On 17th February 1826, Pope Leo XII gave a formal approval of the Congregation of the Missionary Oblates of the Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin Mary (OMI). The decision of the Holy Father was a prophetic vision of the powerful work of the Holy Spirit in the Oblates. The Pope must have envisaged of how much this new order could contribute to the evangelization mission of the whole Church. Without this explanation it is hard to understand Pope’s decision. At that time there were only 22 Oblates preaching parish missions in the forgotten region of Provence in France. This little group couldn’t stand out because of their numbers but they did stand out because of their zeal for the salvation of souls and their love for Jesus Christ. When the Oblate Congregations was approved it meant that the Church through the authority of the Pope confirmed that the way of life which St Eugene lived and shared with his first companions was a sure way to heaven. After 188 years we, Oblates, still treasure the book of our Constitutions and Rules approved then as a gift from heaven to lead us to heaven and empowering us to take with us on this most exciting journey those we minster to.
Today our seminary of St Mary’s in Melbourne hosted 20 Oblates from Victoria who gathered to celebrate this Oblate Feast day. A thanksgiving liturgy presided by our Provincial Fr Leo OMI involved all of us in glorifying God for the gift of our vocation. Every year on February 17, as Oblates we thank God for calling us to the Oblate Congregation and we also thank God for calling our Order to serve our brothers and sisters. On this day all the Oblates renew their vows which have united us as brothers in one religious family and provided us with faith environment that enables us to identify ourselves with Our Blessed Lord. The thanksgiving liturgy found its extension in the fraternal meal. As I was looking around the table I was just overcome by wonder how closely the commitment to Christ can draw people to each other. We are such a diverse group and still we are a family with such tight and strong bonds.
Fr Daniel OMI
An Oblate Priest