First “Oblatepalooza” Kicks off in Zambia

By Becky May

Most likely you have heard of Lollapalooza, the three day US concert tour featuring some of the most popular bands in every genre, but thanks to an anonymous Missionary Oblate Partner Oblatepalooza has been created.

Unlike the annual concert, Oblatepalooza is a mission experience for youth that educates and provides a look into the missionary work of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

from left to right are:  Liam Kemmy (San Antonio, TX); J. R. Bishop (Washington, DC); Brock Lively (Arlington, VA); Jose Weinberger (Alexandria, VA); Charity (last name not provided) who is the director of the national museum of cultural and anthropology in Lusaka in addition to being a member of an Oblate parish; and Father Barnabas Simatende

The trip began with two days inculturation and education in Washington, DC by the local Oblates regarding  their approaches to mission.  Following that the four young men went with Fr. Billy Morell, OMI to Zambia.  Fr. Barnabas Simatende, OMI of the Zambian Delegation aids the group while in Zambia where they will travel to Lusaka, Lukulu, Mongu, Kalabo and Kafue Park.  Throughout the trip the boys will visit an AIDS hospice, a radio station, orphanages, a leprosarium and several parishes.

Artie Pingolt, one of the three co-creators of Oblatepalooza, said, “A participant might go to Zambia and experience being a missionary but the hope is that they come home to the US and continue to feel ‘missionary’ in their lives here.”

Pingolt says the project took six months to plan. There have been previous mission trips open to Oblate Associates and family members, but Oblatepalooza is the first to be exclusively for youth, this includes men and women.  Although Oblatepalooza 2013 is only men, there are high hopes this will change in following years.


from left to right are:  Father Barnabas Simatende; Father Ron Walker (second superior of the Zambia mission and founder of the Zambian formation program for the Oblates in Zambia, and still doing vocation work!); J. R. Bishop (Washington, DC); Jose Weinberger (Alexandria, VA); Brock Lively (Arlington VA); Father Pat Gitzen (a member of the founding Oblate missionary team in Zambia in 1984 and a former high school soccer coach and currently superior of the Makeni Formation House (seminary);   Liam Kemmy (San Antonio, TX).“Oblatepalooza isn’t about vocations.  It’s to give younger people a chance to find mission identity.  If they decide that they want to pursue a vocation that is great, but it’s not the main goal,” said Pingolt.

The group is asked to journal their daily experiences and reflect on the activities they have participated in.

“It’s interesting to see what these young men will say about their experiences, while in Zambia.  They are meeting people their own age also and have so many differences in their lives, yet they can connect by just being teenagers,” said Pingolt.

Oblates have missions in 68 countries around the world, so future Oblatepalooza trips could go nearly anywhere.



Be sure to follow @OblateMissions and @Steugene1826 for more updates from Oblatepalooza!