Category Archives: 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

An experience in the holy land of Oblates

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From 6 to 24 August, 23 young Oblates from four formation houses and 12 different nations came to Aix-en-Provence to re-live the experience of our Saint Eugene de Mazenod, Founder of the Oblates.

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Arrived at the place at 8:00 pm the first impressions of the court Mirabeau, shows that the experience we are going to make is promising. In an intercultural atmosphere, we are called from the first day to discover our encounter with Christ through the life story of our Founder and also to identify the difficulties facing our religious family. Everything continues with a direct contact with our history through pilgrimages in the footsteps of St. Eugene and also the sharing of our vocational experiences for further understanding and relationship between us. Then, the planned summer festival organized by young lay people associated with the Oblates added a personal touch to our experience; festival that allowed us to meet these young people, to live with them while testifying our oblation and sharing our experiences. As a result, this festival was an application of everything we learned during the first days. This allowed us to live the ideal of the founder who gave body and soul to young people. The conviviality, the mutual help, the sense of the service and the charity were indeed an encounter. There were no longer language or cultural barriers we were one heart and one soul. As a result, our multicultural has quickly become intercultural. All this has once again aroused our desire to commit ourselves to living the Oblate vocation as a call to apostolic and missionary life.

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Since it is said that every being is an absolute, that no experience is transmissible and that the world is to be constantly recreated, come and experience the secret of Oblate life yourself. The doors of the house of Aix are wide open to welcome you. So come and you will see!

Leon ALDAYIR, OMI

Category: Mission, News

Fraternity Mazenodian starts…

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We, students in Aix-en-Provence, chose to live our university year alongside with the Oblate community. During the integration weekend, we met and had time for sharing. it was the time to build fraternal links by getting to know each other.

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Each one of us with each difference and each own personality has become integrated and we now form a true fraternity based on listening, respect for others, openness, sharing and spiritual life. It was also thanks to a natural friendship and a relaxing atmosphere that we felt welcome in the community. As a project of Christian life inspired by Saint Eugene de Mazenod, helping the poor and the weak is essential, it is a question of making the choice to “succeed one’s life” rather than that of “to succeed in life “. After a common reflection, a word emerges as a guideline of the year, the one in which God expresses himself: “I am the light of the world, the one who follows me will not walk in darkness, but on the contrary he will have the light of life “(John 8:12). We are called to bring that light ever present in our hearts so that it can illuminate the world. It is through the fruit of this weekend of integration that the light of God will spring.

Gabrielle BOURCIER

Category: News

Summer Festival at the Oblate House of Aix

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The summer festival is the culmination of the “Parcours-Mission” (Mission-Journeys). It is part of the Year of Oblate Vocations. It is organized by young people linked with the Oblate community of Lyon and that of Aix-en-Provence. It is conducted together with the Oblate scholastics. It is a missionary activity lived in joy.

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For several years, the Oblates of France have been offering young people in search of their place in the Church a formation in Christian life and Oblate Charism. Thiscourse is called the “Parcours-Mission”. It is given during three weekends lived at the House of Chavril located in Sainte Foy-Lès-Lyon. The summer festival is a missionary activity organized by the participants of this course.

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This time, the summer festival is part of the year of Oblate vocations which has for the theme « The joy and generosity in the Oblate life ». It is in the availability for the mission that we find true joy and fulfillment. The young organizers of the festival make their first experience.

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The meetings and the sharing during this festival are enriched by the presence of Scholastics who study theology in the Oblate formation houses in Poland, Italy and the United States. A true fraternity that crosses beyond the geographical boundaries is happening here.

Krzysztof ZIELENDA, OMI

Category: News

CIEM – upcoming events

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With a great joy the Oblate community of the International Center of  Eugene de Mazenod (CIEM) in Aix shares with you news of its mission and invites you to participate in the upcoming events.

Summer Session for the Scholastics

Summer Session for the Scholastics

The Session for the Novice Masters has ended on July 31st. Few days later, we welcomed the Oblates and their youth from the region of the US and Canada. They come to Aix to shoot some videos for the Year of the Oblate Vocations. At the beginning of this week, we welcomed 22 Italians (Oblates and young men) passing a night for their vocational pilgrimage at Aix. At the same time we began a session for the Oblate students, so-called the Summer Session for the Scholastics. They are 22 scholastics and 2 formators.

Summer Festival

Summer Festival

Meanwhile, we are going to have also “Summer Festival”, an event prepared for the last few months by the community in collaboration with the Oblate Youth of Aix and of Lyon.

Here is the program of Summer Festival:
Wednesday, August 15th, at 6pm: Mass of the Assumption in the cloister
Thursday, August 16th, at 6.30pm: Visit of the house and international evening in the cloister
Friday, August 17th, at 8:30pm: Prayer vigil until midnight
Saturday, August 18th, at 8:30pm: Christian BOBIN’s “The Walking Man” show
Sunday, August 19th, at 11 am: International mass

Castle of Saint-Laurent du Verdon

Castle of Saint-Laurent du Verdon

In September, another event on our agenda is the 200 years of the Oblate Rule of Life.
It was on early September 1818, Saint Eugene de Mazenod drawn back to Saint-Laurent du Verdon, in his family castle, to write the Constitutions and Rules of his newly-born community.

To celebrate this anniversary, here is the program:
Friday, September 21, 2018, at 18:30, at the Oblates’ Chapel : A Conference on the coat of arms of Monsignor Eugène de Mazenod by Mr. Cyril GAMBINI, the director of Saint Eugène de Mazenod College in Marseille.

On Saturday, September 22, 2018, the community invites you to an outing to Saint-Laurent du Verdon to commemorate the bicentenary of this event by:
Mass at the church of Saint-Laurent du Verdon at 11am
Blessing of the commemorative plaque, followed by drinks and then a Visit of the castle
Picnic on the banks of the Verdon Lake.

Thank you for your atention to these proposed events.
We wish you the best for the month of August.

Oblate Community of Aix

Category: Community, News

Who is Novice Master?

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Novice Master is an educator of candidates for religious life. He helps the candidates to discern more clearly the call of the Lord in order to respond his call better. During the year of Oblate vocations, the novice masters of the Congregation of Missionary Oblates, from 16 different countries, met in Aix-en-Provence.

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“Being novice master is a true missionary commitment. This ministry allows me to live fully the Oblate Charism and to collaborate with Christ who has trained men to missionary life “- said one of the participants of the session.

“We live this mission in the apostolic community by following the example of Jesus and the Apostles” – says another Novice Master.

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These are some topics of the session, such as (1) to understand better the missionary identity of the Oblates; (2) to know how to initiate young people to prayer and religious life according to Oblate spirituality; (3) to live together in the context of interculturality; (4) to deal with the fragility of candidates, and some other issues came up during the session.

The session is directed by Fr. Cornelius NGOKA, the General Assistant for Oblate formation. There areas well two major interventions are made by Fr. Frank SANTUCCI, omi and Fr. Thierry ANNE, sj.

Krzysztof ZIELENDA, OMI

Category: Mission, News