Grieving for an Oblate Accomplishment


by Harry Winter, OMI

Fr. Rostkowski presenting the 75th volume, for the year 2011, to Pope Benedict XVI on Dec. 12, 2012

For many years, Oblates were accustomed to seeing an annual photo of an Oblate missiologist presenting to the pope a comprehensive bibliography listing every book or article written the previous year on Mission, Ecumenism, Dialogue, Sociology of Religion, etc. Known as Bibliographia Missionaria, this book was of immense aid to anyone  interested in a topic concerning the spread of the Christian faith.

Unfortunately, the Rector of the Pontifical Urban University, which paid for the publication, decided this year to stop the publication, after 83 years. It was my privilege, at the annual meeting of the American Society of Missiology, June 19-21, 1998, which had as its theme the 26 most important reference works for missiology, to present the Oblate edited Bibliographia Missionaria.  It was a joy to work with the then editor Father Willi Henkel, OMI, to obtain a flyer to publicize this valuable work.  The journal Missiology later published my “Bibliographia Missionaria:  Thermometer of Missiology” (27, Jan. 1999, 1:35-39), available on the USA OMI website Mission-Unity-Dialogue, Oblate Missiologists page,

The first issue was 80 pages; the last, 534 pages.

Closure for this decision requires some grieving.  May we pray especially for the last Oblate to be involved, a young missiologist from Madagascar, Father Alphonse Rakontondravelo OMI.  He came to Rome in 2016, thinking he would be spending much of his time editing the book. May the Holy Spirit help him, Fr. Rostkowski, Fr. Henkel, and all the other Oblates who edited or who helped to edit the book each year, to move on and accomplish even greater achievements in missiology.

For a comprehensive article by Fr. Rostkowski, explaining why the Pontifical Urban University decided to stop the publication, see the MUD home page above, “Sad News from Fr. Rostkowski,” and Oblate Missiologists page.