The General Chapter gave our Congregation a mandate for the coming six years: “we have insisted on giving priority to the new faces of the poor whose situation has the greatest claim on salvation understood in an integral sense that only the Gospel can offer.”
The concern of the Chapter delegates, reflected in their final document, was guided by three beacons:
1) the calls of the new poor of today;
2) our response in the light of the Gospel; and
3) doing this in the light of our charism.
It is especially for the latter that the General Service of Oblate Studies, in Rome, exists. Under the guidance of Fabio CIARDI, its mission is to assist the Mazenodian Family to deepen our understanding of the charism and its changing missionary invitations today. The inauguration of the Kusenberger Chair of Oblate Studies is just one of its many expressions.
The initial response of the Kusenberger Chair at Oblate School of Theology is to offer an academic Certificate in Oblate Studies through the internet. We are “studying our roots so as to go forward” by are focusing on 5 areas, providing a course on each.
In August 2017, we will offer:
1) “Saint Eugene de Mazenod. The historical background, life, and the key aspects of his spirituality, charism and mission.”
In future years, other courses will follow:
2) The historical expansion and development of the mission of the Oblate Congregation from 1816 to the present.
3) The charism and the Constitutions and Rules.
4) Oblate religious life and spirituality, and
5) Oblate mission today.
Initially these courses will be offered online in English, with the intention of repeating them in Spanish and French in the future. The goal is to involve as many qualified Oblates and associates from around the Mazenodian world in the presentation of these courses (cf. https://ost.edu/oblate-studies/)
The mandate of the General Chapter is “to write a new page of the Gospel with Mazenodian creativity and audacity.” May these studies provide a solid foundation and contribution towards new missionary expressions of this creativity and audacity for the whole Mazenodian Family throughout the world. (Frank SANTUCCI)