Oblates Praised

Fayetteville, NC

by Harry Winter, O.M.I.

During the Aug. 15 celebration in Sweet Springs, WV, (click here for last Wednesday’s story) Monsignor John Williams, episcopal vicar for clergy for the Diocese of Raleigh, NC, went out of his way to praise the Oblates who staffed St. Patrick’s Church and St. Ann’s Church, Fayetteville, NC. We took over St. Patrick’s (the oldest Catholic Church in NC, established in 1821) in 1928 and turned it over to the  diocese in 1973. Fr. Bill Ryan started St. Ann’s for black Catholics in a barbershop on Christmas Eve,1939 and we turned it over to the diocese in 1994.

St. Ann’s Catholic Church

Fr. Art Obin, OMI

Msgr. Williams also related that he helps out at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Riviera Beach, Florida during the winter months, and sees  the late, Fr. Art Obin’s photo all over the parish.

Five other priests were able to join Msgr. Williams for the Aug. 15 Mass in Sweet Springs (he has a summer home just across the border, in Paint Bank, VA): Fr. James Conyers, who presided, pastor of nearby St. Charles Borromeo Church in White Sulphur Springs, WV and St. Catherine’s Church, in Ronceverte, WV; Fr. Tom Collins,  Fr. Dan Kelly, and  Fr. Augustine Lukenge,  who  lead the Catholics in nearby Hot Springs, Covington and Clifton Forge VA, and myself.

The US State Department has forced Fr. Augustine and six other Ugandan priests serving the Richmond Diocese, to sit in the pews and do no priestly duties, because of visa problems. Although Augustine has never met David Uribe, O.M.I. they have contacted each other on the internet. Augustine has found David to be most supportive.

So Oblate connections to Appalachia continue to exist; click here for articles on earlier Aug. 15 Masses at Sweet Springs: 2014, 2016,and 2018.