In recent weeks in Lesotho, I’ve had multiple opportunities to hear the Gospel narrative of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth (Lk 1:39-56). I resonated with Mary’s sense of urgency, akin to rushing to the mountains to serve the Oblates and the charismatic family on pilgrimage in Lesotho. Like Mary, my mission has been reaffirmed, and my heart is brimming with joy. Alongside those I’ve visited, we’ve begun to sing the prophetic song, the Magnificat, celebrating the works the Lord is accomplishing among us. We’ve reminded each other of the beauty of our charism, emphasizing its worthiness of radical living, transcending anything that might hinder its brilliance or impede the communal proclamation of Jesus.

The presence of Blessed Joseph Gerard has been a source of support, and the conviction that he will one day be canonized fills me with hope. He may be already effecting the most precious miracle, renewing us in our vocation. We fervently pray for the manifestation of God’s will through a miracle that the Church can recognize as a sign of God’s desire for his canonization.

With the Laity and Oblates of Lesotho, I shared in the joy of the upcoming reopening of the Novitiate House, scheduled for the first days of January. This responsibility extends to all of us, transcending the confines of the formation team. We must collectively pray for the novices, but more significantly, we must bear witness with our lives to our vocation. In doing so, every novice in our congregation has the right to see in each member of our family someone who lives passionately in love with their vocation and faithfully embodies the received charism. Let’s actively engage, opening the doors to this new phase, and live our mission with heightened dedication and passion, striving to be bearers of Good News to the most abandoned.

Reconnecting with the Oblates serving the Congregation in Rome, I have felt their companionship as they walked with me through the lands of Lesotho. Joyfully, we’ve also shared the outcomes of the General Committees of the Brothers, the Finance Committee, and the JPIC Committee meetings. They will report their proposals and initiatives to the Central Government to encourage better pilgrims of hope in communion.

I aspire to celebrate Christmas in the smallest unit of our Congregation: Turkmenistan. God willing, I will be with them from December 22nd to 28th. In this mission, two Oblates are reopening the path of the Church in these lands while representing it through their diplomatic service. It’s a small Church, a beautiful mission that serves as a poignant reminder that Jesus chose to be born in fragility, poverty, and under the care of the least among us, allowing himself to be tended to by them. As I accompany our two missionaries, I am confident that our charismatic family will once again come together on this new pilgrimage to discover the missionary challenges of our time. I also hope some missionaries will be inspired to strengthen this Oblate community. Let us all converge in the Bethlehem of Turkmenistan to be surprised by God, who becomes a pilgrim to us when we embark on a pilgrimage, sowing hope and communion in the world.

Suffrages for our Deceased Brothers

I recommend to your prayers the soul of our departed brother:

Fr. John SZKODZINSKI, OMI, from the Assumption Province who died on December 10, 2023, in Toronto (Canada) at the age of 85 and 61 years of oblation. May he rest in peace.

Superior General