The General Committee of Oblate Brothers gathered in Aix-en-Provence on February 11-20, 2016, for a meeting that was fraternal and strengthening in its sharing. Present for the meeting were: Jean-Marie DIAKANOU (Africa-Madagascar), Noel GARCIA (Asia-Oceania), Ivar Ruiz (LATIN AMERICA), Jason Rossignol (CANADA-USA), Rafal DAKOWSKI (Europe), Zygmunt WOLNIAK (General House), Jacques LANGLET (France), Benoit DOSQUET (Permanent Secretary), and Gilberto PIÑÓN (Assistant General, Delegate of the Superior General).
The Aix community made a presentation on the beginning of Oblate fraternal life in the Congregation. We had the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to Marseille and on February 17, we made a day of retreat at the Shrine of Notre Dame de Laus to celebrate the expansion of our Congregation outside of Provence and the community where we received our first vocation of an Oblate Brother.
The committee also took time to share the regional reports from the respective delegates. These reports included not only the statistical data but also presented various issues and concerns. Since each delegate will also participate in the 2016 General Chapter, we prepared various documents, statements, and other materials necessary for the Chapter in September/October.
The committee also spent some time studying the recent Church document: “Identity and Mission of the Religious Brother.” This document presents not only a theological framework for religious Brothers but it also very clearly explains how crucial the vocation and presence of religious Brothers is in male religious communities. The document illustrates the foundational truth that all Christians, by virtue of Baptism, both brothers and sisters, share the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Accordingly, religious Brothers express it in a special way through their consecration. Thus, both religious Brothers and priests fulfill the mission to evangelize through community. “Ministry is not a personal ‘task’ but a call from Jesus Christ to BE in community.”
While the previous meeting recommended a workshop on Oblate fraternal life, at this meeting, as a follow-up to the document “Identity and Mission of the Religious Brother,” it was decided to prepare a retreat on Oblate Fraternal Life. At the request of the General Council, this retreat will be proposed to the Regions.
The committee extends a special thank you to the community of Aix for providing us with Oblate hospitality, translations, and leading us in prayer.