By Fr. Johnny Finney, OMI
After a year of pilgrimage in the life of Oblate vocation, with great joy and gratitude to God, the Oblates of Bangladesh family along with their friends, seminarians, MAMI members and about 200 faithful gathered at De Mazenod Scholasticate to conclude the Oblate Year of Vocations.
Most Rev. Moses Costa, CSC, the Archbishop of Chattagram, His Excellency Archbishop George Kocherry, Apostolic Nuncio to Bangladesh graced the occasion. On January 24, The Oblates had a day of recollection and reflected on the gift of vocation and the love of Mother Mary for the congregation. On January 25, we had Mass with the faithful of De Mazenod Church presided over by Archbishop Moses Costa, CSC. In his homily he thanked the Oblate Congregation for taking this initiative to observe the Year of Vocation which has been a demand of the time. He mentions 3 important points to respond to God’s call.
The first aspect is the silence of heart, which helps us to hear the God’s call. “Family is the place where we hear this call. Families should not lose that silence of heart in the noisy world. Only prayerful families can have that silence,” he explained.
Secondly, we need the guidance of others to walk in responding God’s call. Therefore, we need to seek the guidance of the parents, spiritual directors and formators.
Thirdly, we are responsible for our own vocation. It is a difficult but beautiful vocation because it requires sacrifice and oblation of self.
The bishop further reminded the Oblates that vocation is not our achievement but it is a free gift of God. It is not for personal glorification but for serving and glorifying God.
“Oblates are strongly rooted in Bangladesh Church. This achievement is not for their name and fame, but for the glory of the Lord and for the people. So the families also need to offer their children for evangelization of the poor and the needy.”
After the Mass, Apostolic Nuncio George Kocherry thanked the Oblates on behalf of Holy Father Pope Francis for the dedicated and faithful service in the field of priestly formation and for being close to the poor people in Bangladesh. Then, a short cultural program was organized where the Oblate seminarians staged a short drama on the life of St. Eugene de Mazenod. After that, there was a presentation on spirituality and mission work of Oblates in 4 dioceses of the country. A Magazine was published containing the vocation stories of the OMI Fathers and scholastics. On behalf of the Delegation of Bangladesh, Fr. Ajit Victor COSTA, the Delegation Superior, thanked the Bishops, Priests and Religious and the faithful for their presence and prayerful support in our missions. He also invited all the Oblates to continue to work and grow with the same spirit that we have experienced and shared during this Year of Oblate Vocations.