No. 446 September 2005
Two and one half thousand years ago, wild boars grunted, gambolled and grazed on this surface and were hunted by Celtic and Ligurian warriors in the intervals between preying on the settled citizens of the Phocian port of Massalia fifteen miles away. Having overcome the warriors in the second century before Christ, the Roman general, Sextius, discovered that the area was rich in hot mineral springs and just the place to establish a settlement where he and his soldiers could dip in the baths designed by his architects and built by the labour of the warriors who had now become his slaves. Etymologically, the waters (“aquae” in latin) and Sextius would each contribute letters to giving the place a name, which would endure through the ages: AIX. The empire-building Romans, dubbed this area, the first to be conquered (“vincere”) north of the Alps, “Pro vincia ”. Since other areas with mineral springs would later bear the name of Aix, the city has come to be “Aix-en-Provence” instead of the more lugubrious title bestowed on it by the emperor Augustus: Colonia Julia Augusta Aquis Sextiis.
Dear friends and brothers,
An “Ex-omi” I read in OMI Information (which I receive and always read with interest... Thank you!) the beautiful work that Father MANIMBA is doing for the street children of Kinshasa. Could you tell me how to answer his call “generosity”, how to contact him etc.?
I would eventually like to make his involvement known to friends, and I will have your article read by EUGENIE, a refugee from Kinshasa to whom I have been teaching French for 8 years! She asked for this training to be able to read the Bible at the parish! But progress is slow, especially when one reaches 70 years of age.
All over the world whole, Oblates do a fantastic job at the service of and with the “poor”. I try to share their “incarnation”.
Jean FAUCHON. Soon to be 79 springs!
The Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas has a Catholic population of 37,000 in 48 parishes and missions, served by 16 diocesan and religious order priests, nine religious Sisters and Brothers and 13 pastoral assistants.
Elsewhere, since May 1, more than 1,000 young people have taken part in the activities organized by the Youth Service of the Shrine of Notre Dame du Cap. There was also the spring walk that gathered 2,500 twelve-year-old children, organized by Cape Youth for the local school commission! The important thing is not the quantity, but these good results do give hope and are seeds for the future! Youth Stop began its season on June 1 and the activities are going well. Involved in leading the cultural and tourist weekends at the Shrine, the eleven young people of Cape Youth and Youth Stop devote themselves with daring and passion to drama, dance and song and many other means of expression aimed at a new evangelization of the young people and adults.
It is only natural then that a good number of young people are preparing to take part in the World Youth Days in Cologne (Germany). With their guides they will be forty-two, joined by Frs. Pierre-Olivier TREMBLAY and Michel LEGROS, who will represent the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The Oblate groups joined the diocese of Trois-Rivières to form a delegation. The young people come from Quebec, Rankin Inlet, Opitciwan, Chibougamau, Montreal, Maniwaki and the Louiseville and Val-Morin areas around Trois-Rivières. From August 6 to 22, the delegation will take part in the WYD during which it will visit Taizé and then go to Hünfeld, in the diocese of Fulda. There, they will be hosted by the German Oblates and will join many other groups of young people led by Oblates from Europe and other parts of the world before going to Cologne.
Sponsored by the McLean-founded Center for the Study of Culture and Values and CUA's Columbus School of Law's Interdisciplinary Program in Law & Religions, the two-day affair was co-sponsored by the International Society for Iranian Culture and the John Paul II Cultural Center.
Leading Iranian scholars presented papers attempting to identify the rich resources of Islamic culture, especially trying to envisage creatively how these can be deployed in response to the emerging democratic aspirations of its peoples. After clarifying the issues in the opening day, the conference proceeded in three main steps to study: God as the basis of human dignity and the political order; the relation of the religious to the political order; the responsibilities of the faiths for the role being played by religion in the world today.
Stephen Schneck, chair of CUA's department of politics, who moderated one of the sessions, commented that over the years Fr. McLean “has opened many doors for scholarship and the interchange of ideas.” That “door-opening” continued this June/July as Fr. McLean organized and attended colloquia in Lithuania, Romania, South Africa, Indonesia and Malaysia. (OMIUSA, July)
Fr. Maurice looks proudly upon the converted stalls and the three pastures which make up the Community-Supported Garden at La Vista on the grounds of the Oblate Novitiate in Godfrey, Illinois.
Today, in its third year of operation, the 4½-acre farm provides vegetables, flowers, and herbs for 120 families. In the idea of Community-Supported Agriculture, families become shareholders by paying an annual fee. Then, for six months out of the year, they receive a share of the weekly harvest. This share averages between 10-12 pounds of fresh organic foods, picked at the height of their ripeness.
This ministry is an extension of the Oblate Ecological Initiative (OEI), which Fr. Lange directs. The farm embodies much of the mission of the OEI.
“A focus on Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC), became part of the Oblate Rule in 2000. The OEI was founded to recognize creation's integrity. We have to see how the world is and try to figure out how to give new life. We need to create a solution with what's available – a solution to the crisis of our times.”
The crisis, in Fr. Maurice's eyes, is the lack of connection between the average man and nature. “We have to model human behavior, attitudes, and technology on how the Earth works. The model we have now is linear and not sustainable. We need to build a circular model, where humans replenish the Earth while the Earth supports us.”
Fr. Maurice sees the ministry of the OEI as a reflection of sentiments expressed by Pope John Paul II. In Common Declaration, the late Pope said, “We must therefore encourage and support the ‘ecological conversion', which in recent decades has made humanity more sensitive...”
To see these concerns as ultimately spiritual, the OEI also hosts retreats and Earth Literacy programs at the La Vista Ecological Learning Center. Lay people and religious come to learn about the Integrity of God's Creation and to experience the goodness of a Community-Supported Garden.
“Some people may think that environmental matters are overwhelming. They are large. But it doesn't get more personal than food. Food blesses us. It provides the fuel for our prayers, creativity, thoughts, and imagination. People don't normally consider this blessing from food. My advice would be to try to have 10% of your food come from local farms. That's a good first step.”
The 4½-acre garden provides blessings in many ways that aren't just ecological, as well.
In keeping with the Oblate focus on serving the poor, the farm has donated over 3,000 pounds of produce to the Alton Crisis Center for low-income families. In fact, 10% of the shareholders in La Vista are low-income and pay only $50 for the 27 weeks worth of fruits and vegetables. […]
To Fr. Maurice, seeing the new life in things means being able to see the future of all life, as well. For more information on the OEI visit: www.lavistacsa.org. (From OBLATES)
On May 28 there was a grand celebration at the scholasticate, whose patron is Blessed Joseph Gerard. The Eucharist was celebrated outside before a large crowd that had gathered for the event. On this occasion, a new chapel, a little larger than the original one, was inaugurated. The old one, built in a garage, had become too small. Indeed, the 20 young people who are currently at the prenovitiate augur well for the future.
Finally, Saturday, June 4, saw a historical event: The priestly ordination of Lino FLORES, the first indigenous priest (guarani) in the history of Paraguay. He is also the first priest of this vicariate.
“Undoubtedly – says with great joy Fr. Anibal CAZURIAGA, Provincial – it is one of the most beautiful fruits that we have been blessed to gather after 80 years of mission in the Chaco. It is a very happy coincidence.”
Before the September 2004 General Chapter, the Provincial of Bolivia had asked Louis to become the bursar of the Province. So he took up the two jobs, moving to the scholasticate (Oblate major seminary), but keeping his office as treasurer at the central house.
“This requires a lot of coming and going by bicycle – he says – plus my two courses at the Institute of Theology. But I assure you that living with young people makes me feel younger and traipsing around by bicycle makes me lose weight.”
Preliminary police investigations into the July 16th attack point to fanatic Buddhist extremist groups, which are spreading intolerance and anti-Christian sentiments throughout the island nation, said the Holy See's missionary agency Fides.
As anti-Christian feelings spread, Parliament is due shortly to discuss two bills which would ban religious conversions, thus increasing religious unrest.
Bishop Norbert ANDRADI, O.M.I. of Anuradhapura confirmed the attack and destruction of Holy Cross Church in the town of Pulasthigama.
“This is the first time a church in our diocese is attacked and we are deeply shocked,” the bishop said. “People are afraid and wonder what reason was behind the aggression.”
He continued: “The attack happened in broad daylight. The only people in the church at the time were two Catholic boys who had stopped to say a prayer. Suddenly a group of hooded men broke into the church and began to smash everything, including the altar and crucifix. The two boys were badly beaten but managed to escape.
“When the criminals had completed their work of destruction, they set fire to the building. Local Catholic families rushed to put out the fire with water but it was too late. Charred ruins were all that was left of the church.”
With regard to the motive behind the attack, Bishop Andradi told Fides: “We fail to understand the reason, except that of spreading anti-Christian sentiments connected with the question of conversions. In other parts of Sri Lanka, Protestant churches have been attacked, but it is nearly always the Catholic community which suffers most from violence.”
The Anuradhapura Diocese has a population of 1.4 million, mainly Buddhists. There are about 12,500 Catholics. Once the capital of Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura is traditionally known as the place where Buddha had “three illuminations,” and is one of the most important holy places for Buddhists in Southeast Asia. (July 21, 2005, Zenit.org).
On graduation day, the cadets, proud parents, staff and guests gathered in the as yet unfinished main hall of the Academy for the occasion. Guests were received with smart salutes from the cadet guard of honour. Graduating cadets marched smartly in under an archway of swords, and the cadet's choir led the singing and provided appropriate music.
The Admiral of the Indonesian Navy attended the graduation and spoke in glowing terms of what the Academy was providing for the young graduates. The head of the education department for Central Java was also present and suggested that the status of the academy be raised to an “Institute of Higher Learning.”
The bishop, as senior advisor to the institute, exhorted the graduates to be men and women (there are a few) of strong moral fiber and a credit to the nation and the academy. In keeping with a sea-going tradition, the bishop then “baptized” the future seafarers, 90% of whom are Muslims, with water from the “seven seas” – taken from the bay of Cilacap and “presumed to have been around the world on previous travels,” notes Fr. Burrows. (From Cosmic)
The students are children of migrant workers who cannot afford to pay the extra fees required by local schools for children from outside the area.
John works as a registered English teacher at the nearby Canadian-American School and uses his spare time and most of his salary to help the local poor.
Last year he was joined for two semesters by Fr Francis DANIEL from Sri Lanka. This coming September Fr Louis LEGARE from Canada is due to work with him.
For more information and photos of Fr. John's work see his web sites: www.jesustower.com and www.china8.org.
On May 1 st, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, the center for migrant workers EMMAUS celebrated the 10th anniversary of its birth. This center, in the diocese of Suwon, was started and is still run by Fr. Giovanni ZEVOLA. The Nuncio presided the Eucharist and noted in his homily: “We are all foreign workers for the Kingdom of God. Therefore take courage that the Lord who journeyed with the Israelites is also with us on our pilgrimage. We may have left behind our families, friends, and children but not the LORD, as He always accompanies us.” After the mass the Nuncio gave Fr. Zevola a plaque in recognition of his work for the migrant workers. A buffet was served to the 350 persons who had gathered for the event. In spite of the intense screening and shakedown of migrant workers by the authorities, many turned up for the celebration.
St. Eugene's day
Each year lay friends, collaborators, benefactors, religious and diocesan clergy join the Oblate community to celebrate Saint Eugene's day. Increasingly more Koreans are coming to know and take interest in the Oblate charism. This year, approximately 150 people took part in the celebration that was held on May 22.
The celebration took place again this year at the formation house in Suwon. It is near the Major Seminary where the scholastic and other four young students attend the theology courses as they prepare to become the first Korean Oblates.
A Korean life of St. Eugene
To mark the tenth anniversary of the Founder's canonization the community has published a brief life of St. Eugene in the Korean language. Using text and photos from the Congregation's official web site www.omiworld.org together with photos of Oblate mission activities in Korea the eight-page booklet is a fine instrument to make St. Eugene and the Oblates better known in this corner of Asia.
Fr. Eric WASALATHANTHRIGE experienced this harsh reality on recently, while they were returning after a Confirmation ceremony in Chaman, a substation of the Holy Rosary parish, Quetta, bordering Afghanistan. They were stopped at gunpoint and asked immediately to get down from the vehicle by some armed men. The vehicle was taken.
Onlookers observed the robbery but were helpless to intervene because they have learnt not to fool with these kinds of thieves. Left stranded on the road, Fr. Eric and his companions were able to contact Fr. Victor GNANAPRAGASAM, who was proceeding a short distance ahead of them. Apparently, the thieves were not interested in his vehicle since they had let him go by. Two days later, the stolen vehicle was redeemed through the efforts of a local Catholic Tehsildar, a district government official. The vehicle was empty of its contents, including the registration documents and Fr. Eric's passport. A promising young student traveling in the vehicle lost his computer as well. All gives thanks to God that no one was hurt in this incident. (Pak Bulletin)
The name of the small town of Hünfeld, – 2 000 inhabitants – is known to many Oblates and today it still has an Oblate community. “The days spent here will be very important – says Fr. Pasquale CASTRILLI – because it will constitute, for the young Italians and for the others from all over the whole world led by Oblates, a time of bringing together before the large gathering in Cologne. They will lodge in various families and this will be an occasion for a direct contact with German culture.
In the morning, the young people of Hünfeld and the surrounding areas will accompany the young foreigners in small groups to visit historical and cultural places. Two obligatory stops will be the town of Fulda and Point Alpha, the museum built where formerly stood the iron curtain which separated both Germanys.
In the afternoons, all the young people will meet in the community's large park for prayer and celebration. The evening of August 12 there will be a special show on Saint Eugene de Mazenod. It was entrusted to Italian youths and for several weeks the Costruire Movement has been at work using various disciplines like film, mime, dance, and song to present the life of the Founder of Oblates.
There are four groups of volunteers scheduled. It goes without saying that it is always an unforgettable experience for them especially since it is lived under the eye of Mary and in a really international environment.
During the two months of service, nearly 150 volunteers will follow one another, besides approximately 1200 Scouts and Guides.
They countries represented are many: Cameroun, South Africa, Haiti, Mexico, Spain, Italy, England, Ireland, France, Belgium, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, North Korea, Hungary, the United States, the Netherlands, Nigeria…
There are of course the worthy representatives of the International Scholasticate of Rome and the International Scholasticate of France. (Yves CHALVET)
Following these sad events the Standing Committee of the Congolese bishops made the following statement:
“These unjustifiable deaths and property damage imposed on a people already reduced to poverty sadden us deeply as pastors and cannot leave us indifferent.
We wish to express our spiritual closeness to the dioceses concerned and to the victims of these events, offering our Christian condolences to the victimized families.
We denounce the fact that these blameworthy schemes were the work of the police force, which is supposed to maintain order in the country and ensure the safety of the people and property.
We strongly condemn the mistreatment and attacks to the physical and moral integrity of people and demand reparation.
It is painful to note that the sons and daughters of our country join with foreigners to scorn human life and continue to devastate this country and its social infrastructures, especially the infrastructures of the Church, during this time in our history when we should all commit ourselves to rebuilding what repeated wars have destroyed.
We ask the Government of the Republic to launch an immediate investigation to discover the authors of these crimes while taking the necessary measures so that similar incidents do not occur again.”
65TH Anniversaries of Vows
60TH Anniversaries of Vows
50TH Anniversary of Vows
50TH Anniversaries of Ordination
25TH Anniversary of Ordination
“We will keep alive the memory of our deceased and not fail to pray for them,
faithfully offering the suffrages prescribed on their behalf.” (Const. 43)
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