“Oblate Day” Celebrations Around the Country

Oblate Day

February 17, 2024 was the 198th anniversary of the Papal Approbation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate by Pope Leo XII in 1826. “Oblate Day,” as it has become to be known, is the occasion of celebrations by Oblates all over the world. Thanks to Face Book posts, and the opportunity to attend one of the events in Belleville, IL, we bring you a sampling of three Oblate Day celebrations in the U.S.

St. Ferdinand Parish, San Fernando, CA

(L-R) Bishop Gerald Wilkerson, Fr. Carlos Alarcon, OMI, Bro. Stanco Simukonda, OMI, Fr. Juan Ayala, Pastor of St. Ferdinand in San Fernando, CA

Celebrating the 198th Anniversary of the Approval of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate by Pope Leo XII and the Renewal of Temporary Vows of Brother Stanco Simukonda, O.M.I.

Fr. Ayala watches as Bro. Stanco signs the renewal document during Mass

We thank the community of St. Ferdinand Church for the love and support they have given to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, since the beginning. Their prayers and encouragement have strengthened them and given them spiritual guidance to help all those in need. Congratulations to brother Stanco on his renewal of temporary vows and what a blessing to be present on such a solemn occasion. May God continue to guide you in your vocational path. ?

Posing with two parishioners at the dinner after Mass are: (L-R) Bro. Stanco Simukonda, OMI, Fr. Juan Ayala, OMI, Fr. Lucio Castillo, OMI, and (standing) Fr. Carlos Alarcon, OMI

Thank you, Bishop Gerald Wilkerson, for gracing us with your presence, an important figure who has been present for the Oblates. Finally, we thank our Oblate Celebration Committee who worked so hard in organizing our celebration. Every detail, from the set-up, the decor and the delicious food, to name a few, was due to these loving people who wanted to make this event unique and special.

(Text from Face Book post with photos by Marco Polo, ONE IMAGE FOREVER.)

Bl. Mario Borzaga Formation Community, San Antonio, TX.

(Some photos by Richard Vasquez)

Just in time for Ash Wednesday and Oblate Day, the Borzaga Formation Community received a visit from Most Rev. Luis Ignacio Rois Alonso, OMI, Superior General of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate on his first visit to the U.S. since being named Superior General.

(L-R standing) Fr. Raymond Cook, U.S. Provincial, Br. Jacques Liba, Sch. Br. Etienne Kabemba, Fr. Ron LaFrambois, Bro. Alezander Robles, Fr. Juan Gaspar, Fr. Antonio Ponce, (L-R seated) Sch. Br. Maximilian Kenfack, Sch Br. Dogo Anageudeu, Sch. Br. Marco Cruz, Sch. Br. Musonda Chota, Fr. Luis (Chicho) Rois, Superior General, Fr. Arun Rozario, Sch. Br. David Chisha

After the Ash Wednesday Mass in San Antonio we see (L-R) Fr. Richard Hall, OMI, Fr. Joseph Benedict, OMI, Very Rev. Raymond Cook, OMI, U.S. Provincial, Most Rev. Luis Ignacio Rois Alonso, OMI, Superior General, Fr. David Muñoz Lopez, OMI.
At one of the special events during the Superior General’s visit we see (L-R) John Whitehurst, HOMI, Fr. Rois, Fr. Richard Hall, OMI, Fr. Ed Hauf, OMI, Associate, Richard Vasquez
On Saturday, February 17, Superior General Rois gave the “Kusenburger Lecture” for Oblate School of Theology at the Whitley Center. (For more on this event see Fr. David Munoz-Lopez’s article here)

Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Belleville, IL

On February 17, Oblates, Associates, HOMIs, Oblate Novices from the nearby Novitiate, and guests gathered at the Benedictine Living Community on the Shrine Grounds for prayer and fellowship in honor of “Oblate Day.” Unfortunately, a heavy snowstorm the day before kept most of the local Associates and HOMIs snowed in. Nevertheless, a good crowd of Oblates and guests attended the event which opened with a prayer service by Fr. Mark Dean, followed by a delicious buffet meal all coordinated by Support Office Manager, Lori Kelly, assisted by her husband, Brian and daughter, Lexie.

Shrine Director, Fr. Salvador Gonzalez, OMI led the prayer service to begin the evening
Oblate Associate, Nicole Younge was one of the readers during the prayer service
After prayer the feast began
This distinguished group consists of (L-R) Oblate Fathers Paul Wightman, Clyde Rausch, and Tom Hayes
Fr. David Kalert and Betty Rule, HOMI chat with out-of-town guests
(L-R) Bro. Tom Ruhman, Father Harold Fisher, U.S. Treasurer, Fr. Jim Chambers, Fr. Joe Hitpas, and (back to camera) Bro. Patrick McGee
While the Oblates in San Antonio had the current Superior General, the Belleville Oblates were happy to have the previous Superior General, Fr. Louis Lougen, (on right) now part of the formation team at the Oblate novitiate in Godfrey, IL. He’s dining with (L-R) Fr. Greg Cholewa, Fr. Dale Schlitt, and Fr. John Madigan

Enjoying the food she arranged, Office Manager, Lori Kelly is on the right with Bro. George Litya, OMI and her daughter, Lexie in the middle