From an Interview with Fr. Art Flores, OMI
Photos by Irma Wolcott
The Vocation Department of the Missionary Oblates held a “Come and See” event for some 15 young men who came from the Midwest, California, Texas, and Tijuana to get a taste of Oblate life over the four-day period of June 22-25.
This four-day “Come and See” experience is one of three such events held each year by the Oblate Vocation Directors. This particular one is designed to give the men considering a missionary vocation an opportunity to experience an Oblate ministry so that the young men can get a feel for what Oblates do.
The Oblates gave their guests a good look at the parish ministries of San Fernando and Santa Rosa in San Fernando, California before moving on to the mission in Tijuana, Mexico.
The Tijuana visit, planned and hosted by Fr. Jesse Esqueda, included a visit to the Oblate parish of Iglesia San Eugenio de Mazenod, and the clinic operated by the Oblates which provides dental and medical services to the local populace.
One of the co-hosts, Fr. Art Flores, described a highlight of the Tijuana trip: participation in a special event sponsored by a Los Angeles Rotary Club providing food, clothing and rosaries to the people in the neighborhood of one of San Eugenio’s 15 satellite mission chapels. According to Fr. Flores, “Our guys blended right in and helped handing out the items to the people of the community, there was also a piñata for the children and it was all quite nice.”
Afterwards, the group visited more of the Oblate mission chapels around the area concluding with a Mass at Capilla Maria Auxiliadora, an Oblate Chapel which is being turned over to the local diocese. Fr. Flores described the event: “There was a celebration of thanksgiving for the Oblates as they handed the chapel over to a local diocesan priest. So the guys were able to see our ministry and our charism in action. We develop the community and we move on from there.”
During the four days there were also opportunities for prayer with the Oblates and the people of the parishes along with presentations about Oblate history, the Founder and for questions and answers.
It appears that two of the aspirants have already committed to enter Oblate formation in the fall of 2017, with a few more likely to join later on.