Mission Enrichment Days “Kick Off” in Belleville

Mission Enrichment

Attendees from The Esquiline (E), King’s House Retreats (K), the Missionary Association (M), and Mission Enrichment (ME) Front Row-L to R: Darlene Sicka (M), Gwen Campbell (M), Jeannie Lowry (E), Nancy Lichtenberg (ME), Shauna Bayles (E), Barbara Prosser (E), Lori Kelly (M), Mary Adams (E). Back Row-L to R: Diann Donjon (Sh & M), Sherry White (M), Geri Furmanek (ME), Cindy Yocks (M), Oblate Fr. David Kalert, Tammy Ramsey (K), John Vanek (M), Martha Holloway (E), Derek Czosnyka (K), Roger Millmann (E), Michael Inyart (E), Sherry Greiman (E), Mike Viola (M), not pictured-Jennifer Murphy (E)

On August 16, 2018, Mission Enrichment “Season” resumed with a gathering of employees from the Missionary Association of Mary Immaculate, King’s House Retreat and Renewal Center, and The Esquiline (formerly the Apartment Community) for a four-hour opportunity to meet other Oblate employees and to hear the story of the Oblates and to learn about their values and mission.

According to Geri Furmanek, Province Director of Mission Enrichment and Oblate Associates, the purpose of these sessions is to, “Provide employees with the values and culture of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Sometimes, if an employee is unfamiliar with the Catholic faith, they may feel like an “outsider.” The hope is that Mission Enrichment can break down these barriers so everyone feels included, valued, and part of the Mazenodian Family.”

This year, The Esquiline graciously provided space for these sessions.  Upon arrival, the employees find fruit, donuts, coffee and juice waiting for them to enjoy as they mingle with their co-workers and meet new people from other ministries. Over the next few hours, the attendees get to know about each other as they introduce themselves to the group. Ms. Furmanek’s colorful power-point presentation provides useful information about the Congregation, and an explanation of how the charism of the Oblates has manifested itself in the ministries of the past and present, and how each employee is an important part of continuing the legacy of faith through their work.  The theme this year includes our Mazenodian family relationships.   In addition, they hear from an Oblate priest or brother about his years in ministry, view a video presentation on St. Eugene de Mazenod, and experience a live visit from the “Founder” himself. It culminates with lunch (prepared by Esquiline Chef Todd Schrage and staff) and a last chance for new friends to visit and discuss this most, un-ordinary employee education experience.

Obviously, not all employees of Oblate ministries are Catholic, but according to Geri Furmanek, that doesn’t matter in these sessions: “It doesn’t matter if they’re Catholic or not. Our diverse beliefs help us to better understand the world and each other. The real focus is what we can do together to make a difference in the lives of men, women and children who are most in need and these sessions are designed to make employees feel at home in these unique work surroundings.”

Thank you to all the participants and the Directors and Supervisors of our ministries!  The Mission Enrichment experiences in this area will continue with additional sessions in the coming months and into the new year.