5th meeting of Executive Group
(Originally published on omiworld.org)
Notre Dame University in Cotabato City, Philippines was the site of the 5th gathering of the executive group of the Association of Oblate Institutes of Higher Learning (AOIHL). Eduardo TANUDTANUD, president of Notre Dame University, served as the host for this 4-day meeting. The attendees this year also included members: Dr. Chantal Beauvais, Saint Paul University (Ottawa); Sylvester DAVID, St. Joseph Theological Institute (Cedara); Baudouin MUBESALA, St. Eugene Institute (Kinshasa); and Ron ROLHEISER, Oblate School of Theology (San Antonio). Also attending the meetings were: Dr. Scott Woodward, Academic Dean of OST (San Antonio); Francis Zabala, Superior of Our Lady of Assumption Scholasticate (Manila); and liaison members Fabio CIARDI, Director of Oblate Studies and Research; and Warren BROWN, AOIHL coordinator and General Councilor for Canada-USA.
The theme chosen for this year’s meeting was “Oblate Identity” and each member was asked to give a presentation to the group showing how their institute strives to manifest Oblate identity, both externally in the use of specific Oblate words and symbols, and internally in the way that an Oblate ethos is created. These presentations illustrated both the common Oblate charism present in each institute as well as the diversity of the charism’s expressions. The participants expressed appreciation at the opportunity both to share of their experiences and to learn more about the other institutes and the Oblate charism as it is lived in the Congregation.
The AOIHL executive group also met during the week in one-on-one meetings among themselves to plan how they can better collaborate in common efforts for education in the Oblate Congregation. During the business meeting the group considered several invitations from around the Congregation for their participation in research projects focusing on Oblate life and history. Taking advantage of their presence in Cotabato City, the group also visited the government headquarters of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in a trip led by Jun MERCADO, where Jun and ARMM staff members explained the social and political situation of the region.
The Notre Dame University staff, including the Oblates who minister there, were gracious and welcoming hosts for the entire week. As Fabio Ciardi remarked at the concluding liturgy: in some ways, as we share in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and invite other groups who collaborate with us in our institutes to show forth their identity, paradoxically we can gain a better understanding of ourselves as Oblates, for we are imitators of Christ, who teaches us to reach out to others first and then in doing that we will find our own strength and Oblate self identity. (Warren Brown)