February 14, 2021
Dear Presidents of OMI Regions, Provincials, Delegation and Mission Superiors, and ALL Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate:
Greetings to all of you from the Pre-Capitular Commission as we move forward in planning for the 37th General Chapter, set to begin on September 14, 2022.
Over the past months, the Commission has assembled to prepare for this critical moment in our history. We are eager to have the entire Congregation become aware of this crucial moment and how each of us can participate and contribute to making this Chapter a significant event in our Oblate life.
Some preparations for the Chapter have been underway, from securing the Chapter venue in Nemi, Italy, a change requested by the last Chapter, to the Inter-Chapter meeting in Obra, Poland, where the participants made some suggestions for topics for the Chapter’s agenda.
Now that the Superior General has convoked the Chapter and the Pre-Capitular Commission has convened via ZOOM several times, we are ready to establish a theme with accompanying topics.
Some Regions also have begun to formulate the process for the election of Chapter delegates.
With this letter, we would like to solicit every member of the Congregation’s input to select topics for this upcoming Chapter.
We have put together some questions for discussion as you meet on the local, provincial and regional levels.
Taking the first suggestions from the Inter Chapter, we have noted four main directions surfaced from the participants’ slate of proposals for our consideration.
The first direction addressed the area of our Oblate identity, our religious/consecrated life, and the way we live it in community.
The second direction concerned our Oblate mission with the poor, in union and relationship with the laity.
The third direction dealt with how we promote interculturality, the intentional relationships with different cultures, and how we promote dialogue and respect.
Lastly, the Major Superiors and Mission Superiors at the Inter Chapter suggested Oblate Religious Formation in the 21st century (first and lifelong) as a topic.
Given these proposals, we have designed some questions that might stimulate discussion as you provide input for the Chapter’s structure and content. You can find the questionnaire at the end of this letter. This process invites participation by all Oblates, including those in first formation. We would ask that you meet and discuss these issues in a local community context, if possible, and send in your input by June 1. Please send these responses to firstname.lastname@example.org
These questions are meant to stimulate reflection, conversation, and input for the Chapter. Thus, we can all contribute to the direction and content of the General Chapter as we reflect on our own experience.
The Pre-Capitular Commission will gather your discussions, input, and suggestions and propose a theme and topics for the Chapter to the Superior General and the Central Government. These will help the Chapter discern the directions for the Congregation for the next six years.
In this Chapter’s discernment, new leadership on the Congregational level will be chosen apart from the topics and directions.
The 2016 Chapter called and challenged the Congregation to recognize the new faces of the poor, identify formation for mission issues, promote understanding of interculturality, develop our mission with youth and social media, and, finally, attend to the need for good and sound financial planning. Those calls continue to challenge the Congregation still today. And, these calls will assist us in our preparations for this upcoming Chapter.
We will soon prepare a Chapter Prayer that we can use daily to thank God for our Oblate life and pray for the Chapter’s success. Once a theme is proposed, and topics are developed, we will publish a series of related reflection articles for our continued discussion.
Finally, with Ash Wednesday, we join the whole Church as we go “on retreat’ for the forty days of Lent. During this time, we will reflect on the living out of the Lord’s call to us. May this Lententide challenge us to serve one another and God’s holy people in a better way.
Thank you for your recommendations and prayers.
Fraternally in Christ Jesus and Mary Immaculate,
- Louis Lougen, OMI – Superior General
- Alberto Huamán, OMI – General Council Liaison
- Alberto Gnemmi, OMI – Commission Member
- Constant Kienge-Kienge, OMI – Commission Member
- Thomas Ovalle, OMI – Commissioner
- Arun William Rozario, OMI – Secretary
(These questions are the result from the suggestions given by the Major Superiors for the 2022 Chapter themes during the Interchapter meeting at Obra, Poland in July 2019)
A: OMI Identity – Religious Life – Apostolic Community – Formation
In today’s context, what constitutes and shapes our religious identity as Missionary Oblates? What impoverishes our identity? What does the Lord ask of us in fidelity to our charism?
How is the Marian dimension of our charism made manifest in our lives, spirituality and mission? What experiences in our worship and in our prayer under Mary’s patronage can enrich our personal and community life?
How do we perceive the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, obedience and perseverance? How do they help us fulfill our vocation as consecrated men and as missionaries?
Does being brothers in community transform our way of living, praying, thinking, acting? How does the essential dimension of “community in fraternal communion” help us to grow? Positive aspects – Challenges – Personal Experience…
A great number of our missionaries abandon their commitment due to problems with life in community and their availability to go where needed. How can first formation better prepare our young men to persevere in their vocation?
Lifelong formation is a necessity, yet not always taken seriously at the personal, community and Unit level. What suggestions can we offer? Are there positive experiences from which we can learn?
B: Evangelizing the Poor – Laity – Interculturality
Evangelizing the poor
How do we evangelize today? Is it still possible to evangelize while acknowledging the social and cultural context of mistrust with the Church? What are the gifts and challenges we can offer to the world as consecrated men?
The mission of the Congregation summons both vowed Oblates and many lay people. How can we move ahead so that both Oblates and laity are more committed to deeper mutual collaboration in mission and in sharing other aspects of the Oblate charism, spirituality and life?
We are an international and multicultural Congregation. The 2016 General Chapter made a call to embrace intercultural living and mission. What qualities have you experienced living in intercultural communities? What next steps can be taken to better foster this?