Category Archives: News

Feast of Saint Eugene de Mazenod

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This year, since May 21 fell on Whit Monday, it was on Friday, May 25th that the Mazenodian family was invited to celebrate Saint Eugene de Mazenod with the Community of the Oblates of Aix. At the beginning of the Eucharistic celebration, the faithful listened attentively and emotionally to the account of the last moments of the life of the Founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

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The words of Scripture and the songs heard during the Mass all evoked Saint Eugene, his charism and the mission of his spiritual sons:

“To be the humble sign among men
And to reveal the Father’s Love,
You showed the way to the Kingdom
To the little ones of this earth “(Ps 95).

Then the many participants gathered in the cloister around the entire community of Aix.
The Oblates of the Mazenod Experience from all over the world were present, as well as Oblates from the community of Marseille.

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For the first time, lay people from the parish of Fuveau and one of their priests were present for this festive evening. The Mazenodian family is growing!
Fr. BONGA recalled the message of St. Eugene on charity and the heart of everyone’s mission: to make Jesus Christ known.

Then, the members of the Mazenodian family, the young Mazenodians, and the young people of the Frat, spoke about their experience with the community and within this Mazenodian family: the welcome, the simplicity and the humility of the members of the community, the serenity of this house, the love for one another that shines through, the faith in the service of others, the meeting of different cultures … so many precious gifts drawn from the Oblate charism and highlighted by the speakers!

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The evening, enlivened by international songs, continued with a great barbecue that delighted all the members of this beautiful Mazenodian family.

Chantal BERNARD-BRET

Category: Mazenodian family, News

45th De Mazenod Experience

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Twelve Oblates from 8 different nationalities are currently participating in the De Mazenod Experience that is being given in French. This session is taking place in the birthplace of the Congregation and is led by three Oblates: Joseph Bois and Asodo Istoyo (Aix-en-Provence) and Ron LaFramboise (San Antonio in the United States).

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The De Mazenod Experience is a renewal program whose purpose is to enable the participants to look at their experience of the Oblate charism as it is lived in their daily missionary life. The experience takes place in an atmosphere of prayer, reflection and fraternal sharing. Important moments of the Experience are the pilgrimages to the significant places of the foundation: Aix-en-Provence, the first missions preached by the Missionaries of Provence, the tomb of the Founder in Marseille. The highlight of the program is the two-week silent retreat according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius that is held in a monastery.

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It was the 1986 General Chapter that gave birth to the spiritual renewal program called the De Mazenod Experience and choose Aix-en-Provence as its location. The first of 45 Experiences to date was in 1990. Nearly 620 Oblates have participated in this program. September 12 the English Experience will begin.

Krzysztof ZIELENDA, OMI

Patrick’s Oblation

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If one can assimilate “oblation” and “offering”, the word “Oblate” designates the one offered to God. Oblation is therefore a consecration. On the Sunday of the Holy Trinity, Patrick VEY, Oblate scholastic in internship at Aix Community, renewed his oblation. He made the gift of himself. He therefore devoted himself to God to be in the world a sign of his love.

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Oblation is a commitment of faith and love expressed publicly. The renewal of Patrick’s oblation was made at the Mission Church in Aix, in front of Father Paolo ARCHIATI, Vicar of the Superior General and in the presence of many Oblates and faithful. During this celebration, Patrick delivered his testimony on the discovery of the call to missionary life and his vocational stages in Germany, Italy and France.

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After his year-long internship in Aix, Patrick returned to Italy in order to continue his formation in the missionary life by studying canon law. We hope that his final commitment will be made soonly in a few months. His formation for priesthood will end with the diaconate and priestly ordination. The Missioning will follow.

Krzysztof ZIELENDA, OMI

Category: Community, News

Parcours-Mission

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The “Parcours-Mission” is a proposal of the Oblate community of Chavril in Lyon. It consists of 3 weekends meant to bring together young people seeking meaning in their lives and their place in the Church and the world. The third weekend of this year took place in Aix.

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To deepen our relationship with Christ we spent four days together from Ascension Thursday to the following Sunday. The reflection on mission in Oblate spirituality had for its source the words from the Gospel of St. Mark: “To be with… and to be sent…” (Mark 3,14).

The reflection was enriched by various talks given by Oblates: Mission in the New Testament, the Eucharist in the life of Saint Eugene de Mazenod, Mission and internationality and finally Evangelization.

Since the main theme of these days was Mission, we had to challenge our talents by organizing the Ascension Thursday Mass and a prayer vigil on Saturday evening, which was highly appreciated by all participants.

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We certainly did not miss moments of deepening our friendship and exchange between us, while visiting the city of Aix in the footsteps of Saint Eugene.

On Friday afternoon we attended Mass at Montperrin, the psychiatric hospital of Aix. During the visit we followed a well-prepared presentation on the mission of the chaplaincy. Before and after the celebration we were able to exchange with some patients of the hospital.

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With this 3rd weekend we concluded the Parcours-Mission 2017-2018. The next edition is already in preparation. It is a beautiful experience for all young people who wish to know and experience Oblate spirituality in their daily lives.

Patrick VEY, OMI

Category: News

A day of prayer of the Fraternity Mazenodienne

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On Sunday May 5th, 2018, The Frat’s (University Students who lodge in the Oblate Community of Aix) garhered for a day of prayer. The day was for prayer as well as for the evaluation of our fraternity along this year. This moment was deeply appreciated.

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Mario shares here his experience og that day: “The Frat’s has lived a day of recollection and a day of evaluating our objectives of living in the fraternity, set at the beginning of the year. It was accompanied by the Word of God in the biblical text of the Burning Bush. We had truly an encounter with God who remains faithful to us in any situation of each of us. We, then, should remain faithful to him too, despite the reality that our life is like a combat. Thanks to all for this wonderful day and I wish you a good continuation on walking in the path of faith »

Mario REQUENA

Category: News

Les Mazenodiens in Luberon

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Sunday, April 22, twelve members of the youth group Les Mazenodiens (students and young adults close to the Oblates) went to Luberon for a day combining spiritual, relaxation and conviviality.

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In the morning, we visited the Castle of Ansouis, where we were welcomed with open arms by the proprietors of the Castle and their friends. Bonga celebrated Mass in the chapel of the Castle. It was a special moment for everyone present: what an emotion to feel the rich history of these places!

After a picnic near the Castle of Lourmarin, we went to Notre-Dame de Lumières, place of Marian apparition in the seventeenth century, run by the Oblates. We prayed the rosary in the crypt, and the Oblates ministering in the sanctuary gave us a guided tour.

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We then took the road towards the Abbey, Saint-Hilaire then to Gordes, where we struggled to find a place to park our cars! Some of us went directly to the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Sénanque, and others joined the group later.

At Sénanque, we attended Vespers and took part in a time of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. A beautiful way to conclude this day of prayer and Mazenodian fraternity, with profound gratitude to the Lord.

Maxime BOEUF

Category: News

Community News – April 2018

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Spring has arrived and there are already many people on Cours Mirabeau. Here are some updates from our community, to invite you to rejoice with us in all the wonders that the Lord accomplishes.

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Our community retreat at the Xavières Sisters retreat centre at La Pourraque was a happy time of conversion. At the beginning of December, we welcomed Father Mario BRANDI who knew the house for having stayed here almost a year, two years ago. He had been recalled to Cameroon for a year and, on his return, Father General sent him to our community. So, we are six, seven with Patrick, a scholastic on regency, who will leave us at the end of August.

Father Bonga took a month’s vacation home in South Africa and in January-February it was Fr. Asodo’s turn to see his country again; where he combined business with pleasure by taking some time for personal formation… Jo Bois went to join him in Indonesia for three weeks, a vacation offered as a gift by a faithful from that country, on the occasion of his 50th ordinaton anniversary. A very nice present for Jo!

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The community also had a nice weekend in Palermo, invited by lay people from there, many of whom had previously made a trip to Aix. We were able to get to know this city where our Founder stayed for two years during his exile.

During Lent, as every year, groups of Christians gathered to meditate and pray the Sunday Gospels. For the end of Holy Week, we proposed a retreat in silence. A dozen people participated. And on Easter day, at noon, we were able to share the joy of the Resurrection together.

Joseph BOIS, OMI

Category: Community, News

In the footsteps of St. Eugene de Mazenod in Palermo

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Last March, the community of Aix, invited by a group of lay people from Misilmeri, made a pilgrimage to discover in Palermo the places where Saint Eugene de Mazenod lived. He arrived there on January 6, 1799, and spent his last four years of exile in Italy.

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The palaces of Branciforte, Ventimiglia, Butera, the quarter of Tanners, the quarter Kalsa, the Church of Saint Ignatius in Olivella, the cathedral and so many other places make the stages of a route traveled in two days. With the texts of Saint Eugene on hand, the Oblates of Aix, guided by Ileana CHINNICI and Vincenzo DAVID, discovered these magnificent places and the events of their Founder’s life. Without a doubt, St. Eugene’s stay in Palermo has inspired many of his future choices.

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The pilgrimage to Palermo was also marked by the fraternal welcome and friendly encounters around Sicilian meals with the lay group of Misilmeri. The group of passionate hearts of Saint Eugene welcomes with joy those who want to walk in the footsteps of the Oblate Founder in Palermo.

During the stay in Palermo, the Oblates of Aix were able to participate in the Mass celebrated on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the independence of Mauritius. The pastoral care of emigrants is part of the mission of the Oblates of this city.

Krzysztof ZIELENDA, OMI

Category: Community, News

Trip to the Czech Republic

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Our youth group, “Les Mazenodiens”, from Lyon and Aix, accompanied by Bonga and Patrick, travelled to the Czech Republic from 24 to 27 February 2018. The main purpose of the trip was to discover the reality of the Church in that country and the mission of the Oblates as well as to meet young people who minister with the Oblates.

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There are two Oblate communities in Czechia one in Plasy and another one in Tabor. The territories in which Oblates minister are very broad. Currently, only about 11% of the Czech population is Christian. It is interesting to note that even if there aren’t many Christians in Czechia however, traces of Christianity can be found everywhere: Old churches, buildings that belonged to the Church, statues of saints, chapels, crosses in the cemeteries, etc. The country experienced a first anti-Catholic wave after the first world war when the monarchy was overthrown. A second wave of anti-Catholic was during the Communist regime which lasted for more than 50 years. As a result, today almost 80% of the Czech population claim to be atheist.

This moving and painful history of Catholicism is visible: a lot of churches and buildings are in a very bad condition. But the hope of a resurgent religiosity is also visible, evidenced by the joy with which young people and the Oblates, in particular, live their faith and their mission of evangelization.

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We were received with great hospitality and generosity. The sharing of personal experiences, community prayer and the celebration of the Eucharist brought to us all, great joy and encouragement. With great fidelity, Christians in Czechia seek to be a sign of the presence of God in the midst of a society that seems to care less about the faith.

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During our stay we attended a lovely evening prayer of praise and worship, we also had Sunday mass with the faithful of the Oblate parish in Plasy. The next day we celebrated the Eucharist with the homeless in Plzeň; the extremely cold weather made the distribution of soup even more touching. We then visited the second Oblate community ministering at the Marian shrine in Tabor. Enriched by everything we lived and experienced, we returned to France with the certainty that this journey will bear abundant fruit in our daily lives.

Patrick VEY, OMI

Category: News

The Encounter of the Mazenodian Family – February, 2018

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On Saturday, February 17, 2018, the Missionary Oblates of Aix-en-Provence invited the members of the Mazenodian Family to celebrate with them the 192nd anniversary of the approval by Pope Leo XII of the Constitutions and Rules of the Congregation.

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After reciting Psalm 102, Bonga MAJOLA and Patrick VEY offered the participants a presentation of the essential points contained in the Oblate Rules and the different dimensions of the mission of the Oblates. From the presentation of these two Oblates, certain aspects have been the focus of attention: the Constitutions and Rules were born in prayer and all the spirituality of the Missionary Oblates is in it. This Rules that every Oblate has “in mind and heart” is at the same time:
-a point of reference on which the identity of the family members depends,
-a source of deepening of the Charism,
-a reflection of the Gospel that helps to understand the requirements,
-a concrete way to discern the will of God,
-a means of renewal of individuals and communities.
In reality: “the whole life of an Oblate”!

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The Founder’s goal was to unite the Oblates into a society in which they would become holy missionaries and engage in the service of the poor.
Today, the poor have newmultiple faces: broken families, imigration, spiritual struggle …
The two essential dimensions of the mission of the Oblates are the urgent need to evangelize and become saints, true disciples of Jesus Christ.
It is to this same mission that the Mazenodian family is associated.
Together, we are invited to bring these intentions into prayer.

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The participants, then gathered in the chapel of the first vows, lived an intense moment of prayer: the Oblates present renewed their vows.
The evening was concluded with a warm time of sharing and friendship in the Mazenod Room.

In this year of prayer for Oblate vocations, the Community proposes a time of silent prayer every first Thursday of the month at 8:30 pm in the Oblates’ chapel, it also proposes the recitation of the rosary at the tomb of Saint Eugene de Mazenod, at the cathedral from Major to Marseille at 15h on the 4th of each month.

The next  appointment will be on September 22, 2018 at Saint Laurent du Verdon, where Eugene de Mazenod wrote the Constitutions and Rules, 200 years ago, in September 1818.

Chantal BERNARD-BRET

Category: Mazenodian family, News