The Association of Oblate Institutes of Higher Learning (AOIHL) met June 6-9 at St. Bernard Scholasticate in Obra, Poland.
This meeting was the 15th yearly meeting of the group and the first in-person meeting since 2019 and the Covid-19 pandemic. The Oblates of the Polish Province hosted the meeting. The meeting had been originally scheduled for June 2020 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Oblates’ presence in Poland. One of the agenda’s highlights was to review the 37th Oblate General Chapter’s recommendations to the AOIHL group and formulate a follow-up plan.
At present, nine Oblate Institutes are members of the group. The 37th General Chapter established the AOIHL as an official network of the Congregation for the mutual support and development of the Oblate Institutes of Higher Learning. The AOIHL established itself in 2008 as a grassroots group of the individual Institutes’ leadership and developed its statutes. Later in 2015, the group ratified a document entitled “Elements of a Vision for Promoting an Oblate Catholic Institution of Higher Learning” in collaboration with the Superior General in council, which the 37th General Chapter reviewed.
Fr. Raymond Mwangala, 1st Assistant General for Mission, was recently appointed by the Superior General in council as the liaison with the AOIHL and the OMI Central Government, and he helped lead the Obra meeting to discuss the Chapter recommendations and their implementation. After their discussion, the group revised the AOIHL statutes to include the recommendations approved by the General Chapter.
Each participant gave a brief report at the opening session on their Institute or Office activities in the past year. On Wednesday afternoon of the meeting, a time was scheduled for each participant to meet one-on-one with their counterparts for planning and better knowledge of how they might be able to support one another and share resources. The group also participated together in the Solemnity of Corpus Christi Mass and procession with the parishioners and community of Obra. The final day included visiting the Poznan Seminary, the University Library, the archdiocesan cathedral, and a festive lunch with the Oblate provincial community in Poznan.
The next meeting was set for June 3-7, 2024, in Cilicap, Indonesia. Fr. Damianus will be the host.
Those attending the meeting in Obra, and shown in the photo included (left to right) Fr. Francis Nallappan, Rector of the De Mazenod Institute of Philosophy in Perambakkam, India, Mr. Rene Espinosa, Vice President for Administration at Oblate School of Theology (OST), San Antonio, Dr. Chantal Beauvais, rector of Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Fr. Raymond Mwangala, first assistant general and liaison, Rome, Fr. Piotr Pisarek, Obra Scholasticate, who was also the host of the meeting, Fr. Macaire Manimba Mane, President of De Mazenod University, Kinshasa, Congo, Fr. Damianus Johanes, Chairman of the YPPK Foundation for AMN Maritime Academy, Cilicap, Indonesia, Fr. Fabio Ciardi, Director of the General Service of Oblate Studies in Rome, Dr. Scott Woodward, President of OST, and Fr. Warren Brown, in his role AOIHL group coordinator.