By Joseph Cipolla
On December 7th at St. Patrick Church and on December 8th at Immaculate Conception Church thirteen Oblate Associates made their yearly commitment. The public commitment was made during regular parish Masses and was witnessed by the assemblies, introducing them to the Associate program and inviting them to participate.
The people who made their commitment were: Maureen Bacchi, Joseph Anthony Cipolla, Claudia Herrera, Bobby L. Mullenix, Craig Steven Mullenix, Virginia Mullenix, Patricia H. Redavid, Maria S. Rodriguez, Hector A. Rosales, Vivian Salazar, Mary Anne Deras Soltis, Deacon Reynaldo Torres, Roxanne Torres.
Fr. Sal DeGeorge, OMI explained that the Oblate Associates were committing to prayer and to study the Oblate charism in order to follow in the footsteps of St. Eugene de Mazenod and bring the Good News to all people. He emphasized that the message was for everyone present, not just those who were committing themselves as Oblate Associates for a period of one year.
Fr. DeGeorge, mentioned the fact that the Oblate priests were leaving St. Patrick at the end of June, 2015, and spoke of the Oblate mission remaining in the parish through the faith community. When I graduated from St. Anthony Seminary in San Antonio in 1972, Fr. Sal gave the homily at the graduation Mass. I remember almost the same words: “Now that you are leaving and going your own separate ways, you will take a little from each of your classmates, for in living with them these past four years they have influenced you (hopefully for the better!).”
The commitment makes us determined to help and points us toward the Oblate mission of reaching out to the most abandoned. Even on days when we do not feel like being committed, we know we are because of our promise. So even when times get rough our commitment reminds us that it is God who is in control and leading us to places we never imagined we would go.
A New Oblate Associate’s Answers to Some Reflection Questions About What His Commitment Means to Him
by Craig Mullenix
Q: Why did you commit to the Oblate Associates?
“I took the Oblate Associate Commitment because I know that God loves us and recognizes that we are all sinners. As a sinner, I prayed about the choice to become an associate and despite my thoughts of being undeserving, I decided to commit to learn more about the Oblates, St. Eugene’s charism, and myself. I am happy that I made this commitment.”
Q: What does being an Oblate Associate mean in your daily life?
“I pray 30 minutes to 1 hour per day. I sometimes fall short with my busy schedule, but I keep trying. I try to read the Catholic Readings for each day, and I try to read about the saints of the day. I pray with my daughter as we drive to school every morning. As a principal of a public high school, I try to be more patient, control my anger, and help others spiritually by the way that I treat them, interact with them, and make decisions.”
Q: What has changed because of it?
“Being an OA has given my vocation more meaning. It has helped me to be more “centered.” It is lowering my blood pressure and allowing me to “step out of the everyday routine” and really look at what I am doing from an Oblate perspective. I am becoming less materialistic and am happier with myself.”
Q: What do I want to accomplish because of it?
“I want to continue to learn about being an Oblate Associate and I hope I can continue with yearly commitments. I still fall short at times, but it is something I continually come back to. Weekly, at least once, I read about what it is to be an Oblate Associate, I read our commitment and this gives me focus.”