No. 483 December 2008
The Post-Capitular Government Committee asks all Oblates to respond to the questionnaire sent to them through their Unit offices in early November and which can also be found on the Congregation’s website (at www.omiworld.org, click on the General Chapter link on the left side of the main page of our site or click on the links at the bottom of this article). The deadline for responses is February 1, 2009. Please do not wait until the last minute!
The committee was encouraged to receive the following remarks from an 82 year-old Oblate in Canada:
To the members of the Government Committee!
I was happy to receive the fruit of your very serious work on the development which our congregation needs to experience. Thanks to all of you!
As for me, because of my advanced age, I do not feel capable of responding to your very serious questions!
I will be more active in my prayer life, begging that the Holy Spirit will fill the void which my current inability causes. Your work is for all of us a sign of His Presence in the great Hope He shares with us.
On the other hand, many employees of our different houses have been working with us for 5, 10, 15, and 30 years; that means that they are part of our family! They know us, they respect us, and they consider themselves part of us.
That was the reason for inviting them to a joint meeting: MAMI, LAOMI and employees from our houses in Asunción (formation houses and central house). Almost all of them came, some 30 persons in all.
After praying together the prayer in preparation for the General Chapter, the Provincial, Fr. Miguel FRITZ, welcomed them and explained the reason for such a “strange gathering.” Afterwards, Ña Graciela, coordinator of the LAOMI, invited everyone to tell how many years they have known the Oblates.
Then the two associations told about themselves. It was made clear that no one should consider this invitation as a form of pressure (e.g., that one would be considered a “better employee” if a member of one of the associations). Therefore, there was an exchange of telephone numbers and addresses so that people could freely invite others to form groups in their neighborhoods around some of the other houses. Everyone agreed that this sort of meeting should happen again.
There was much sharing, not only spiritual but also in the foods brought by the participants. It concluded with a good Oblate prayer.
Parish ministry has been a much-discussed theme for a long time. Some 80% of Oblates in the Latin American Region are working in parishes. Furthermore, the document which came from the meeting of Latin American bishops at Aparecida calls for a reflection on parish ministry.
Aparecida proposes structural changes and it challenges parishes to be missionary; to be more open to cultural values and social problems; to engage in the ministry of justice, peace and the integrity of creation.
There are three stages planned for this renewal of parish life among our Oblate Units:
1. A meeting in each Unit of parish priests, using the “see, judge and act” method.
2. The meeting next April of Oblates engaged in parish ministry.
3. A later meeting in each Unit to find ways of implementing the conclusions of the Peru meeting.
The main objective of the project is to propose a structural change in the concept and method of parish life, working toward the concept of the parish community as a “community of communities,” where the pastor is a servant, promoting the Kingdom of God (focusing essentially on justice and peace in the context of the vulnerability so common on the Latin American continent); and the urgent commitment to be apostles in today’s society in order respond to the new situations and needs of the modern world and of Christian life.
(November 4) Greetings from Tijuana on this Election Day 2008! While the temperature is quickly cooling, the social atmosphere remains extremely hot. Today’s newspaper reports that last month, October, was the bloodiest in history, with one murder every 6 hours, some 124 homicides as a result of the drug war. On Mission Sunday, a letter denouncing the violence was read at all Masses and some 3050 faithful signed it, also giving many the opportunity to manifest their own anxieties and concerns. Schools had been closed and are now reluctantly opening again their doors to a meager few students.
Yet amid this background of violence, the people courageously carry on. A 46-day Marian tradition of saying the rosary house by house in preparation for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is giving many people the opportunity to reclaim the streets and neighborhood. With some 14 different sectors, the response has been a strong testimony that nothing will ‘kill’ their faith. Bro. Julio Cesar Navarez, who is doing his year’s internship (regency), has also organized a soccer tournament involving some 150 youth of the parish, helping them to break down gang rivalries and give them something more constructive to do. Even some 10 non-Catholics, including the son of a local protestant minister, are participating in the sport; attending a weekly talk on Christian values is the only requirement. These few flames of hope help us all carry on in this mission in Baja California.
Councillor Ramos recalled that “born in Canada on August 6, 1922, Fr. Lefebvre arrived in Bolivia in 1953 and settled in the mining district of Llallagua where he quickly learned that to preach the Gospel, it was necessary to adapt to the life conditions of the miners and their families.”
Maurice Lefebvre asked himself, in 1967: “When will the Church and we, her priests, be ready to risk our life in order to be consistent with our commitment to charity, to poverty, to religious freedom and social justice?” His commitment to Bolivian society led him to the creation of the Sociology Faculty at the University of San Andrès of La Paz: he was its first dean.
We give thanks to a priest who, who having come from afar, managed to become one of the greatest defenders of the rights of the Bolivian people. He was killed at La Paz, at the age of 49, the evening of August 21, 1971, while he was caring for a wounded person. It is on that spot that the commemorative plaque will be placed.
Mr. Ramos continues: “The history of our country is written in each of the events of the past. We Bolivians honor the memory of all those who, in risking their own skin, gave their life for the democracy which we know is imperfect, but which is aimed at the development of a more just society.”
The President of the Assembly for Human Rights in Bolivia added: “This commemoration is in line with the restoration of the historical memory of our people. Many persons like Maurice Lefebvre have fallen; this event should encourage us to deepen and renew our democracy in order to avoid that such criminal actions be repeated; much blood has been spilled in the name of democracy.” (Article from the newspaper, «El Diario», La Paz, 21 August 2008, translated into French by Victor Simard for Apostolat International, November-December 2008)
Fr. Cornelius NGOKA, provincial of Cameroon and a native Nigerian, wrote on December 4 to Father General: Thanks for your concern over the situation in the middle belt of Nigeria. I have not been able to closely monitor the events because of my visit to Yokadouma. I have spoken with Fr Kevin Elendu who resides in Jos and he told me that everything erupted after the state’s council elections. Many people died and hundreds were injured. There is still curfew in the town. The area where the Oblates are working was not directly involved in the riots. The confreres are healthy although they cannot move around freely for now. I hope to be in Nigeria by the end of next week.
(26/11/2008) What can one say about life in Kinshasa where I arrived on November 11? First of all, there was a warm welcome by much rain that simply increases the suffering of the people of Kin (Kin is a nickname of Kinshasa), doing further damage to the streets, flooding many homes and causing worrisome erosion. Astonishingly enough, the men and women of Kin continue to smile in spite of the economic effects of the war that is raging in the eastern part of the country. The people are truly suffering (no steady salary, insufficient medical care, no positive response to the teachers on strike, sudden electrical blackouts, etc.).
This crisis is felt also in religious communities which usually are well organized. The lack of money: that’s the main cause of a certain unrest in several religious families located in Kinshasa. The immediate consequences: indifference, relativism, individualism, or “the tendency to favor the importance and the rights of the individual over the importance and the rights of social groups.”
One has to believe that only the courage to adopt new, more realistic strategies will spare the formation houses from the dangerous disorder that is stalking them. If that weren’t enough, one has to face the negative effects of the worldwide financial crisis that is victimizing so many.
As for me, “be patient” is the comment I hear the most often since my arrival in Kinshasa, every time I try to get information about the delivery of the semi-biometric passport they are talking about in RD Congo. I have been waiting for this famous document since February 2008. Even though the news is reassuring, the refrain is always the same: “The passports are there but there is only one machine to process the data, according to the order of receipt of the files; be patient.” A confrere reassured me that they are currently processing those who filed their applications in October-November 2007.
During this long delay, which reminds me of my impatience while waiting for the recent renewal of my residency permit in Italy, I am learning something. “You are a Christian; you have to be patient,” I was told by a clerk a few days ago after I had expressed my concerns. If he only knew how my work is suffering! Perhaps he wanted to invite me to be ever more conscious of the patience of God.
But divine patience is never a weakness: it is a call to conversion, for “God is tender and kind, slow to anger and rich in favor.” In fact, in order to live according to his call, the Christian must bear with others “with charity, in all humility, kindness and patience.” (Eph 4:2) In brief, patience is a fundamental virtue. “It assures our stability. It protects all the other virtues against the turmoil caused by impatience. Because it is rooted in persistence and personal effort, patience must be accompanied by kindness so as not to expose our heart to scorn,” states J.-Louis Brugues. (www.ayaas.net/news/mbote.htm)
(December 5) The community of Yves Plumey House wishes to inform you of the unexpected death of Joachim Ikolé, a scholastic brother from Congo in his second year of philosophy studies. After 26 years of life, the Lord called him to Himself, on December 2, 2008, around 10:30 a.m.
On Monday, December 1, Joachim left for class at the Institute; there was nothing to hint that it would be for the last time. Toward the end of class, at around 11:45, he answered a question of the professor and a few moments later, he fell unconscious. Immediately the Oblate students brought him to the emergency room of the hospital closest to our house. At about 2:00 p.m., the doctors told us that his condition was serious and that he probably had had a cerebral hemorrhage. To verify this diagnosis, they asked to transfer him to a hospital equipped with a CAT scanner. We took him there. Unfortunately, the scanner in that hospital had been out of order for several days. They then directed us to the University Hospital. The scan confirmed the first diagnosis and gave further details. Joachim had suffered an acute meningeal hemorrhage. He was dying.
The doctors wanted him hospitalized in intensive care, but at the same time, they informed us that there were no available beds in that hospital. So, by ambulance we went to the other side of town, to the General Hospital: the fourth hospital in one day! It was already almost 6:00 p.m. That same day, at around 10:00 p.m., the doctor told me that it would be difficult to save the life of Joachim. He explained that the vascular incident was the result of a congenital problem that all of a sudden manifested itself. He concluded by telling me that there was no possibility of surgery because of the amount of blood involved in that part of the brain.
The next day, we learned that Joachim was no longer with us.
Brother Ikolé will be buried here in Yaoundé. His body will arrive here in a few hours. Then we will take him into the chapel to surround him with our prayers in the intimacy of our community. A Mass will be celebrated for him at the Philosophy Institute on Saturday morning at 9:00. Father Prosper NDJOLI will preside. At the end of this Mass, we will bid our Brother Ikolé our last goodbye and will take leave of him
In the report written last June for his admission to renewal of vows, the formators said: “Joachim is a good member of the community: fraternal, generous and witty. He gets along with everyone. His spiritual life is regular and personal. He likes silence and finds recollection easy.” We have lost a fine young man. But have we really lost him?
(November 12) Cilacap has been on high alert for the past two weeks with the execution of the Bali Bombers early Sunday morning. There was a very heavy police presence guarding all government buildings and we had a 24 hour police presence at the Church.
The Muslim team of lawyers for the bombers was in town. I had met, shook hands and conversed with them at the Constitutional Court when I appeared us a factual witness for them that death by firing squad is torture. In June 2008, I had witnessed death of two Nigerians when it took them seven minutes to die. The outcome of the Constitutional Court’s decision was that “All types of execution cause pain,” but they did not declare this to be torture, so hence the executions went ahead.
However they had twelve shooters - six of whose guns were loaded with live ammunition -- for each victim -- hence six bullets entering each victim’s heart. For each Nigerian victim, there were seven shooters with three guns loaded with live ammunition and three bullets entering the victims’ hearts.
The head attorney announced that the three died immediately which is impossible, according to the expert witnesses I heard at the Constitutional Court, but with six bullets death would come sooner. So the result of our efforts, so far, is a quicker death.
Many Australian and Indonesian T.V. stations and newspapers interviewed me and I was waving around Bishop Desmond Tutu’s book Without Forgiveness there is no future. I also got some ideas from newspaper reports to help those we serve on death row -- there are now 47 on the island many of whom are Catholics and Protestants who also come to our Masses. I am now in contact with a Canadian/Indonesian lady who is also working to stop the death penalty.
It is said that, as the authorities preparing the site for the bombers’ execution, the ghosts of the Nigerians haunted the workers -- as the executions were in the same place. If the executions continue, there will be a lot more ghosts which will help the survival of panthers, leopards, deer, wild pigs, monkeys etc. that roam the island, as it is a game reserve.
On November 19, I will visit the prison and a very sensitive young man on death row. He comes from Brazil and has a deer he wants me to set loose in the jungle on my way home -- as some inmates want to eat it. Hence I may save a deer from “death row”.
In Kowloon City, on the wall of the Baptist School, there is written in big Chinese characters the following message: “Believe in Jesus and Be Saved!” On the walls of our church in St. Alfred, there are no such characters and message written, but it seems that the St. Alfred parish football club has re-written that saying which could now read as follows: “Believe in Jesus, Play Football and Be Saved!”
St Alfred Parish Football Club is composed of 3 teams, The Children Team (7-12 years old), The Youth Team (13-35 years old) and the Veterans (36 to as old as 70 years old). Parishioners run the club with Fr. Luc Young as their chaplain. Fr. Luc is not only the chaplain; he is also part of the Veterans team and regularly trains with the children and youth teams.
The parishioners, who started the football club a few years ago, came up with their own rules and regulations about who can join the club and play football. Anyone is welcome to join the weekly training sessions, but not all can participate in the tournament that is organized annually by the Diocese of Hong Kong. To be able to do that, the rule is as follows: one has to be either baptized, a catechumen or a Sunday school student. As a result, many kids who did not like to attend Sunday school before, because they would like to play in the tournament, now go to Sunday school very regularly and even attend Sunday masses. It is important to note that these rules were not made by the priests but by the parishioners themselves.
In order to create more interaction among the young and not so young people of the different parishes, the Diocese has, for the past 5 years, organized a football tournament. The record of St. Alfred Parish Football Club has not been that bad at all. The Children’s team has won the tournament two years in a row, in 2006 and 2007. Before the final in 2007, the Children’s Team attended mass and received a special blessing from their Chaplain. One would wonder whether the special blessing had anything to do with the team’s winning! Let us all believe in Jesus, play football, go to Church and be saved! (www.oblateschina.com)
www.omilacombe.ca these thoughts on his ministry.)
I have been asked several times over to share my reflections on what prison ministry in a maximum security institution entails. This ministry has so many different aspects; it is hard to help someone, who is not behind bars, to understand what happens from day to day. We have a pencil-drawn picture in the chapel, of Jesus behind bars. This inspirational picture calls for a question to be answered. Is Jesus the inmate or is he the visitor? Which side of the bars is he on?
As I reflect on my work, I see …. so many challenges and experiences that it would require a book to be written for others to understand the prison culture, the adrenalin, the fears, the disappointments and dangers, or see the flicker of hope shining in the path of institutional behavior. Prison chaplains minister to the total institution, every area of a prison is accessible to them, and each person is our parishioner. At times it appears as if this is a dysfunctional family requiring the head of the family to comfort, challenge, repair, teach, and pray for each member. Emotions are triggered daily in both staff and inmates, labels are attached to people and they are no longer addressed as human. Hope diminishes as one is abandoned by family and friends, isolated to the point of despair.
For those prisoners not in lockup, courses are taught and liturgies planned in the chapel. Multi-faith activities for Sikhs, Muslims, Buddhists, Wiccans, Jews, and Christians are organized and planned each week. The institutional chaplain organizes activities for a visiting clerical leader who will come in and facilitate these happenings. Specially trained multi-faith volunteers assist chaplains with the many tasks of this ministry. These volunteers are able to assist in inmate outreach and bring a much needed human experience to the isolation felt within institutional walls.
Our chapel is of modest size and seems small when you are locked into it with fifteen to twenty maximum-security inmates (a time of study, prayer, or worship). Stress and danger are always lurking, as the events of the institution are burned into the emotions carried within the inmates. The chapel is a sanctuary of peace, prayer and discussion – an activity unsupervised by the presence of officers – so inmates and chaplains are locked into the space together. The movement of inmates to the chapel is through several gated barriers; then a physical pat down for weapons occurs, a process that becomes routine after awhile. Each chaplain has a PPA (Personal Protection Alarm) attached to his belt; once it is activated, a sea of officers run to the aid and assistance of the activator.
Change, motivation, healing, and forgiveness seem more real as spiritual interventions are sought out by some inmates. How do you counsel a man who has committed violent actions and feels no remorse? How do you deal with the guilt of murder and the taking of innocent life? How do you teach someone to celebrate life when they will never see the outside world again? What does restorative justice mean as one deals with hopelessness? Daily questions like these fan the need for divine assistance and intervention.
The heavy clouds of total frustration eventually make room for a blue sky, allowing hope to once again lurk somewhere so that love can penetrate sufficiently to restore peace and goodwill. The miracles of each day can be discovered, and a chaplain can assist in this discovery.
A week is filled with moments of greetings, quick hellos and countless smiles. Meetings, institutional rounds, book delivery, one-to-one interviews, release planning, counseling, prayer and liturgy mark just a few of the daily activities. This truly is a ministry of presence. A week begins as it finishes with each day being new, spiritually and emotionally endless. Each day is a time of religious challenge with humbling admission that somehow God is here; he is doing time.
On TV we often see the dramatic life of a prison, but we often do not see the endless emotions that occur on a day-to-day basis. Read the papers and one can easily see who will be the next member of our institutional parish. The events of institutional life within a prison do have an effect on staff and inmates, their families and the community. It is my hope that this sharing gives a small gaze or window into what happens in prisons all over our land. The task and challenge for chaplains is endless and we need you to partner with us in prayer.
For when an inmate changes, the community is served and becomes better protected. To ignore inmate change will lead us into a culture where darkness can be repeated. Today, I can say that I saw Jesus at work. Tomorrow, we persevere in our search for more of God, then we experienced today. Will He be found in the inmate or is He the visitor?
Since the arrival of the Oblates, we have had here a truly gospel-motivated community. It is inspired by the gospel proclaimed Sunday after Sunday and day after day. It is challenged by the very attitudes of Jesus of Nazareth: compassion, unconditional welcome and charity, no matter what the human condition, the nationality, the religion, the sexual orientation, for we all have the same dignity as sons or daughters of God! Our ministry engages a whole community of persons in an inclusive embrace; thus it is prophetic as every Christian community should be.
The challenge of this parish is to form a “corps,” right in the middle of the city where individualism, anonymity and indifference are abounding. There are several opportunities for developing this community spirit: a family gathering after the Sunday Masses; on the first Sunday each month, a brunch for at least 175 persons; and many other programs that originate with the people who are more and more becoming involved in fund-raising; this helps develop a certain pride and sense of belonging among the members of the community.
The Eucharist is still the greatest force for creating and re-creating over and over this “corps.” We take much care in preparing for Sunday liturgies that are spiritually nourishing and challenging in order to help us better to build “community,” and at the same time, to respect the spiritual journey of each individual, some of whom drop by only on an occasional Sunday for a “shot in the arm.” We pay particular attention to Church dissidents so that they will have a place where they can be heard and express their critiques and their disappointments with the institution. Our hope is to favor a reasoned criticism that will leave the way open for future dialogue with the Church.
In communion with the Archbishop of Montreal, who recognizes the importance of this ministry in his diocese, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, with their pastoral team, carry on the mission of evangelization in an urban setting. Thus, faithful to its historical beginnings, the Christian community continues its evangelical task so that the dignity of those who are rejected, or outcasts, or unloved--the poor with their many faces-- might be respected. A broad service of welcoming and help continues to be offered by a team that is well trained to help these poor persons who have been injured so much by life. (Yoland Ouellet, Curé de Sainte-Brigide―Saint-Pierre Apôtre)
Last July, the Governor General, Michaëlle Jean, announced that Henry Morgentaler would receive this prestigious award. After years of crusading in Canadian courts, Morgentaler’s “outstanding achievement” was his success in overturning Canada’s legal restrictions on abortion in a Supreme Court decision released in 1988. Since then, Canada has become one of the few countries in the world to have no legal restrictions on abortion.
This award to a man who led a major anti-life crusade has raised the consciousness of many throughout Canada who believe in the dignity of human life from conception until death. Several previous recipients of the order, including Montreal’s Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, returned their medals to the Governor General.
The latest to return these medals are the Oblates of Assumption Province in Toronto. The provincial, Fr. Janusz BLAZEJAK, wrote this to the Governor General:
“We write to you today, December 8th , the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Principal Patroness of our Congregation, on account of the recent decision by your office and the committee responsible for nominations to provide an Order of Canada to Henry Morgentaler, the noted Toronto abortionist.
“We hope that this gesture is understood as a sign of our astonishment and outrage at the exploitation of the Order of Canada in the interests of an ideology of death, division and indignity which has resulted in the clinical murder of over 110,000 Canadians every year who never had the chance to deserve a better country.”
Two Oblates, now deceased, have received this award: Fr. Anthony Sylla and Fr. Michael Smith. The letter explains that “the former spent his life encouraging and supporting immigrants in the Canadian prairie in the early part of the 20th century and the latter is known for his achievements in the area of support for the dignity of our senior citizens, married couples and families as well as for spearheading the creation of the largest parish based Credit Union in North America.”
“Both of these priests were outspoken in their commitment to the inviolable dignity of the human person from the time of conception to natural death. They would have been the first to acknowledge that their commitment to their fellow man outweighed the need for membership in an Order that did not hold to the ideals to which they committed their lives.
“Whatever one’s views on the status of the unborn, the fact that the Order of Canada was given to someone whose ‘unique’ contribution to the Canadian body politic consists of the procurement of tens of thousands of abortions does poor service in view of the many people who have given of their lives dedicated to making Canada a better nation.”
During 2008, the people of Quebec celebrated the 400 years of this city which is so important in the history of the Missionary Oblates in Canada. At least 84 Oblates, living and deceased, were born in the city of Quebec.
The Oblates arrived in Quebec in 1853. They had already been in Saguenay for a few years. The Founder, St. Eugene de Mazenod, especially wanted the members of his community to establish themselves in Quebec. At that time, Quebec was really the center of the Canadian Church.
The streets of big cities are named after persons both known and hardly known. Some streets of Quebec bear the name of known and hardly known Oblates. They are in the St-Sauveur neighborhood as well as the Vanier and Limoilou neighborhoods. These missionaries of Quebec are an important part of the history of Canada, but also of the city of Quebec. Here are some of them:
The Avenue des Oblats which runs beside the rectory and the Oblate church (St-Sauveur) was given that name in 1926, on the occasion of the centennial of the approbation of the Oblates by Pope Leo XII.
Père-Grenier Street is in honor the second pastor (1876-1879 and 1885-1891). Born in France, he spent more than 40 years at St-Sauveur. He is the one who decorated the interior of the church. He died in Quebec on March 27, 1903. The street was named in his honor in 1937.
Père-Lacombe Street is in honor of the famous missionary of the Canadian West, Fr. Albert Lacombe. The street was named in his honor in 1917.
On the right-side corner of Avenue des Oblats, there is DE MAZENOD Street, so named in 1926.
Cardinal-VILLENEUVE Boulevard is in honor of Cardinal Villeneuve, o.m.i., Archbishop of Quebec from 1931 until 1947. It was given that name in 1933.
Père-Lelièvre Boulevard is in honor of Fr. Victor Lelièvre. The house for spiritual renewal founded by him is found on this boulevard. It was given his name in 1964, seven years after his death.
Durocher Street commemorates the first pastor of St-Sauveur parish, Fr. Flavien Durocher. He was pastor from 1853 until 1876. He died in Quebec on December 6, 1876. A monument, a park and a recreation center also bear his name.
In the Saules neighborhood, two streets call to mind two Oblates who were assistants at St-Sauveur Parish, at the same time taking care of a family vacation camp. They were the promoters a family center on this site. That is why we now honor them with Clément-Rousseau Street (1915-2000) et Jacques Crépeau Street (1913-1993).
Père-Arnaud Street honors Fr. Charles Arnaud who served as a missionary among the Indians of the North Coast. He would spend time at the rectory of St-Sauveur. The street was named for him in 1917, three years after his death.
Monseigneur-Grandin Avenue is in honor of Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin (1829-1902), Bishop of St. Albert in Alberta. The place is now known as Mérici Plaza. (Apostolat International, July-August 2008)
His despedida consisted of a simple assembly at which Sister Joan welcomed the gathered community; offered a few words; invited the community to offer a few words; welcomed Brother Justin, the General Superior of the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd, to say a few words; and then invited Fr. Quinn to say what he pleased, because we knew he would anyway!!!
During the gathering, Sister Joan recalled driving home from the Shelter with Vaughan on Christmas Day; it went something like this: he would tear up to a traffic light and when it turned red, abandon his car with Joan still in it and head off to some sidewalk grate or doorway to locate his friends so as to wish them a Merry Christmas and make sure everyone was warm enough. It was a long and eventful trip home and the lesson for Joan was that Vaughan had lots of friends all across the city.
Very often we have refugees who show up at our doors – usually on a Friday evening when every place except Good Shepherd Shelter is shut down. On a frosty November day last year a family arrived from the airport…two parents, a two-year old, a ten-year old and two teenagers, with one small backpack, no English, and all of them very frightened. We tried to comfort and welcome them, while our housing team tried desperately to find them a safe place for the weekend. When none could be found, Fr. Quinn offered to take them to his home. In his generous offer he had no idea what it would be like to have a two-year old running his house and run she did. This is a typical example of how Vaughan approached those in need.
Brother Justin used the occasion to welcome Fr. Quinn as an honorary member of the Community of the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd. The citation welcomed Vaughan to all the honors and privileges that membership in the community affords. Justin presented a statue of the Good Shepherd, a framed copy of the citation of membership and a cross with special significance. As he was vested with the cross, Fr. Quinn quipped that he really did look like a Bishop. That comment drew loud laughter from the crowd.
In accepting the gifts, Vaughan commended Good Shepherd Ministries for its daily practice of unlimited charity. No one is ever refused service here and the centre is open day and night, 365 days a year.
We concluded our farewell by offering Fr. Quinn a scarf, which came from the Ursuline Sisters in Chiclayo, Peru. We then cut the cake which read: “Thanks a lot Fr. Quinn.” Brother Matthias Barrett, the founder of the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd, was known to always say: “Thanks a lot”
So we at Good Shepherd Ministries in Toronto thank the Oblate Community for sharing the Mighty Quinn with us. We have been blessed by his presence and have been a blessing to him too. (Submitted by Sr. Joan Stafford osu for www.omilacombe.ca)
The community members, Frs. Roberto BASSU, Giovanni FUSTAINO, and Carmine MARRONE, have decided to build their community life by doing their own household chores: cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.
The University of Calabria at Cosenza has about 40,000 students. At the university, there is already a group of the Oblate-founded MGC (Movimento Giovanile “Costruire” – Youth Movement “To build”). The Oblates hope that their house and the church will become a reference point for the youth of the city. The missionaries have also begun to meet and collaborate with other youth workers in the diocese, as well as laity interested in the Oblate charism. From their new center, they will also preach youth-oriented missions.
On October 28-30, they held a Missionary Exhibit at the university, the fifth such exhibit. They set up a small missionary gazebo at a central point where the majority of students had to pass in going to their classes. The goal was to meet the youth on their own turf, to create rapport, and to broaden their view of the world by selling them objects from various mission countries.
Each evening, there was a gathering with the theme: “Beyond diversity.” On the first evening, Fr. Roberto told of his year spent in Cameroun and about the “obvious diversity” he met there. On the second evening, Fr. Paolo MORLANDO, who spent 16 years in Uruguay, spoke of the less obvious diversities. On the final evening, Sister Dalia, OP, told of the diversity she encountered when she left her native Italy to work in Ecuador.
He grew up when Poland was still divided, and as a young boy, endured the hardships of World War I. At the age of 17, he went to Germany to look for work, but returned three years later to live with his brother in Silesia. For several years, he worked in a steel mill, before deciding in 1934 to follow a family friend to become an Oblate Brother. After his novitiate in Markowice, he was sent to the Oblate scholasticate in Obra, where he worked as a cook. While still in yearly vows, World War II broke out, and he was forced to flee for his life, to hide back in his home town. Only after the war did he return to Obra where he made his perpetual vows in 1946. Most of his Oblate life and work was in Katowice, some 45 years, though he did spend some years at Obra, Markowice, Pruszkow, and Warsaw.
It was in Katowice that his Jubilee Mass was celebrated on October 19, 2008. Bishop Gerard Bernacki, the main celebrant, said in his homily: “Brother Stanislaus is a walking Constitutions and Rules of the Missionary Oblates”. The Provincial, Fr. Teodor Jochem, thanked him for his many years of faithful ministry as an Oblate Brother. There were many Oblates present for the occasion, along with some family members, and representatives of the local government of Katowice.
Bishop Bernacki presided again, but this time at the funeral Mass on November 24, and Fr. Joseph Nieslony, Vicar Provincial, had the prayers at the cemetery. At celebrations, Polish people sing “Sto lat” [May you live 100 years]. Brother Stanislaus lived his “Sto lat”. May he now enjoy his well-deserved reward with the Lord in heaven. [Taken mainly from “Misyjne Drogi” , Nov. – Dec., 2008].
60 Years of Priesthood
50 Years of Priesthood
25 Years of Religious Life
25 Years of Priesthood
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