Belleville Oblates and Associates Celebrate “Oblate Day”

Belleville, IL

Photos and story by Will Shaw

The large room at the Esquiline was full as Fr. Mark Dean, OMI began the prayer service

For the past few years, the local Oblate community has invited the area Oblate Associates, Honorary Oblates and the Oblate Novitiate Community to celebrate important dates on the Oblate calendar such as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the Feast of St. Eugene, and just last Sunday, they gathered again in honor of “Oblate Day,” February 17th, which commemorates the day Pope Leo XII granted pontifical approval of the Oblate Constitutions and Rules on February 17, 1826. These celebrations are a collaboration of the local Oblate Superiors, with the director of the national office for Oblate Associates, Geri Furmanek.

The Esquiline Retirement Community on the grounds of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows provided the space, Fr. Mark Dean of King’s House Retreat Center provided the opening prayer service, the Oblates provided the entree, and local Associates and Honorary Oblates provided side dishes and desserts.  After prayer, the “pot-luck” supper buffet was served and fellowship among the Oblates and their Associates reigned supreme.

Here are a few photos of  how they celebrate “Oblate Day” in Belleville.

Fr. Mark Dean leading the group in prayer and song

Three Generations of Oblates are represented at this table in front: (L-R) Oblate Novice, Henry Zayamoe, Bro. Tom Ruhmann, and at 99 years old, the senior U.S. Oblate: Fr. Clarence Zachman.

After prayer the buffet is open and the feast begins. (L-R) Associate, Margarita Garcia, Fr. Urban Figge, OMI, Fr. Walter Butor, OMI, followed by novices, Moses Wafula Khisa, Prasad Marapogu and Brandon Ontiveros Garcia

(L-R) Bro. Pat McGee (back to camera) Oblate Associate, Gene Wescovich, with Honorary Oblates, Jack and Sandy Weck

From the Novitiate: (L-R) Fr. Humphrey Milimo, OMI and novices, Prasad Marapogu, Brandon Ontiveros Garcia, Chomba Kangwa

Fr. Dean, center, is (no doubt) getting a constructive critique of his service from brother Oblates, Fr. Dale Schlitt (L) and Fr. Norm Volk (R)

Associate, Jean Brennan (standing) listens as Shrine Pilgrimage Director, Fr. Elvis Mwamba entertains Associates Dorothy Glatz, her daughter, Sandy Lukowsky and Sue Collins

(L-R) Oblate Fathers Harold Fisher, Walter Butor and Oblate Associate, Nicole Younge