Fr. Victor Santoyo, OMI
Young Oblates from the Interprovincial Conference of Latin America (CIAL) have gathered in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia for a 30-day retreat in preparation for their Perpetual Vows.
The Interprovincial Conference of Latin America (CIAL), of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, every two years organizes a retreat in preparation for Perpetual Vows. The last two were in Recife, Brazil, in 2016 and 2018; the next one was to be in Lima, Peru, in 2020, but because of the Covid-19 pandemic it was suspended. This year, 2023, it is being held in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.
Participating for the Oblate Province of Mexico are scholastics Cristian Quirino and Jacobo Garcia; for the Oblate Province of Brazil, Herbensson Luis Nascimento; for the General Bolper Delegation, Walter Quispe (Perú); for the Cruz del Sur Province, Paraguayan scholastics Eduardo Barrias, Diosnel Dominguez, Nelson Penayo and Brother Nelson Villar.
Team of Spiritual Directors
The Oblate team accompanying the retreat is made up of Br. Diemenson Gomes (Brazil) who works at the Novitiate in Guatemala; Fr. Domingo DiMeo (Italy) working in Venezuela; Fr. Wladimir Rojas (Chile) from the Oblate Province Cruz del Sur; Fr. Patrick Urias from the Oblate Province of Brazil, and yours truly, Fr. Víctor Santoyo (Perú) from the General Delegation of Bolper.
From June 30 to July 30, 2023, the first week is a time for getting to know each other and for the dynamics of group integration. Each one shares his autobiography and how he felt the call to be an Oblate. Also, the history of their Oblate unit and what kind of missions they have. The participants are given some themes to remind them of Oblate values and have the opportunity to share the biography of a model Oblate they have known. On the way of a pilgrimage we visited the Shrine of the Virgin of Cotoca, celebrated the Eucharist and got to know the center of the city. One night we had the Eucharist in the Parish of St. Martin de Porres – Oblate Mission in Santa Cruz – and then, as a way of experiencing life together, we had a cultural evening with music and Bolivian dances by the different groups and parish communities, followed by a sharing of typical snacks of this city.
Opportunity to dialogue with the Superior General
The following three weeks are for the silent retreat, each day the scholastics receive two topics as a conference, which will help them in the four moments of prayer that they will do personally throughout each day, and once a day they have an interview with their spiritual companion. In the morning, in the chapel, each one in silence prays lauds before breakfast. At 8:30 a.m. they have their first conference. At noon the whole community has half an hour to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament, which we Oblates call “Oraison”. This is followed by lunch. In the afternoon at 2:30 p.m. they have the second conference; at 6:00 p.m. is the Eucharist and then dinner. Fr. Luis Ignacio Rois, OMI, our Superior General, will join us and the young Oblates will have an opportunity to dialogue with him and ask him some questions.
Invitation to pray
Please entrust to your prayers each of these young Oblates who are preparing for their Perpetual Vows, and also for the Oblate Team that accompanies them. We thank the Oblate Community of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Frs. Guillermo Siles, Jesús Fuertes and Lucas Casaert, for the welcome and hospitality, and all the collaboration in the logistical part for a month. We also thank Fr. Jorge Albergati, General Councillor for Latin America, Fr. Roberto Carrasco, Superior of the Bolper General Delegation, and two of the councillors, Frs. Elio López and Eduardo Luciano.