By Will Shaw with Geri Furmanek, National Director of Mission Enrichment and Oblate Associates
On May 21st, Feast of St. Eugene de Mazenod, the Oblate Community of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows and the Oblate Associate groups who meet at King’s House Retreat Center and the Shrine for a prayer service and pot-luck supper in celebration of the Founder’s Feast Day.
It’s a long-standing tradition in Belleville that the Shrine Oblates host the Feast Day Celebration for the area Oblate communities. In recent years, the Associates have been invited, and chose to renew their commitment during this prayer service. This year, Fr. Juan Gaspar, local superior, contacted Geri Furmanek, National Director of the Oblate Associates and together they coordinated a prayer service and pot-luck supper to be held in the High-Rise Lounge of The Esquiline (formerly the Apartment Community.)
Esquiline President, Barbara Prosser welcomed Oblates and Associates to their chapel where the prayer service was held. After the Re-commitment Ceremony, the Oblates prayed a Thanksgiving Prayer for their Oblate Vocation. A total of 17 Oblate Associates were present, two of which are in their first year of formation. Afterwards, the hosting Shrine Oblates, Brother Tom Ruhmann, Fathers Juan Gaspar, Andy Knop, and Harold Fisher, led the gathering to the High-Rise for supper.
In addition to the main dish and drinks provided by the Oblates, there was a vast array of delicious side dishes and desserts provided by the Associates for the feast. Associates and Oblates happily dined and mingled at tables decorated by the Office of Oblate Associates until it was time to go. For those interested, there were even some “goodie bags” of tempting leftovers.
All agreed that this was an exceptional celebration of the Feast Day with many expressing the hope that there would be more such opportunities for Oblates and Associates to pray and socialize together in the near future.