From Reflection to Action: Oblates Plan for 200th Anniversary Celebrations

Originally Published on OMIWORLD.ORG

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From June 16 to 30, 2024, seventeen Oblates and a Lay Associate from five regions gathered in Aix-en-Provence for a meeting focused on the Constitutions and Rules. This meeting was part of the 37th General Chapter’s mandate to deepen the understanding and animation of our Book of Life.

The session wrapped up with a Sunday Mass at 11 AM in the Church of the Mission, presided by Fr. Luc TARDIF. He described the two-week gathering as a collaborative journey, emphasizing the importance of coming together to share ideas and develop strategies to inspire the Oblate community worldwide. “We came together to discuss, discern, and plan ways to bring hope and unity to our divided world,” Fr. Luc noted.

The primary objective was to prepare for the 200th anniversary of the Papal Approbation of the Constitutions and Rules. Participants engaged in presentations and group work, aiming to create engaging and effective animations for the entire congregation.

This session was not just about work; it was a chance for participants to connect on a deeper level. They listened to each other, shared experiences, and built a sense of community. The focus was on both being present and taking action—forming a cohesive group dedicated to a common mission.

The proposed animations are tailored for various members of the Oblate family, including Oblates, lay associates, and youth. These tools can be adapted to fit the unique cultural and historical contexts of different regions, ensuring they meet local needs.

One highlight of the session was a reflection on the final days of St. Eugene de Mazenod, the Founder of the Oblates. This story highlights the enduring values and mission of the Oblate community:
“Fr. Tempier informed Eugene de Mazenod that the end was near, and he should prepare for his final journey. Eugene joined his hands and, with profound faith, offered his life to God. Even in his frailty, he blessed all his Oblates with the Crucifix, expressing his joy and gratitude for being chosen to found the Congregation. His last words were a testament to his enduring happiness and dedication: ‘Tell them that I die happy… that I die happy that the good Lord has deigned to choose me to found in the Church the Congregation of the Oblates.’” (An extract from the Oblate Breviary, “Nihil linquendum inausum,” May 21)

The session in Aix-en-Provence reinforced the participants’ pride and gratitude for being part of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. They leave with renewed inspiration and practical tools to animate their communities, continuing the mission of unity and hope that defines the Oblate family.