Missionary Oblate Partners Meet for First Time in Three Years

De Mazenod Conference

By Artie Pingolt, president, Missionary Oblate Partnership

After a nearly 3-year hiatus, the De Mazenod Conference and Gerard Awards resumed, taking place April 29-May 1 at Oblate Renewal Center in San Antonio.

The conference topic for 2022 was “Evangelization in a Time of Division.”

Oblates in attendance were Lou Studer, Jim Brobst, Billy Morell, Thomas Klosterkamp, Frank Santucci, Seamus Finn, Antonio Ponce and Ron LaFramboise.

Guest speakers were Anthony Pogorelc, PSS, PhD , Scholar in Residence at St. Mary’s University, San Antonio; Mark Gray, PhD, Senior Researcher, CARA; Pat Markey, Managing Partner, Catholic Leadership Roundtable; and Ron Rolheiser, OMI.

Each speaker touched, in some way, on the polarities affecting both Church and contemporary society. Pogorelc indicated that discussion of “faith as an option” can work to defuse tension without diluting the mystery of a faith encounter. Gray shared recent data that identifies the Catholic Church’s large “moderate middle” that can sustain us during these times.  Markey suggests the Church is at the beginnings of or will experience a crisis that will be ultimately healing and life-giving.  And Rolheiser pointed to the invincibility of the resurrection as a sign of both hope and confidence in troubled times.

(L-R) Sr. Theresa Sandok, OSM, Jasmine Azima, PE CxA, Greg Blasko, CPA

Lou Studer preached to the assembly on Saturday evening and before mass ended presented the Gerard Award, given for zeal and perseverance that imitates Blessed Joseph Gerard, OMI.  2022 recipients were Sr. Theresa Sandok, OSM, Jasmine Azima, PE, CxA and Greg Blasko, CPA.

One unique note for the Conference was a joint meeting of Missionary Oblate Partners and Oblate Associates, held Saturday afternoon. Mazenodian Family co-director Santucci led the discussion. Associates were then invited to join the Conference for mass, social and a fiesta dinner.

The weekend ended with a 2-hour informal sharing session on Sunday morning.

2023 De Mazenod Conference:  Date & Topic TBD.

Past Conference Topics

Faith & Technology

MIA: Missing in Action Catholics

MIA II: Strategies for Reaching MIA Catholics

Laudato Si: Our Faith, Money & Ecology

OMI: A Strategic Review of Congregational Life

A Pathway of the Heart: Renewing the Catholic Church

Spirituality In Daily Life

Evangelization in a Time of Division