Triennium 40th Anniversary of ‘Wisma de Mazenod’ Oblate Scholasticate
Sch. Henrikus Prasojo, OMI
Celebrating its 40th anniversary of the Oblate Scholasticate of the Province of Indonesia has been doing a Triennium Program since the year 2019 with so many activities.
We divided the Triennium celebration into three parts which has its own theme for each year. In the first year (2019-2020), we deepened on the theme “Make them human”; the second year (2020-2021) “Make Them Christian”; and now the third year of the Triennium (2021-2022) “Make Them Saints” as a theme to be elaborated.
To celebrate this very solemn celebration, we organized some Oblate studies and prayers concerning the Oblate Charism as our main subject. We are reflecting that the call “To be Saints” according to the Oblate Charism is to go out from our orientation to reach out to others. Sanctity in the Oblate life is something dynamic, alive, not static, which is expressed through our service to others specially to evangelize the poor and the most abandoned. Beside deepening the Oblate Charism in the community through Oblate studies and prayers, we took the initiative to conduct virtual meetings with Oblates from other countries. These virtual meetings are provided by the scholasticate community using Zoom Application, and attended by other OMI Formation Houses here, namely: Blessed Joseph Cebula Prenovitiate Community and Blessed Joseph Gerard Novitiate Community.
The first meeting conducted by our Triennium Committee was on Saturday, October 2nd, 2021. We had two great resource persons who shared their materials with us. They were Fr. Peter Stoll OMI (the General Counselor for Asia-Oceania Region) and Fr. Christian Fini OMI (the Provincial of Australia). Both shared with all participants about some actual issues which happen in their ministry as Oblates.
The Horizon of Oblate Mission in Asia-Oceania
The first one who shared with us about his ministry was Fr. Peter Stoll OMI. He told us his story about the general situation in our congregation. He shared about the whole situation of the congregation, the recent data of Oblate units and personnel, and also some facts which we could face around the world.
He began his presentation with a very beautiful wise word. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It is about learning to dance in the rain.” Through these poetic words, Fr. Peter asked us to be able to anticipate any kind of unpredictable situation. We shouldn’t just wait for the storm to pass; we have to work and do something just like dancing in the rain. He also shared about the kind of sessions in the general administration and its purpose.
After several minutes of presentation, the host gave the chance for the participants to give some feedback and also questions to find out more information. Some asked about the general administration policy during the covid-19 and the new missions. Some asked informative questions about data of some units, the community activities during the pandemic and also about the hope of Pope Francis to the Oblates. Brother Johanes Vianney OMI asked the most important things to do: how does Fr. Peter integrate his life between so many busy commitments, community life as well as spiritual life.
In the end of the meeting, Fr Peter highlighted some issues as advice for all the participants. He said that, “There is no easy mission, but each of us has to be able to rise up again. Don’t give up but be prepared for challenging situations.” Also, he gave us advice to have a strong missionary horizon and be available to be sent for a mission to other countries. In the context of multiculturalism and interculturality, we have to foster collaboration and sharing between Oblate units.
The Australia Province
The second session began at 17.00 local time (GMT +7), a presentation about the Oblate mission in Australia by Fr. Christian Fini OMI. He said that the Australian mission is a very difficult mission in this modern world. The secularism in the society, mistrust of religious institutions, and the very far distance between communities, the aging of the province and the smal number of Oblates, also the Covid-19 pandemic are some main issues faced by the Oblate Mission in the Australian Province.
Despite the difficulties they have, Fr. Fini with the Oblates in Australia try to reach the most abandoned with their new faces of the poor. They serve in education sectors through some colleges (IONA College, Mazenod College). They accompany the vulnerable children and adults. With the Rosies mission they help the people to face the pandemic. They are grateful to have help from Oblates from other provinces and also have a supportive and collaborative lay association network.
In the open-question session, some of the participants asked Fr. Fini about many things. Beginning with the possibilities and requirements to do a mission in Australia and about some efforts to maintain the lay and youth associations in Australia. To answer the participant questions, Father Fini shared with us their ecclesiology ideas on how to do their mission. He highlighted that the main aim of the Oblates in Australia is to build up the “Church”, not the building. They try to enrich and engage the people through social media and other appropriate activities. He spoke about cyber theology, the opportunity and positive approach during the pandemic Covid-19. Also, Fr. Fini shared about their ministry to engage and develop people by sharing the Oblate Charism. They have organised some simple Oblate courses and prayers.
At the end of his session, Father Fini explained his hope that there will be some brothers taking the doctorate study, and become lecturers in Australia. Also, he opens the opportunity to any Oblates to join in the mission. If there are some Oblates who come to Australia, he could then send Oblates from the Australia Province to have a mission in other countries, because they too dream to be a missionary. The most important things that he mentioned in this meeting is the importance to pray for vocation and to foster vocations among the youth.
What a wonderful session to have an encounter with the Oblates in another country even if it’s only through a digital platform. These sessions have been encouraging the participants with a missionary zeal especially for all the formands who are preparing themselves to become true Oblates according to the example of Saint Eugene. Enthused by a very rich encounter with Fr. Peter and Fr. Fini, the participants long and wait for the next agendas which has already been organized by the Triennium Steering Committee next month. These monthly events will be conducted by other Oblates from other provinces, delegations and missions. There are some Oblates who have already accepted our invitation to share their mission in this borderless world through digital platforms. They are Fr. Slamowir Kalisz OMI from China Delegation, Fr. Samuel Simsang OMI from South-Korea Delegation, Fr. Bradly Rozairo OMI from Japan Delegation and Fr. Bede Sujaharan OMI from Mexico. Hopefully, this virtual encounter could open the missionary horizon of the Indonesia Formands and make us more available to be sent to the ends of the earth, to gratefully respond to the most precious call to be an Oblate, and witnessing to Christ in this modern world.