By Fr. Séamus P. Finn, OMI
The Second Vatican Council clearly articulated the Church’s missionary identity in the opening paragraphs of its Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity. “The Church on earth is by its very nature missionary since according to the plan of the Father, it has its origin in the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit.”2 Building on this foundational principle, missionary congregations like the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate accepted the call of the Council to review and evaluate their missionary history, renew their priorities, and reflect on the pressing challenges and emerging opportunities presented
by the modern world.
This paper will
– explore how the Council’s vision informed the renewal of the Oblate missionary within an ecclesial context
– identify how the church embraced the responsibility to address the influence of institutions, organizations, and structures on peoples and communities;
– examine how the emergence of the Oblate International Pastoral Investment Trust (OIP Trust) flows out of the evolving understanding of mission that emerged from Vatican II.
– show how the OIP is a paradigm of a bold, creative and prophetic response to the Council’s call to engage the modern world, especially its institutions and global financial practices in a manner that was consistent with a renewal of the Oblate missionary charism.
The 1966 General Chapter embraced the task of renewing the Congregation’s charism and preparing a new edition of the Constitutions and Rules that sought to recapture the constitutive vision of Eugene de Mazenod, the Founder of the Oblate Congregation. The General Chapter of 1972 built on this foundation and set out the lines of a refreshed missionary response to the realities of a rapidly changing world. This dynamic conversation which embraced the invitation to “read the signs of the times” adopted the approach that guided the preparation of the council document, Pastoral Constitution for the Church in the Modern World. The six Regions of the Congregation were invited “To look at the world from where we are” and give some expression