Oblate Superiors and Directors Hold Annual Meeting in Belleville.

King's House at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows

(L-R) Oblate Fathers Jim Chambers, Sal De George, Lon Knold, Harold Fisher, Clyde Rausch, Ray John Marek, Charles Banks, Bill Antone, Juan Gaspar, Emmanuel Mulenga, Frank Kuczera, Jim Taggart, Felix Bwalya, Dick Sudlik, Louis Studer, Mike Amesse, Sal Gonzalez, Tom Ovalle, Kevin Collins, Abraham Chimese, Mark Dean

By Fr. Louis Studer, OMI

More than 20 Oblates gathered at King’s House at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, IL for the annual Superiors/Directors meeting August 27-30, 2023.

Sunday was dedicated to socializing and getting re-acquainted before dinner. The remainder of the afternoon and evening was spent sharing informally in anticipation of the meeting.

Fr. Dick Sudlik read the Gospel during the Mass celebrated by Fr. Mark Dean late Monday morning

Monday morning, August 28, was spent by the Superiors and Directors sharing their individual successes and challenges in ministry, reflecting on what went well and what did not. The afternoon was spent in dialogue with Provincial Treasurer, Fr. Jim Chambers, regarding what help will be needed from the next administration (to be inaugurated in late October). The men also explored how they can best work together to overcome the challenges of meeting the needs of their constituents.

Monday afternoon was spent in dialogue with Provincial, Louis Studer, and Treasurer Jim Chambers, discussing recommendations, suggestions to be given to the new provincial leadership who will take office in late October. Specific ideas given were: more frequent communication with province Oblates, a convocation to plan our ministerial future, a new ministry with the poor, increased efforts in promoting vocations. Province leadership was thanked for their work the past six years. 

Fr. Sal Gonzalez leading the retreat on Tuesday

The men spent Tuesday in retreat led by Fr. Sal (Chava) Gonzalez focusing on the theme of the recent General Chapter, “Pilgrims of Hope in Communion” The words of that theme were considered and discussed thoughtfully and individually: “How are we pilgrims?” “What gives us hope?” “What does it mean to be in communion with each other?” “With those we lead?” “In our communities?” – “Our institutions? “In our ministries?

Photo by Fr. Sal Gonzalez, OMI

Fr. Chava’s reflections and the dialogue among the men gave us much to consider during breakfast on Wednesday and morning prayer. Then, it was time to head back to our respective ministries with a renewed sense of purpose and dedication.

Prior to heading off to the airport we see (L-R) Fathers Dick Sudlik, Ray John Marek, Charles Banks and Mike Amesse bidding each other “safe travels”