By Fr. David Kalert, OMI
The San Antonio Oblate Associates have existed since the 1930s. A number of laymen who attended Mass at Our Lady of Grace Chapel (a mission of the Oblates’ downtown St. Mary’s Church) formed a support group to aid the missions of the Oblates. With time the wives of the men were invited to join the membership and share in the group’s leadership as president.
Presently, Mary Jo Quinn serves as president, a position she has held for twelve years. The group’s main purposes have been to pray for vocations and to support Oblate missions, especially in Zambia. Following the recommended activities for Oblate Associates, many are involved in various ministries serving those with special needs. Each month at the end of the Mass celebrated in St. Joseph’s Chapel of the Renewal Center, the Oblate cross of Fr. Jack Ward, OMI, the founder of these local Associates, is taken home by a family or individual. At the following month’s Mass, the cross is returned and a report is given on how its presence at home inspired family members and guests, as well as a reminder to pray for vocations. The cross is then given to a new recipient or family for the following month.
At the meeting this past June, as you will see in the photo, two visiting Oblates were able to give a brief presentation to the group. Fr. Ullrich spoke of his past ten years spent in China. Fr. Raymond proudly informed the group how Zambia’s original four Oblates from Texas have multiplied with new native vocations. Zambia is now beginning to send missionaries to other areas of the world served by Oblates. Pre-Novice Alejandro Alvarado, from San Juan de los Lagos Parish, San Antonio, shared his experience as a member of the formation community in Buffalo, NY. At the meeting, Fr. Banks mentioned that although he will be replaced as Vocation Director on July 15th, in order to serve at Oblate Madonna Residence, he hopes to continue encouraging vocation promotion as a vocation director emeritus.
The Associates are always happy to welcome guest Oblates to their meetings. The information they share about their missionary life is always enlightening and inspiring. Oblates can be very proud of the Associates and grateful for their prayers and support. In San Antonio a newer group of Associates is now based at San Juan de los Lagos Parish. There are also four other groups in other parts of the Lone Star State.