By Geri Furmanek, National Director of Mission Enrichment and Oblate Associates
Throughout the centuries the light of Christ has been kept aflame by the faith of committed Christians. And, it continues through Oblate Associates who weave the Charism of St. Eugene through the everyday living of their faith.
At the request and in collaboration with Fr. Sal de George, OMI and Joseph Cipolla (Associate Coordinator at St. Patrick’s) Geri Furmanek (National Director for Oblate Associates), prepared an Associate retreat that incorporated the Oblate Triennium, the charism, Oblate Spirituality and the return of the parish to the diocese. On Saturday, June 13th Associates from the Houston parishes of St. Patrick and Immaculate Conception gathered for reflection, prayer and faith sharing.
At the Saturday evening Eucharist celebrated by Fr. Isidor Garcia, OMI, Fr. Sal received the public commitment of the St. Patrick Associates. Several weeks later, Fr. Kevin Collins, OMI received the commitment of Associates of Immaculate Conception Parish at a celebration in that parish before he was re-assigned to a new mission. Oblates will continue to minister at Immaculate Conception.
The dedication of Associates in these parishes is evident by their faith, prayer and service to the church as catechists, Eucharistic Ministers, Lectors, serving as deacon, secretary, etc.
Thank you for the witness of Fr. Sal, Fr. Izzy and Fr. Kevin and countless other Oblates who have nourished the faith life of these Associates and will continue to do so in new ways. A special thanks to the Associates who live the charism and carry the Good News into their families, neighborhoods and workplaces. Many thanks for the faithful contact and work with the National Office by Associate Group Coordinators Joseph Cipolla and Maria Rodriguez. The inspirational message and presence of St. Eugene (aka Will Shaw) was very much appreciated by the Associates!
On a personal note I would like to thank Fr. Izzy, Fr. Sal and Will Shaw for their pastoral support. The morning of the retreat I learned that my brother died of a sudden heart attack. I chose to wait until the end of the retreat and Mass to share the news with the Associates. Fr. Izzy shared the news not only with Associates but the parishioners during Mass. The prayers and sympathy filled me with much gratitude and is a source of consolation for me and my sister. What a wonderful witness that the charism continues to bring the Good News to the world.