Two Oblate Ecumenists on the Road to Glory


by Harry Winter, O.M.I.

Father Waclaw Hryniewicz, O.M.I., an expert on the Eastern Orthodox Church, died on May 26 at age 83 in Poland. Fr. Jean Gueguen, O.M.I., a promoter of the Taize Community, died on May 24 at age 95 in France.

Father Hryniewicz

Father Waclaw Hryniewicz, O.M.I.

On March 20, 1995, Hryniewicz was the featured speaker at Oblate College, Washington DC, to open the Oblate Center for Mission Studies. Due to his friendship with Fr. George McLean, O.M.I., Hryniewicz had agreed to speak about developments between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

I’ll never forget the scene as prelates from Eastern Churches in union with Rome, and those from Orthodoxy, all garbed in their ceremonial robes, filled the room. Father John Hotchkin and Brother Jeff Gros, F.S.C, both leading ecumenists in the Roman Catholic Church, attended.

As our province’s Ministry of Mission, Unity and Dialogue developed, Hryniewicz explained the importance of such events as the Russian Orthodox Patriarch and the Presiding Roman Catholic Archbishop of Poland signing an agreement (click here for the two previous posted accounts).

Father Gueguen

As early as 1969, Gueguen was alerting Oblates to the growth of the ecumenical community of Taize and its importance for youth, by an article in the Oblate journal Missions. In this short, four page article, Gueguen described how he was invited by the Brothers of Taize to welcome the young and not so young retreatants who came to Taize during the summer of 1966 and 1967.

Fr. Jean Gueguen, O.M.I.

Some came for a week, and some for only a weekend. There was also an international gathering of 1700 in 1966 and 2300 in 1967. He noted the preparation for discussions in 1969 on modern atheism.

During the Oblate General chapter of 1972, Gueguen brought Brother Max Thurian, the co-founder and theologian of Taize, to the chapter. On the evening of May 19, Thurian spoke with a large number of delegates, alternating between
French and English.

Many Oblates who made the DeMazenod Experience in Aix, France, visited Taize, France. Gueguen was responsible in large part for this possibility.

In France, Gueguen is more famous for his ministry with Madeleine Delbrel (for this, see the Home Page and Family Laity Page of Mission-Unity-Dialogue website,

“Hryniewicz’s ministry in 2016 and 2012”

Polish Oblate Concerning Feb. 12, 2016 Cuban Declaration Of Pope and Patriarch  (2016)

An Oblate Reflection on Russian-Polish Reconciliation  (2012)