By Fr. Art Flores, OMI and Will Shaw Photos by Abril Villarreal-Medina
Friday November 13, 2015 was anything but unlucky for the Missionary Oblates and their Scholastics as they held the ground-breaking ceremony and celebration for the new seminarian residences located just across the street from the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas.
About 100 people gathered at the building site for the service presided over by the U.S. Oblate Provincial, Fr. William M. Antone, OMI and attended by friends and Oblates from the San Antonio area and around the country.
The five-building complex will contain a total of 25 bedrooms to accommodate the men in formation and three formators with two or three set aside as guest rooms.
According to Southwest Area Councilor, Fr. Art Flores, OMI, the new complex is envisioned as more than just a local, or U.S. formation residence. “This is going to be a Scholasticate that the entire congregation can use…it already is. There’s Zambians, Canadians, Mexicans, there are Americans and Indians. So the hope is that the congregation will use the wonderful resources that Oblate School of the Theology has to offer to the Oblate world and to the world in general.”
In describing how the buildings will be used, Fr. Flores pointed out that the scholastics will be anything but isolated in separate buildings, “One of the residences will be kind of like the main building where there will be a dining area and a kitchen, where the community will go for all their meals. Then another house will have the chapel where the scholastics go for daily prayer, a third house will have the community room where they will gather for meetings and relaxation. These are not five individual houses where people live separately, it will be a community.”
Funding for the new complex came from a variety of sources: “We’ve had wonderful response from Artie Pingolt and the Oblate Partnership, their donors have responded very, very generously, as well as OMSI too. We are very grateful to both of those groups.
The first spades of soil were turned by Sch. Bro. Daniel Zeigler, Fr. Antone, and former Vocations Director, Fr. Charles Banks, OMI. The prayer service featured Fr. William M. Antone presiding; Fr. Art Flores, Master of Ceremonies, along with readings by some of the current scholastics because, according to Fr. Flores, “It’s their house!”
The as-yet-unnamed residence complex is scheduled for completion in late 2016.