19 Men “Come and See” Oblate Life in San Antonio

Story and Photos Provided by Fr. Richard Hall, OMI

The Oblate Vocations Directors “book-end” the visitors: Fr. Richard Hall on far left, Fr. Jesse Esqueda on far right, Fr. Harold Fisher, second from right, and Fr. Tuan Pham, third from right. Canadian Assumption Province Vocation Director, Fr. Paul Patrick, OMI is kneeling at center.

Oblate scholastic, Jean Emmanuel Meloncourt (L) answers questions between events

It was a great start for the Year of Vocations for the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate at this year’s Come and See in San Antonio, Texas.  For the first time in as long as the Vocation Directors can remember, we  had 19 men join us for our Come and See.  They ranged from ages 18-38.  They came from: Houston, TX; Caseyville, IL; Chicago, IL; Belleville, IL; Freemont, Nebraska; Panorama City, CA; Pacoima, CA; Del Rio, TX;  Cibilo; TX, Spring, TX; Cypress, TX; San Antonio, TX; Indianapolis, IN; and Mississauga, ONT, Canada, yes, Canada!  Our brothers from Canada, brought two men with them.  They truly had a positive experience and were delighted to be a part of the Come and See.  As we continue to collaborate in many areas of formation with our Canadian brothers, we were delighted to have them with us!

Fr. Jesse Esqueda explaining to the candidates how Oblates pray the Liturgy of the Hours. The Liturgy of the Hours plays an integral role in the life of an Oblate.

We had the opportunity to participate with the Oblate Associates of San Juan de Los Lagos Parish and Shrine. After the men prepared sandwiches, organized clothing and blankets, we traveled to the east side of San Antonio, where we joined our Baptist brothers and sisters to assist the less fortunate.  There the young men intermingled with the poor and truly received an “eye opening” experience of what it

The young men organized clothing and blankets for the needy.

means to serve God’s poor, and what it means to be an Oblate.  Afterwards we gathered back at the Oblate Retreat Center for a little bit of reflection of their experience with the most abandoned. During the reflections I made sure to tell them that if you do not love the poor, you cannot be an Oblate.  “The poor” not only means the material poor, but also those who are poor in Spirit.

Fr. David Munoz, O.M.I. gave us a brief lecture on discernment and the charism of the Oblates through our Founder, St. Eugene de Mazenod.

Fr. Ed Hauf describes Oblate life.

We also visited our parishes where Fathers Ed Hauf and Izzy Garcia gave a brief summary of their ministry along with a history of their parishes.  On the last day, Sunday, we participated with the community and Fr. Richard Guerra, OMI, at San Juan de los Lagos Spanish mass. Afterwards we were treated to a tasty Mexican breakfast!

We thank all the Oblates and scholastics who’s efforts made this Come and See experience an eventful one. I also thank my fellow Vocation Directors, Jesse Esqueda, Tuan Pham, Harold Fisher and Paul Patrick from Canada.  Finally, I want to express my gratitude to those Oblates who sent men from their respective ministerial sites. Thank you for your efforts.