By Will Shaw with Fr. Jim Brobst, OMI, Vicar for Mission and Ministry
In the fall of each year, the local superiors of the U.S. Province get together with members of the Provincial Council and the administrative team for on-going education and to discuss issues related to superiors.
This year’s meeting was somewhat unique for two reasons: it was the first gathering of a new administration with newly-appointed superiors; and, it was the first opportunity for everyone to discuss and get acquainted with a new Province structure after the elimination of some Provincial Councilor positions, transferring some of their former duties over to the superiors.
According to the new Vicar for Mission and Ministry, Fr. Jim Brobst: “Because there are so many changes to our administrative structures, that’s a big piece of our agenda. For example: What do the superiors now do that the area councilors used to do? What will the new province support offices do that the area councilors used to do? Explaining all the levels of communication…it’s a lot of new information for the guys, the job of superior has changed drastically.”
“We are also introducing ourselves as a new administrative team, talking about our work individually, how we work together as a team, and our perspective about the ministries that we’re working with. Fr. Art Flores is the new Personnel Director, Fr. Jim Chambers is the Treasurer, I am Mission and Ministry Director, and of course, Fr. Louis Studer is the new provincial who oversees it all.”
In the area of on-going education, there were presentations on topics relevant to the superiors: “Mike and Dottie McDermott talked about aging and issues related to dementia; Greg Cholowa talked about how to prepare aging individuals for the transition from active ministry to retirement: and Sr. Rose Miriam Schulte, OP, made a presentation on animating and fostering healthy communities of Oblates.
This year’s meeting was held from September 19-21, at King’s House Retreat and Renewal Center in Belleville, Illinois.
Three first-time superiors, Oblate Fathers Juan Ayala, Jesse Esqueda, and Frank Santucci talk about their respective communities and how they will approach their new duties as Superiors.