The Lesotho Oblate Province celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Oblate Congregation on the 30th April on the grounds of Mazenod Parish. A very large crowd was in attendance, including many friends and benefactors. This feast was all about our holy Founder, Eugene de Mazenod and his vision. … In the very humble beginnings in 1816, Father de Mazenod wrote that there was a spirit of joy and excitement.

This is what Lesotho Oblates and all Oblates celebrated, that very “spirit of joy and excitement” of the first small group of priests.

The excitement, even under such hardships as those pioneers endured, is an inspiration for us Oblates today. It keeps us going on our journey in pursuit of “a new spirit and a new heart”. Wherever we are, we keep reminding ourselves that we are “men set apart” for the work of Christ and his Church.

The feast was attended by five bishops of Lesotho (all Oblates), religious men and women of different religious congregations and Principal Chief of Matsieng, the younger brother to King Letsie III, among others.

In his homily on that occasion, Archbishop Gerard Tlali LEROTHOLI, President of the Lesotho Bishops’ conference, reminded us that De Mazenod’s main goal was holiness, a goal he pursued all his life. The archbishop further reminded us that the Oblate motto has to be maintained intact: “Evangelizare pauperibus misit me”. He said the Oblates need to recommit themselves principally to evangelizing the poor as per their constitution. “The motto says evangelizare, not scandalizzare,” the archbishop said.

Speeches after the Eucharistic celebration were given by representatives of: the faithful, the clergy, the Conference of Major Religious Superiors and the Principal chief and the Provincial Superior, Fr. Anthony Lisema MATSOSO. “We give thanks to God for blessing our efforts and that of many Oblates who came to our country long time ago,” he said.

The celebration was a happy and a joyful occasion and also a challenge to us as Oblates to renew ourselves in the spirit of our vocation. (Fr. Tseko Benedict MAKARA in MAOBLATA A LESOTHO, June 2016)