Category Archives: News

News from the CIEM community

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The end of the year 2017 is already on the horizon and we come to share with you some recent months’ activities of our community and the Eugene de Mazenod International Centre.

Since Easter, we have had four major sessions: two “De Mazenod Experiences”, one after Easter, in English, and another one in Spanish is currently underway, with Oblates mostly from South America as participants. During the months of July and August, three important groups followed one another: the annual 3-week Scholastics Summer Session, mainly for Scholastics preparing for Final Vows. Then a week with 45 young people who collaborate with Oblates in Youth ministry, from different European countries (GECO). And then a retreat of 20 Italian lay associates, members of the Missionary Association of Mary Immaculate (AMMI). The month of August ended with the annual retreat of the general administration (Father General and his 11 councillors and secretary).

GECO 2017

GECO 2017

Three community members of European origin have managed, with great difficulty, to take a few days off. For the other two (BONGA and ASODO), it will be in December and early next year, respectively.

Fr. BONGA, who finished his training in Lyon in June, left in mid-September for Canada and England to preach retreats. He’s been back, a week ago, and our community is complete again.

Fr. Roberto VILLA, who had come to replace BONGA, returned to his country, Italy, and is now responsible for the community of Vercelli.

In September we welcomed Patrick VEY, a Scholastic from the Central European Province, he is in Aix for his year of Regency.

The community during the recollection in Sufferchoix

The community during the recollection in Sufferchoix

Without mentioning all the visits, more or less long, numerous and varied. With the month of September, the “ordinary” activities have begun: the reception of 12 students, the groups of young or old who collaborate with us and all the activities related to our chapel.

At the end of November, we will all go away for our annual retreat, a week of Spiritual Exercises at a retreat house not too far from here.

We wish you a good and beautiful end of the year.

Joseph BOIS, OMI

Category: Community, News

International Day of the Rejection of Misery

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The Eugene de Mazenod International Centre has joined forces with those who fight poverty, ensuring that the dignity and rights of every human person are respected. “We will always be close to the people with whom we work, taking into account their values and aspirations.” (Constitution no.8 of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.)

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In line with our Constitutions and Rules, and following the 2016 General Chapter which invited us to review our mission by giving priority to the new faces of the poor, the Eugene de Mazenod International Centre joined the 30th day for the refusal of misery initiated by ATD Fourth World. Since 1992, the plea launched by Father Wresinski, founder of ATD Fourth World: “Where men are condemned to live in misery, human rights are violated. To unite so ensure that human rights are respected is a sacred duty.” The UN General Assembly adopted this plea, consequently proclaiming October 17 The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

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In the city of Aix-en-Provence, almost 10 years ago, a cooperative movement was born to remind us that poverty is on our doorstep and that we had to fight, all of us, to avoid descent to misery. Today, in France, there are more than 9 million poor people and 2 million of them live on less than 500 € per month. This poverty is at the origin of the descent towards exclusion (inadequate housing, school failure, health care, unemployment).

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This year, in Aix, the cooperative movement decided to move October 17 to Saturday, October 21 so as to reach more people and to raise awareness among them to this cause. In fact, the day before, the film “MAKALA” by Emmanuel Gras, followed by a debate; officially opened the October 21 program. The film revealed how, through simple commitments, people have shown their willingness to roll back poverty related discrimination and reminded everyone that anyone can bring something to society. The students of Célony High School took care of all the communication, the day was animated by various choirs and musical groups and by the organ of Barbarism of the Companions of Emmaus. It was a beautiful day of conviviality, with a large number of interested people, thanks to the mobilization capacity of the cooperative movement “October 17″: ATD Fourth World, Amnesty International, Secours Catholique, Unicef, etc.

“Misery is not a fate, it is the work of men and only men can destroy it.” Joseph Wresinski.

Benoît DOSQUET, OMI

Category: Mission, News

The Entry – Wekeend of the Fraternity Mazenodienne

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On September 8-10th,  the Frat-Mazenodienne gathered: Charlie, Clement, Clovis, Marie, Astrid, Martin, Mario, Agathe, Maxime, Camille, Vital, and Mary accompanied by Fathers Asodo, Krzysztof. and  Benoît, as well as an oblate scholastic, Patrick who just arrived in Aix.

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On Friday evening, the Community of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and we, the students of the “Frat” had found ourselves around a festive and friendly meal. It was the beginning of a weekend, which is rich in meetings and prayers.

We had the joy of discovering the charism of the Oblates, their history, and their place of life. The missionaries made us visit their house, the “Holy Land” of the Oblates, a former Carmelites convent where the history of the missionaries all begin. Thanks to their founding Father, Saint Eugene de Mazenod.

The Oblate charism is now spread all over the world, and we are lucky to discover it this year and to share it with them, in particulalry with the Spanish- speaking Oblates who have sessions here for two month. they are from all over Latin America!

The two highlights of the weekend are the opportunity to reflect on our spiritual expectations and the prayer. Prayer has brought us together, helped us to know each other as well as to discover the talents of each one!

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On Saturday night, we joined the group of the Mazenodians, a youth group who live the Oblate Charism. Five of them had met since Saturday morning in order to prepare their commintment.

On Sunday, the Frats and the Mazenodians animated the Mass, during which the choir was accompanied by Clovis with his guitar and Agathe with her flute! During this celebration, the five Mazenodians committed themselves for a year to live the Oblate charism. The Eucharist ended with a blessing for the Frats for the academic year that commence.

After an excellent aperitif on the church square, we closed this weekend with a good meal!

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We wish that by living in a fraternity we will be rich in encounters, in high moments, and in fully joy, which is animated by our faith.

Marie DELORT

Category: News

Commitment of The Mazenodiens

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During the weekend of September 9, the Mazenodians made their comeback by doing sharing and preparation for the animation of the Sunday Mass where the five of us made the promise.

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Sophie, Thibault, Jean-Baptiste, Maxime and Astrid, after a time of discernment and prayer, made the promise before God to serve the community of missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate for a year by deepening their faith, participating in the mission and living according to the spirituality of Saint Eugene de Mazenod:

« In the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the presence of the Holy Trinity, the Blessed Virgin Mary. I, passionate by Christ, by the Church and its mission, commit myself to participate in the missionary mission of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate for one year, to live according to the spirituality of Saint Eugene de Mazenod, to deepen my relationship with Christ in prayer and service to the poor, so that my testimony of life helps to discover God present in this world. I make this commitment to the community of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate of Aix-en-Provence, asking for the help of God, under the patronage of Mary Immaculate. So God help me. Amen »

The Oblates of Aix en Provence will accompany the Mazenodians during this year by organizing the various activities of the group.

Astrid Rousseau

Category: News

The De Mazenod Experience in Spanish

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On September 13th, the De Mazenod Experience began with 16 Oblates from the Spanish-speaking countries. The session is animated by three Fathers: Chicho ROIS (Western Sahara), Domenico DI MEO (Italy) and Omar FRIEDRICH (Argentina). The thirteen participants are from Spain, USA, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Brazil and Guatemala.

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The De Mazenod Experience is a renewal program designed to allow participants to re-read their experience of the Oblate Charism in their daily missionary lives.

The primary objectives of the Experience are: ongoing formation, renewal of the Oblate vocation, reflection on the lived experience of the Charism, deepening of the Oblate Charism in one’s own life, as well as to deeper understanding of the Founder and personal conversion. The experience takes place in an atmosphere of prayer, reflection and fraternal sharing.

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The important moments of the Experiment are the pilgrimages to the significant sites of the foundation: Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, the first missions preached by the Missionaries of Provence, pilgrimage to the tomb of the Founder.

In this program, one other strong moment is the two weeks of silent retreat following the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius.

Krzysztof ZIELENDA, OMI

Retreat of the General Administration

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This year, CIEM summer activities culminated in the retreat of the General Administration community. It was given by Father Frank SANTUCCI.

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It was with a great joy that the Oblates of Aix-en-Provence welcomed the community of the General Administration who took a time of prayer before resuming the activities scheduled for the autumn. This retreat gave us, the community of Aix, an opportunity to meet the new administration, to share together a time of fraternity in prayer and recreation.

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The retreat master, Fr. SANTUCCI, was a former member of the community of Aix-en-Provence who currently teaches at the Oblate School of Oblate Studies at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. This chair was founded to study and promote the charism of the Oblates.

Krzysztof ZIELENDA, OMI

Category: News

AMMI Retreat

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“Give us a part of your mind!” It is the theme of the retreat that the 20 Italian laity of the AMMI (Missionary Association of Maria Immaculate), accompanied by two Oblate fathers from the Mediterranean Province, did in Aix-en-Provence on August 23-27.

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With a strong desire to confirm, once again, their adherence to the Oblate charism, the participants of the retreat made an encounter in places that were dear to Saint Eugene de Mazenod. The house of the foundation where St. Eugene lived and his writings re-read during the retreat made him alive and renewed in the participants the awareness of what has always fascinated them in this saint.

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The beauty of the city, the warm welcome of the Oblates of the Aix community, fathers and brothers, the competence of the Father BONGA, his ability to transmit knowledge and testimony of life, those all that made this unforgettable retreat that left in the heart of all the strong desire to receive again “a part of the spirit” of Saint Eugene. Many religious and lay people together with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the first guardians of the charism of Saint Eugene, have the desire to communicate this spirit to all the people of this world.

Marina Falcone – AMMI

Category: Mission, News

GECO 2017

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GECO is the Italian name given to European youth with a desire to share the Oblate charism. Every two years they reunite in Aix-en-Provence to follow in the steps of Saint Eugene de Mazenod and discover in more depth the spirituality of the Oblates.

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This year they have come from Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Spain and France. These young people, despite their linguistic and cultural differences have a common desire to live out their Christian faith alongside the Oblates.

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The programme of this year’s GECO included visits of Aix and Marseille with conferences on the life of the Oblate founder with the daily rhythm marked by prayers and fraternal encounters. The celebration of the Feast Day of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary was a beautiful occasion for the youth to meet friends of the Oblates of the town of Aix.

Krzysztof ZIELENDA, OMI

Category: News

2017 Summer Session for the Scholastics

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The summer session for the scholastics (Oblate seminarians) is an important stage in their missionary formation. This year the scholastics who have come to Aix-en-Provence make up a community of 12 Oblates originating from 6 different countries: Haiti, Lesotho, Ukraine, Poland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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The stay in Aix enables the young Oblates to become more familiar with the life of Saint Eugene de Mazenod and the history of the founding of their Congregation. It is also an occasion to discover and experience, through group work, the international dimension of Oblate communities.

During the session, the scholastics receive numerous teachings and visit places such as Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Saint-Laurent du Verdon, Barjols and others, where the Founder had lived and propagated his mission.

Krzysztof ZIELENDA, OMI

Category: News

Reunion of the Mazenodian Family on Sunday, May 21

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Members of the Mazenodian family, together with the Oblate community, gathered to commemorate their attachment to the Founder and his charism. This charism is what ignites to this day the mission the Oblates consecrate their daily lives to fulfilling.

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This date marks the return of Saint Eugene de Mazenod to the Father – May 21, 1861 – and was chosen as his feast day in the liturgical calendar upon his canonisation by Pope John Paul II on December 3, 1995.

This day has also revealed the strength of the ties between the lay people and their association to the Oblates.

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The 11 o’clock mass, celebrated by Father Krzysztof Zielenda in the Chapel of the Mission and animated by the young Mazenodiens was followed by friendly exchanges amongst parishioners and later a shared meal in the courtyard with members of the Mazenodian family.

Gérard SOLDAINI

Category: Mazenodian family, News