It was a faith moment for us to welcome him among us. He believes that Jesus calls him to be an Oblate and responding to this call Henry has requested to be trained for our missionary life. During our midday prayer which he prayed with us for the first time we asked the Lord to bless him as he is undertaking this discernment. In his desire to be an Oblate of Mary Immaculate we could see the same desire that brought us to this Congregation some years ago.
As I reflect on Henry’s story I can see some faith message. First he wants to be an Oblate brother. At the moment we don’t have any Oblate brothers in Australia but our Superior General from Rome a few weeks ago sent al Oblates across the world a letter in which he challenged us to promote and to appreciate more the unique vocation to the Oblate Brotherhood. I find it a sign from heaven that at this time Henry came forward to be trained as a brother not a priest. St Eugene de Mazenod always stressed that our Oblate Congregation wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t have religious brothers among us. Well, to me it looks like the Dear Lord is working on us Oblates here in Australia in a powerful way.
Secondly, Henry’s entry into the Oblate happened on the day when we remember the death our 11th Superior General Archbishop Marcello Zago OMI. Fr Marcello who was born in Italy worked for a long time as a missionary in Laos and Cambodia. He was highly praised by Pope John Paul II for his strong, authentic faith, profound spirituality, and fervent missionary zeal. From 1986 to 1998 he led the Congregation as the Superior General. His passion for Christ and spreading the Gospel was recognized by the Holy Father who appointed him Archbishop for the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which is a Vatican office responsible for missionary work of the Catholic Church. The appointment was announced when he was still the Superior General of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Some people said that the Pope wanted him at the Vatican without any delay. However his work was to be more powerful than anyone would except when he was ordained Archbishop in 1998. Following year he became seriously ill and died in 2001 at the age of 68. He worked as Archbishop only for 3 years but how much he did for the Church through his suffering. We pray that the example of this great Oblate who was so passionate about Christ can be like a guiding star for Henry.