to being a voice for the voiceless, while always remaining a humble “human resource manager” for God.
Oblates from around the world gathered for the ordination of the new Bishop

Zambia Delegation Celebrates Bicentennial

The journey towards the celebration of our 200 years of existence was indeed successful after a series of committee meetings to plan the event. The grace of the Lord indeed was upon us. The anniversary is not just a historical event that needs to be recalled, but rather the story of how God prepared Eugene De Mazenod and used him as an instrument to bring about the creation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate whose number is now at almost 4,000 worldwide.

The anniversary Mass took place at Mary Immaculate Parish with Archbishop Julio Murat, Apostolic Nuncio to Zambia and Malawi, as the Presider. The homilist was the Oblate Superior General, Fr. Louis LOUGEN. He pointed out in his homily that the 200th anniversary celebration was an achievement of God’s grace. He said Oblates need to unite and support each other in order to continue their mission of serving the poor. “Together we will study God’s words and help each other to be holy. By being united, we will reach to the poor, such as the prisoners”.

He said celebrating the 200th anniversary during the Jubilee Year of Mercy was a great thing, because St. Eugene De Mazenod met mercy at the cross of Jesus, had passion for Him, the Church, and the poor. “When he was going to the prisons, he celebrated mass, had compassion for prisoners, and gave them Holy Communion. Many people did not like it at the time, because they believed that God was a God of vengeance and that for one to receive Holy Communion, they needed to confess several times”.

As Oblates, we are thankful to God for the 200 years of existence; we have not come here to blow our own trumpet about how we have served in difficult missions and many other wonderful things we have done for the Church. We could say many things about that, but we want to thank God. Let’s continue today to praise God for his amazing grace and for Eugene de Mazenod, the Missionary of Mercy. (By Nella Mukalenge)