Nnaemeka ALI, OMI
The Superior General, Luis Ignacio ROIS ALONSO, OMI, has been visiting Canada since October 17, 2023. He has traveled thousands of kilometers following the majestic St. Lawrence River.
After exploring parts of Quebec, Fr. Chicho is now in Ottawa, but not before visiting the historic Saguenay Mission, now known as the Oblate Mission of the North Shore of Quebec. Here, he met with the communities served by the youngest missionaries of the Notre-Dame-du-Cap Province.
The Bytown Mission
After journeying along the Whale Route, Fr. Chicho is now in the town of Colonel By, better known as Ottawa. This town, which comes from the Algonquin word adawe meaning “to trade,” is even older than the Saguenay Mission. In fact, the Oblates have been serving the Bytown Mission since 1842, before the city was founded in 1850. Bishop Bourget of the Diocese of Montreal sought the assistance of Bishop de Mazenod in caring for the French and Irish workers in this vast territory stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Superior, spanning nearly four hundred thousand square kilometers and more than three thousand kilometers in search of valuable timber and game.
The Oblate Mission of Ottawa
Since he arrived in Ottawa on October 28, Fr. Chicho has met several collaborators of the Oblates. On Sunday, he met with members of our two parishes at the University of Ottawa. In the morning, after Mass at St. Joseph’s Parish, he spoke with the associates present and then visited the charitable works carried out to help the poor in the city.
Then, before celebrating Mass with the Youth at Sacred Heart Parish, he met with the Oblates of the Notre-Dame-Du-Cap Province. It was a true moment of fraternity that prepared the atmosphere for the Mass with the young people. When it was time for Mass, the church and the adjacent hall were quickly filled with young students, creating the image of an intercultural community and the Church of the future.
After Mass, a group of young people approached Father General to learn more about the mission of the Oblates with the Youth. It was a pleasant moment of exchange. At the end of the meeting, a young student approached Fr. Chicho and asked who the Oblates were. This simple yet profound question allowed Fr. Chicho to recall the modest beginnings of the Oblate mission in the Canadian capital.