On Saturday April 29, 2017, a new group of eight Oblate Associates made their first annual commitment to Fr. Harry Winter, OMI at Christ the King Retreat Center in Buffalo, Minnesota. What makes this new group of Associates unique is that it is made up of Laotian refugees who are part of the Hmong ethnic group.
The country of Laos is made up of six ethnic cultural tribes, one of which is the Hmong. In the 1950’s and 60’s, many of the Hmong people were evangelized by Catholic Missionaries, some of which were Missionary Oblates. During that period, 17 missionaries (including six Oblates) and lay people were killed while serving the faith. This group was beatified in Laos on December 11, 2016 by Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, OMI. These Blessed Martyrs of Laos are now known as, “Father Joseph Tiên and his Companions.”
The new Hmong Oblate Associates are affiliated with St. Patrick’s Parish in St. Paul where their pastor is Fr. Michael Powell, OMI.
According to Fr. Lon Konold, OMI, the new Hmong Associates group brings the total number of Oblate Associates in the twin-cities area to 26, with the individuals spread out over four separate groups. All four groups come together twice per year for initiation and renewal of commitment, plus prayer, fellowship and sharing their experiences.