On January 22, 2017, the Missionary Oblates of Assumption Province and their guests gathered at St. Eugene de Mazenod parish in Brampton to celebrate a Eucharist for the closing of the Oblate Triennium and Bicentenary Jubilee. The Bicentenary Jubilee marked the 200thanniversary of the founding of the Oblate religious family by St. Eugene de Mazenod. The Oblate Triennium was a three-year period of preparation for the bicentenary, with a special focus on the religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. The Mass in Brampton officially closed the Jubilee celebrations for the Oblates of Assumption Province.

Presiding the Jubilee Mass was Cardinal Orlando QUEVEDO, OMI, Archbishop of Cotabato, Philippines. He was joined by Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, Bishop Douglas CROSBY of Hamilton, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, and several other bishops.

Numerous priests, both religious and diocesan, concelebrated the Mass. The church was filled with people: consecrated men and women, as well as representatives of groups and organizations, families, and parishioners from Oblate churches.

In his homily, Cardinal Quevedo stated that he undertook the 9000 mile journey to Canada to pay a debt of gratitude, since a Quebec Oblate – Fr. Gerard MONGEAU – who later became the first Archbishop of Cotabato, was one of the “Magnificent Seven”, a group of great missionaries in the south of the Philippines. Cardinal Quevedo urged the Oblates to keep alive the “sacred fire” that “is a fire of love of God and our Immaculate Mother…a fire of missionary daring for those in need of God’s grace”.

During the offertory, gifts representing the five continents, along with bread and wine, were brought to the altar: a yellow candle and rice for Asia; a green candle and fruit for Africa; a red candle and grains of corn for the Americas; a blue candle and flowers for Oceania;, and a white candle as well as a Bible for Europe. After Holy Communion, the Ulman and Kasprzak families received the Crystal Oblate Madonna Award from Father Marian GIL, Provincial, in recognition of exceptional dedication in promoting the Oblate charism, and participation in the mission of Assumption Province.

Before the final blessing, members of the Missionary Association of Mary Immaculate, and young people who attended the World Youth Day 2016, were commissioned as “faithful witnesses” of the Good News and “friends of the poor” by Cardinal Thomas Collins. The joyful celebration continued with a well-attended reception at Millennium Gardens Banquet Hall.

While the Oblate Triennium and Bicentenary Jubilee have ended, the work of the Missionary Oblates of Assumption Province and their collaborators continues with a great amount of zeal as well as enthusiasm. (Fr. Pawel RATAJCZAK in News and Views, January-February 2017)