From October 17 to November 1, 2023, the Superior General, Fr. Chicho visited the Oblate Province of Notre-Dame-du-Cap in Quebec and Ottawa. This visit was an opportunity to meet his confrères and their communities; it was a Pilgrimage of Hope. Here are some of the heartwarming testimonies of those Oblates who were able to meet and accompany the Superior General in his pilgrimage of Hope.
A STEP INTO THE OBLATE HISTORY OF THE NORTH COAST
On October 20, Father General visited Pessamit. During his visit, we went to the old cemetery to pray at the tomb of the Oblate pioneers on the North Coast. We were also guided by three Innu to visit a traditional site where several elements of Innu culture are illustrated. The Band Council received us for a dinner in the company of elders and several members active in the pastoral ministry of the parish. We celebrated the Eucharist together. On October 21, on the way to Sept-Îles, we met the local community team in Ragueneau. A stop was made in Baie-Comeau to meet Bishop Jean-Pierre Blais who expressed his joy that the Oblates were working in his diocese, particularly with the Innu.
Gérard BOUDREAULT, OMI
ECHO OF MALIOTENAM AND UASHAT
The visit began on October 21 in Shaputuan where we received some general information on Innu culture. Afterwards, at the parish of Maliotenam, we celebrated the Eucharist, followed by a meal offered by the two communities of Maliotenam and Uashat. During this meal, the two communities gave a gift to Father General as a souvenir of his visit to us. The visit to Uashat and Maliotenam ended with the mission’s Sunday mass on October 22 at the Maliotenam church. In his homily, Father General reminded everyone, lay people and priests, of our mission to bear witness to the love of Christ in our world which is torn apart by several evils. At the same time, he invited us to pray constantly for peace in the world which needs it so much.
Alfred RAVELOMAMPISANDRAIBE, OMI
THE MINGANIE REGION
The visit began, on this Missionary Sunday, with mass in Rivière-au-Tonnerre. Father General presided at 4 p.m. and Father Provincial preached. After mass, we stopped at Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan to see the church, then on to Mingan. We arrived in Havre-Saint-Pierre for dinner. Monday, after breakfast, we left for Nutashkuan. At 5 p.m., there was a meeting with community leaders in Minganie: from Rivière-au-Tonnerre to Natashkuan. There were 23 of us: factory representatives, groups working in pastoral care and volunteers. We shared with Father General the joys and difficulties that we encounter in our work with our communities and he, giving a beautiful testimony of his family and his missionary work, encouraged us to be a living Gospel and to keep our hope.
Krzysztof SZABLAWSKI, OMI
THE NUTASHKUAN COMMUNITY
On October 23, Father General, accompanied by the provincial, Father Jacques Laliberté, and Father Krzysztof Szablowski, visited the community of Nutashkuan. An extraordinary event which mobilized the entire population. The elders wore traditional dress for mass; the school students came in large numbers to the church to pray and greet Father General. After the mass, the Band Council offered a traditional meal with the menu: caribou, beaver, goose, salmon and bannock, with cloudberry and red seed tarts. To end his visit, Father General blessed the statue of the Virgin Mary at the entrance to the village and asked Our Mother to watch over the young people and the entire population. Very moved by the presence of Father General, the elders wanted to thank him by offering him gifts of objects made by the people here.
Some memories of a community which wanted to express its joy and its love for the presence and the Oblate mission among them.
Gérard TSATSELAM, OMI
A VISIT THAT DOES GOOD…
It is with great joy, in Sept-Îles, that we welcomed the visit of our Superior General, Father Chicho, and our provincial, Father Jacques Laliberté. It was a great opportunity to bring together the missionaries of the Coast and the associates. There were fifteen of us around the table to share with our two visitors under the theme “Pilgrims of hope in communion”. Our time of discussion allowed us to discover the greatness of soul of Father Chicho, his missionary experience and his remarkable simplicity. All the participants expressed themselves in a spirit of true synodality, recognizing the big family that we formed. And to conclude, we continued our discussions around a festive meal. Note that our Superior General presided over the Sunday Mass, as well as the celebration of October 24, the day of our gathering. Gratitude to our provincial, Father Jacques, for allowing us to experience this moment of grace…
Réjean VIGNEAULT, OMI
These testimonies were originally published on the Bulletin of Notre-Dame-Du-Cap Province, INFO OMI, 01/11/2023