Category Archives: News

Perpetual vows of Patrick

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Patrick VEY took his perpetual vows on Sunday, April 28, in Hünfeld, Germany. Perpetual vows is the final commitment to the consecrated and missionary life in the Congregation.

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Patrick began his formation in missionary life in Germany, his native country. Then, he continued his studies in theology in Italy. Last year, he did an internship in the community of Aix-en-Provence. He is currently studying for a degree in Canon Law at the Lateran University.

Let us wish him for many graces for his studies and his missionary life.
May Blessed Virgin Mary be for him as an example for his oblation.

Krzysztof ZIELENDA, OMI

Category: Community, News

Community Trip to Poland

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Next year, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Poland will celebrate the 100th anniversary of their presence. This Oblate unit is now one of the largest in the world. Out of 960 Oblates in Europe more than 300 are Polish. The community of Aix made a trip to Poland to discover this country both near and far.

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The journey began at the foot of the cross in front of the Oblates’ church in Katowice which recalls the crosses of the parish missions erected by the Oblates throughout the land of Provence. Christ on the cross whose legs had just been broken by a vandal was the object of an affectionate worship of the many passers-by.

The first day consisted of two essential parts. In the morning we visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps where more than one million and one hundred thousand men, women and children died during the Second World War. Of all victims, 90% were Jewish. In the evening, in the other hand, we celebrated Mass at the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Krakow, measuring how much God’s mercy is indispensable.

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The second day was consecrated essentially for a pilgrimage to the Częstochowa Sanctuary. We saw so many students of the last-year class, because traditionally, the months of March and April are a period where the terminals come to confide to the Blessed Virgin Mary before passing their final examination of the high school.

The third day was a trip to encounter the scholastics and their formators at the Obra Scholasticate. This house of formation which has more than forty young Oblates is one of the largest in the entire Congregation.

The old town of Krakow with its many churches and the Royal Castle was the last place visited before our return to France.

Krzysztof ZIELENDA, OMI

Category: Community, News

The Evaluation on the De Mazenod Experience

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Frs. Paolo ARCHIATI, Cornelius NGOKA and Antoni BOCHM, from the General Administration, came to Aix to make an evaluation on the program of the De Mazenod Experience (DMX) with the whole community of Aix. One of the questions came up during the evaluation was the follow-up of the participants after their return to the mission. For the community of Aix it was also the time of review of what the animators lived in the animation and the accompaniment of the participants.

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The DMX is a two-month renewal program that aims to give participants a time to re-read their experience of the Oblate Charism in their daily missionary life. The experience takes place in an atmosphere of prayer, reflection and fraternal sharing. In this program, the highlight is two weeks of silent retreat according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius which usually takes place in a monastery.

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So far, there are 730 Oblates who have participated in 52 Experiences organized in Aix.The DMX are usually given in English, French or Spanish. However there were also DMX given in other languages: once in German, and twice in Polish.

For this year, the upcoming DMX in English will start on April 24 and another one in Spanish on September 15.

Krzysztof ZIELENDA, OMI

Celebration of February 17, 2019

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On February 15 (because the date of February 17 falling on Sunday), the Oblate Community of the Mother House, all united and surrounded by Fr. Jerome Velichor, the archivist at the General House, as well as many members of the Mazenodian family, celebrated in the Church of the Mission the 193rd anniversary of the recognition of the Congregation by Pope Leo XII.

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The sharing time began with a Thanksgiving Mass presided over by Superior Krzysztof Zielenda and followed by the renewal of vows.

At the end of the celebration, everyone gathered in the Suzanne room to discuss topics related to Mazenodian life. This time was first allowed Brother Benoit to take a package of answers for the second questionnaire distributed in December: even everyone did in their own way,but all those who responded said they were aware of to be called by Christ and showed by their testimonies that they live the Charism of Saint Eugene without being aware of it.

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One by one they shared their experience in some different groups or service in the life the community of Aix: Fraternity group, the Lenten and Advent Faith-sharing, the Sextius-Mirabeau, Lectio Divina, Animators of the Chants, Readers for Mass , Accountancy, and Reception. This part ended with a song to the Virgin Mary and concluded with the the prayer before meal.

Finally, all of them found themselves, as usual, around a meal shared from what everyone had brought in the atmosphere of great and warm fraternity.

Gérard SOLDAΪNI

Category: Mazenodian family, News

The life of the community in Aix

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The latest news from the life of our community was posted several months ago and it will thus be difficult to share all that we have experienced since last summer!

In front of the Founder's tomb

In front of the Founder’s tomb

If we focus on major events, it is important to mention the de Mazenod Experience held in French, with Asodo and Joseph Bois as the principal facilitators and Ronald La Framboise.
The months of July and August were filled with a session for the leaders of the Noviciate of the whole Congregation, after which, like every year, there was a session of Scholastics from Europe and North America who are preparing themselves for perpetual engagement.
Another de Mazenod Experience, this time in English, has started mid-September, led by Bonga and Asodo as well as Father Tony Rigoli from USA.

De Mazenod Experience in French

De Mazenod Experience in French

At the end of November, for our community members and several lay people, we had organized a short session about “interculturalism,” a reality which we face in many of our communities, such as our society.
Throughout the year consecrated to Oblate vocations, we had held this intention in our prayers. Each month, several members of the community and the Mazenodian Family gathered around the tomb of Saint Eugene de maze nod in Marseille to pray the rosary in this intention.

In Saint Laurent du Verdon

In Saint Laurent du Verdon

Finally, we can not forget the beautiful feast that we had organized on the 22nd of September in Saint Laurent du Verdon, in the vicinity of the castle which had once belonged to the de Mazenod family. It was in this castle, in September 1818, that Saint Eugene de Mazenod had written the first Rules of the lives of the “Missionaries of Provence” with two of his companions.
The Father General, Louis Lougen, had come for this occasion, along with other Oblates and about fifty lay people from the de Mazenod Family. We celebrated mass in the little village church and blessed the plate on the church wall to commemorate this important event.

Joseph BOIS, OMI

Category: Community, News

What is the definition of the Mazenodian family?

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The Mazenodian Family, according to Father Frank SANTUCCI, an expert in the Oblatology, is made up of lay people, religious or priests called, each in their own way, by Jesus Christ Savior and united in apostolic community so as to live the charism of Eugene de Mazenod to evangelize those who are the most abandoned.

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On December 8, the Mazenodian Family of Aix-en-Provence met to celebrate Mary Immaculate, patroness of the Oblates. During the meeting that took place after the Mass and at which many members of the Family participated, a questionnaire was presented to them. It consisted three parts whose key words are: Christ, community and mission.

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« Follow me ! » (John 1,43)
The personal call to follow Christ is initiated by Jesus himself.
Am I aware of being called by Christ?
How did this call manifest itself to me, in me?

« You are all members of the same body » (Oblate Writing I,1)
Form the community following the example of the apostles because one is not holy without the others, without receiving the others.
Am I aware that the Mazenodian family is a community of called of Christ?
How does this community help me to live my faith?

« Our mission is to make men reasonable, then Christian, and finally to help them become saints » (Rule 1818)
Am I aware that St. Eugene’s missionary project can be mine?
How am I ready to manifest it in my living environment?

The community of Christ with his Apostles is the model of the Mazenodian family. The path to sanctification and the effectiveness of the mission is rooted in it.

Krzysztof ZIELENDA, OMI

Category: Mazenodian family, News

De Mazenod Experience

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Fr. James Ralston OMI from Johannesburg, South Africa (OMISA), recently participated in the De Mazenod Experience, he shares with us what this Experience meant for him.

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“In this, the year of my 25th anniversary of religious vows, I felt it pertinent to spend some quality time in reflection and revitalisation, so I applied to participate in the De Mazenod Experience. The 21 years since ordination have been spent in Formation as a treasurer for 8 years and the balance in parish ministry.

Coming on the De Mazenod Experience has been the realisation of a long-held desire. From the very moment I set foot on Aix-en-Provence I have experienced an emotion not experienced for ages. Being within the walls of where the Congregation began; being in the city where the Founder was born and visiting the places and sites of significance to the Oblates has brought a whole new reality to my life as an Oblate of Mary Immaculate.

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The time spent listening and reading about St. Eugène and the early Oblates, their experiences and their drive, enkindled in me a renewed enthusiasm and determination to bring to life what I have learnt, to bear fruit on my future life and ministry, not without its challenges and demands, but with a revitalised view of the commencement of the Oblates.

The retreat spent at Notre Dame de Vie outside of St. Didier was grace-filled and wonderful experiencing both extremes of tears, for joy and from frustration. The mere fact of being guided through the meditation with frequent encouragement permitted me to open my heart to the working of the Holy Spirit and to be able to view myself and my spiritual journey on a more positive light, this making me more responsive to God’s work in my life.

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My feelings of gratitude are beyond words, but not beyond how I intend to express them in my ministry and my life. My sincere thanks to God and all those who have made this De Mazenod Experience what it proved to be for me. I quote from my journal notes, “Should I begin to rationalise, I can see no logical reason why he (God) should have remained at my side as my protector, except the fact that he loved me to life and therefore continues to love me, even though there remain occasions of ingratitude in my life.”

I return to parish ministry, and a new obedience, filled with fresh zeal and an enlightened view on life and mission.”

James Ralston OMI

The De Mazenod Experience and My Encounter with Jesus

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At the beginning, this De Mazenod Experience (DMX) was not my priority. I came to this DMX because I wanted to know the spirituality of St. Eugene, but without any excitement. What made me so exited most was my plan to walk the Camino de Santiago, prior to the DMX. After the Camino, then I would joint the DMX.

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But now I could say that this DMX is the best gift from God that I can not be grateful enough. I received many blessings from this Experience. All my questions, mostly spiritual questions were answered. I know much better who St. Eugene is, and this is more important, I fall in love with him again. His spiritual life became an inspiration for me to live out my own. Knowing and loving him help me to see clearly my identity as an Oblate. I know where I am going. It guves me a meaningful life. I feel so grateful to the call of my Oblate life. As an Oblate I am connected to such a great history of St. Eugene and of the Oblate Family. Those are the graces that I never imagined before.

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This DMX also give me an experience of encountering Jesus in a very intimate way. He loves me beyond my sinfullness. He calls me to live in an united live with Him. He always look for me to forgive my sins so that I can live in Him and He lives in me. He never leaves me. He shows me the way to live my life according to His will. He makes me understand how to love Him and live my life happilly.

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Now I live my life full of gratitude, love and joy. I will live my life as an Oblate faithfuly. I will follow the Constitutions and Rules without any excuses. I will give all my life to Jesus through prayers, reflection, study and mission. I will give my whole life for the sake of the Church’s mission, through the Congregation with the heart full of gratitude. I will invite my brothers Oblate to live as an Oblate in accordance to the dream of St. Eugene. I also want to be the witness of St Eugene ‘s charism to many people by choosing the most powerless, simple and less publication acts. I will leave nothing undared.

In Jedus’ and Mary’s name

Antonius Radjabana OMI

De Mazenod Experience in 2019

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In 2019, there will be two De Mazenod Experience in Aix; each lasting two months. The first is for English-speaking Oblates that will begin on April 24. The second is for the Spanish-speaking Oblates that will begin on September 11th.

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The De Mazenod Experience is a renewal program that gives participants a re-reading of their experience of the Oblate Charism. The Experience takes place in an atmosphere of prayer and reflection. Fraternal sharing is an important dimension of this session.

During the Experience the participants make pilgrimages to the significant places of the foundation: Aix-en-Provence, Saint-Laurent du Verdon, first missions preached by the Missionaries of Provence as well as pilgrimage to the tomb of the Founder in Marseille. They also make two weeks of silent retreat according to the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius.

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The second De Meazenod Experience for the year 2018 is about to end. It is done in English. There are 16 Oblates from 9 nationalities live this experience. Fathers Asodo and Bonga, of the community of Aix, and Father Tony RIGOLI, of the United States, animate this session.

We wish the Oblates welcomed among us having a true spiritual renewal.

Gérard SOLDAINI

Why do the Oblates come to Saint-Laurent du Verdon?

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Saint-Laurent du Verdon is a small village located in the department of Alpes de Haute Provence. The people of St. Laurent have the joy of welcoming many visitors, including Oblates from all continents.

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At least three times during the year, Oblates come to this small village of about fifty inhabitants, to celebrate Mass and visit the castle. It is a pilgrimage in the footsteps of Saint Eugene de Mazenod.

It was in September 1818 that he went to St. Laurent du Verdon, in the family castle, to write the Rule of life of the Missionaries of Provence, his new-born community, later became Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

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On Saturday, September 22, 2018, the Oblates celebrated the bicentenary of this Rule. About sixty lays members of the Mazenodian Family, thirty Oblates, and in the presence of Fr. Louis LOUGEN, the Superior General of the Oblates, gave thanks to God for the gift of religious life and inaugurated a commemorative plaque for the writing of the Rule of Life. The celebration ended with a picnic in the garden of the castle. It was, then, followed with a visit to the castle organized and guided by the owners of the castle. They, the owners are almost all of them from Great Britain. They are so kind and welcoming! They are good friends of the Oblates.

Krzysztof ZIELENDA, OMI

Category: Mazenodian family, News