ICCR Winter Conference (New York, NY, February 2-4) In February the ICCR (Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility) convened a conference over five days. Their agenda covered Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation issues. I was amazed at the quality of the speakers/presenters and also the questions asked by the audience. The question and answer periods further elaborated on topics and offered different perspectives. It was the first time I attended an ICCR conference. The conference was introduced by Fr. Séamus Finn, OMI, the chair of the board of directors. The whole conference seemed to reflect his level of expertise and experience. Fr. Seamus appeared to be well-known by all in attendance. The atmosphere of the conference was different from what I have experienced at several other Washington, DC events. Fr. Daniel LeBlanc, OMI, also stopped by just to say hello to me, but he was on his way to the UN meeting of the 54th Session of the Commission for Social Development, being held at the same time.
The Pontifical Mission Societies in the United Stated (New York, NY, February 3) Fr. Andrew Small, OMI, is the current National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies. His role and office were quite different from what I had imagined. The sophisticated red wall painting surrounding his office mirrors the artwork on the new missionary technology SNS, the Missio app. I had the chance to look up how Missio works and how it motivates people to be change-makers. Fr. Small took me on a tour of the office and introduced to staff. His hectic work travel schedule recently included visits to Cuba and London.
All three of our Oblates in New York showed me their influential presence as an OMI.
La Morita, Tijuana, Mexico (February 5-8) I had no idea what Fr. Antonio Ponce, OMI, had been doing as outreach before I witnessed it. Gratefully, I was invited to a “Come and See” experience in La Morita, Tijuana where the Oblates US-Province operates a pivotal mission. It was culture-shock going from New York City’s skyscrapers to La Morita’s dusty landscape; I vividly took in the contrast. Fr. Ponce led a small and humble group of regional catechists using an effective visual presentation about Eco-justice that mentioned Laudato Si’ as well. Even though I could say only five greetings in Spanish: “Hola! Como estas!”, “Buenos dias!”, “Buenas noches!”,”Gracias” and “Adios,” I survived through the warm welcoming of my friends in La Morita. After the session, Fr. Ponce celebrated Sunday Mass at four different chapels in the neighborhood. The children, altar boys, young-adults and elders all seemed close to Fr. Ponce who was a very down-to-earth missionary in La Morita. His stewardship there for the people makes the Oblate mission alive.
Overall, my seven-day trip observing our Oblates in each of their four respective mission fields for the kingdom of God planted a seed in my heart as well. Live out our Charism!
Sr. Nathanael Lee is from South Korea and a member of the Little Servants of the Holy Family congregation. She is interning at JPIC’s office in Washington, DC.