Fr. Luis Ignocio (Chicho) Rois, OMI
You may wonder how one can celebrate being baptized and a missionary in a place like the Sahara. After hearing the Pope’s invitation, our Oblate community has set it in motion with the simple idea of sharing our joy of being missionaries in this context.
We will use our blog omisahara.wordpress.com and our Facebook page to share bits of our history and our present situation. Every day, photos, videos, thoughts, and even anecdotes will appear, speaking of God’s gift to us with this missionary vocation.
In addition, we are finishing the edition of a book on the “History of the OMI Mission in the Sahara” written by Beatriz García, a Doctor in History, who has done a wonderful job digging through the archives and interviewing many, Oblates and locals, so that we can recall the wonders that God has done in our mission.
With our few Christian parishioners, (most of whom are migrants in their most vulnerable stage, since they are neither in their country of origin nor have they reached the goal of their dreams), we will pray the rosary, reflect on our baptismal and missionary identity, and celebrate it in both El Aaiún and Dakhla, each day of this month. The two cities are separated from each other by 530 kilometers.
As an Oblate community, we plan to dedicate our monthly meeting of ongoing formation to the theme proposed by Pope Francis: “Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World”. We will end the missionary month on October 30 with a “desert retreat” (one of our privileges is that we have all our monthly community retreats in the desert) and on Thursday the 31st, during our traditional hour of worship before the Blessed Sacrament, we will renew our oblation, remembering the anniversary of the first oblation in our congregation.
The climax will come in the month of November when we will celebrate 65 years of Oblate presence in the Sahara mission, celebrating with Christians and Muslims the anniversary of the first Masses celebrated in the churches of San Francis in El Aaiún and Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Dakhla.