Superior General Delivers Kusenburger Address

San Antonio, TX

By Fr. David Muñoz-Lopez, OMI, Director of Mazenodian Family Activities and Planning

Every February 17th, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate celebrate the anniversary of the Pontifical approval of the Constitutions and Rules. This “Oblate Day” at Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas, is commemorated with the annual Kusenberger Chair of Oblate Studies public lecture. 273 people registered for the event, present both in-person on online.

During the week a special dinner was held with Honorary Oblates and guests. At the head of the table are: (L-R) Fr. Art Flores, Fr. Luis (Chicho) Ruis, Superior General, Fr. David Muñoz-Lopez (standing)
Gigi Whitehurst, HOMI, gets the opportunity to venerate the actual Oblate Cross of St. Eugene de Mazenod

This year’s lecture consisted of several important moments:

•     The day began mid-morning with a prayer led by Fr. David Muñoz-López, OMI. The theme of the prayer was based on 1 Timothy 16, “Fan into flame…” encouraging those gathered to keep aflame the fire of St. Eugene de Mazenod’s charism. Members of the Mazenodian charismatic family brought up symbols of how the charism is lived out in the world: through light, faith, healing, wisdom, and prophecy.

•     The prayer was followed by a presentation led by the nine post-novices of the Bl. Mario Borzaga Formation House which highlighted the internationality of the Congregation through their singing and shared aspects of the charism that inspire their Oblate vocation.

(L-R) Oblate Fathers David Muñoz-Lopez, Frank Santucci processing into the Thanksgiving Mass

•     In preparation for the Keynote Address, Fr. Frank Santucci, current holder of the Chair of Oblate Studies, recognized the presence of Mrs. Ruth Kusenberger and some members of her family and also paid tribute to Deacon Robert Kusenberger who passed away since the last lecture. Fr. Santucci, traced the origins and achievements of the Chair during the seven years of its existence. These cover the graduates of the Master’s Degree in Spirituality, the Certificate in Oblate Studies, publications of articles and the many continuing education outreaches to the Oblates and our lay Associates throughout the world.

The Superior General delivers the Kusenburger Address at the Whitley Center

•     The focal point of the day was the Public Lecture, given this year by Fr. Luis Ignacio Rois Alonso, OMI, the Superior General. Fr. Chicho’s topic was based on St. Eugene’s words after the approval of the Oblate Constitutions and Rules: “May we understand well, what we are.” A charism shared in a charismatic family. Fr. Chicho traced how the charism of St. Eugene has developed in the charismatic family from the Founder’s beatification and canonization until today while also offering some challenges as the Congregation moves towards the 200th anniversary of the approval of the Constitutions and Rules. By highlighting some of the central points of the more recent General Chapters, Fr. Chicho focused on the important role the laity have to play in discerning how the charism continues its “creative fidelity.” Finally, Fr. Chicho expressed his desire that the Mazenodian charismatic family also engage the Church’s synodal process and create synodal tables at which all members of the charismatic family, vowed Oblates and Laity, can discern together in the charism.

•     After his, lecture, Fr. Chicho presided at the Mass of Thanksgiving for our Oblate vocation, during which Oblates present renewed their vows and 74 Lay Oblate Associates from the San Antonio area made formal commitments and renewed commitments to live the charism of St. Eugene. Those present at the liturgy had the opportunity to venerate the Founder’s Oblate Cross, which Fr. Chicho brought with him to give the final blessing.

•     The Oblate Day celebration concluded with a fraternal luncheon at the St. Eugene Hall located at the Lourdes Grotto and Tepeyac Shrine.