U.S. Province Hosts Global Oblate Fundraisers

Buffalo, MN

By Artie Pingolt, President, Missionary Oblate Partnership

The US Province hosted the Global Oblate Fundraisers May 27-30 at Christ the King Retreat Center in Buffalo, MN.  The Global Oblate Fundraisers, aka GOF, is a collection of Oblates and other fundraising leaders in the US, Canada and Europe.  The group meets in person every two years, together with General Administration leadership, to both analyze and plan strategies to provide support for Oblate units in developing countries.

Representing the General A dministration was new General Treasurer Charles Rensburg, OMI and Graciela Etchart, PhD, director of the Oblate Office of Mission & Sustainability.   Other GOF attendees included Christian Fini, OMI Australia Provincial; Eric Aleaume, OMI Australian Provincial Treasurer; Diane Lepage, Lacombe, Canada, Leo Philomin, OMI, Anglo-Irish Province;  Aloys Terliesner, OMI and Monika Abbing from Germany; Adam Filas, OMI, Assumption Province, Canada; Flavio Facchin, OMI, Mediterranean Province; Wieslaw Chojnowsk, OMI, Poland Province and Witalij Podolan, OMI Ukraine Delegation Superior.  

Representing the USP were Rocky Grimard, OMI Assistant Treasurer and Artie Pingolt from the Missionary Oblate Partnership. Local Oblate hosts, Dick Sudlik, OMI and Hank Lemoncelli, OMI. Provided an exceptional service and a warm welcome to the group.


ZOOM with Father GeneralFr. Chicho (Luis Ignaciio Rois Alonso, OMI) set the tone for the conference by addressing the group on its first day of meeting.  Central to his message was a repeated exhortation

Funding Disparities: Presentation by Rensburg and Etchart highlighting significant disparities in funding among OMI units around the world.  Several countries appear well-funded while others receive little support from GOF donor units.  Rensburg asked the various GOF donor countries to consider modifying funding priorities to address these disparities.

GOF Significance:  Rensburg also indicated that support from GOF donor countries is not only helpful, but it is vital to the Congregation, stating the General Administration does not have the resources to maintain mission units without the annual support the GOF provides.

Ukraine Situation:  the Ukraine Delegation Superior gave a heartfelt presentation acknowledging the courage and persistence of the Ukrainian people in their struggle against Russia and also detailed several pastoral and human development projects addressing Ukrainians still in the country that Oblates minister to.

Artificial Intelligence:   The General Administration’s Bonga Majola Thamsanqa, OMI presented both the strengths and potential dangers of engaging in the use of artificial intelligence.  Some GOF units have used Chat GPT in basic analytics and writing.

Capacity-building of developing units:  the US Province, through OST’s Mission Project Service outreach, offered the General Administration free copies of its hardbound Funding Guide (in French, Spanish and English) as well as free access to its digital training course Grant Writing 101.  Artie Pingolt pointed out that over 1000 Catholic sisters around the world have already taken the course, launched in early 2024.

The GOF will meet in person again in 2026, in Rome.  Of note and as a sign of progress in sustainability success, two other OMI units- Brazil and Mexico- may be invited to attend as fellow donor-countries of the GOF.