On Friday, April 28th, 2017 JPIC-OMI Lacombe was very pleased to participate in the Eugène de Mazenod Medal award ceremony at the University Saint Paul, as their nominee Mr. John Joe Gunn was the honoree of the day.
As Br. Leonardo Rego, director of JPIC OMI Lacombe, mentioned in his speech:
“When the opportunity to nominate someone for the Eugene de Mazenod Medal award reached me, I was very inspired by the Oblates’ two hundredth anniversary, which brings innovative changes and movements towards a new future and a new mission that are very much in sync not only with this award, but Joe’s work and Saint Paul University’s vision and mission. The Oblates’ new heart in connection with the conversion, the new spirit in connection with the prophetic voices and the new mission relating it to our future can be easily related to Joe’s work, his commitment to social justice within and outside the Catholic institution, always with great faith and firm conviction that a better world is possible.”
The medal bears the name of the founder of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and recognizes the spirit of St. Eugène de Mazenod in addressing the social issues of his time. The Eugène de Mazenod Medal honours individuals who have made a significant contribution to the development of their community, in their environment, in the church and in society as a whole.
In a very friendly and casual environment, the mixture between formal, common to such events, and casual took place. Although the awarding followed all procedures and decorum, the familiarity between all the ones present there, as well as their familiarity to Joe made the event a brilliant success with the feeling of family gathering.
Moreover, the event and speeches brought about friendly discussions on engagement, next steps towards change, as well as a reflection on our own role in the fight for justice. It brought us to re-think our engagement with progress and our commitment to change and development, postulates for the mission carried by JPIC and its areas of work.
Joe came with his wife Suzanne and son Benjamin (his daughter Daniela could not be present, but was surely connected in mind and spirit). Everyone shared their part in the celebration, friends and partners shared stories and impressions about him and laughter was guaranteed.
Between jokes and audience interaction, the event brought about friends to celebrate another friend and his amazing work so far, as well as his renewed thrive to continue his engagement with transformation for a better world.
As always, we could count on Fr. Ken Forster to give his support and blessings. Although he could not be present at the event, he graced us all with his connection through video (link below).